This book is for college faculty who are tired of student apathy, disinterest, and confrontation, and who are interested in helping their students cultivate inner motivational resources. Autonomous learners are interested in more than getting a good grade or doing as they’re told—they benefit from the motivations that increase need satisfaction, lead to lifelong learning, and support a wide variety of independent learning objectives.
Using everyday language, Autonomy-Supportive Teaching in Higher Education: A Practical Guide for College Professors synthesizes the mountain of research conducted using autonomy-supportive teaching (AST) in the classroom. This book summaries the state-of-the-art motivation psychology for the classroom, provides eight workshops demonstrating evidence-based and classroom tested strategies for applying AST, and explores faculty and student reflections on the strengths and weaknesses of AST. With this text, readers can begin applying the principles of self-determination theory to their classrooms today.
Patrick Whitehead is associate professor of psychology and coordinator of general education at Albany State University, where he was named 2019 scholar of the year. He has published six books including Psychologizing: A Personal, Practice-based Approach to Psychology and dozens of articles in the fields of psychology, philosophy, and higher education. He lives on a farm in Albany, Georgia, USA with his wife, Erica. For more information and resources for college faculty, see www.patrickmwhitehead.com
Not a Vignette
A Revolution in My Teaching Spirit
AST Will Work for You and Your Students
Three Potential Hurdles: Mistaken Beliefs that Interfere with Professional Development
Relation to Other Psychologies of Student Motivation
Structure of this Book
Part I: Theory
Chapter 1: Self-Determination Theory
A Brief History of the Psychology of Student Motivation
Self Determination Theory and the Three Basic Psychological Needs
The Many Forms of Extrinsic Motivation
Internalization and the Regulation of Beliefs, Values, and Behaviors
Chapter 2: Autonomy Supportive Teaching
Vignette 1, Where Online Students Missed the First Deadline
Vignette 2, The One with Lethargic Graduate Students
Autonomy Supportive Teaching
Seven Strategies for Supporting Student Autonomy
The Gestalt of Autonomy Supportive Teaching
Chapter 3: Evidence Supporting Autonomy Supportive Teaching in Higher Education
Evidence that AST Works in Higher Education
Intercultural and International Applicability
Part II: Application
Chapter 4: Self-Determination Theory Workshop
Basic Psychological Needs
Regulation of Beliefs, Values, and Behaviors
Chapter 5: Assessing Autonomy Supportive Teaching Workshop
A Preliminary Note on the Difference Between Assessment and Evaluation
Situations in School Inventory
Learning Climate Questionnaire
Classroom Observation Checksheet
Chapter 6: Taking Students’ Perspective Workshop
Methods for Getting Student Feedback
When to Avoid Taking Students’ Perspective
Put It into Practice
Problems to Expect, and How to Deal with Them
Chapter 7: Supporting Students’ Intrinsic Motivation Workshop
AST Strategy Two: Invite Students to Pursue Their Interests
AST Strategy Three: Present Learning Activities in Need-Satisfying Ways
Chapter 8: Supporting Students’ Internalization Workshop
AST Strategy Four: Provide Explanatory Rationale
AST Strategy Five: Acknowledge Negative Feelings
AST Strategy Six: Rely on Invitational Language
AST Strategy Seven: Practice Patience
Part III: Finishing Touches
Chapter 9: Sample Assessment: Using AST in Online Courses
AST in Online Courses: An Understudied Relationship
Student Comments about the AST Condition
Discussion of Assessment Results
Chapter 10: A Case Study of Teacher Transformation
My 2016 Letter to Students
My 2022 Analysis of the 2016 Letter to Students
A Digital Letter Written to an Online Health Psychology Course in 2022
Conclusion: Troubleshooting Problems and Looking Ahead
Some Instructors Will Do This Naturally
A Call for More Research on AST in Higher Education
AST in Large Lecture Halls (Less than 70 students)
Asynchronous Online Courses
Professional and Organizational Development
About the Author
Dr. Whitehead's book Autonomy-Supportive Teaching in Higher Education is a game-changer for faculty looking to improve and energize their classes and students. At a time where motivation is diminished by the many challenges faced by students, Dr. Whitehead offers strategies, informed by autonomy-supportive teaching, to enhance learning and increase student success and faculty satisfaction. I would definitely recommend this book to faculty looking for strategies to motivate students and, by doing so, unlock their academic potential!
Patrick Whitehead’s excitement for autonomy-supportive teaching is palpable and contagious! As I read his book, I found myself wanting to jump up and implement idea after idea. Following his own advice, Whitehead provides satisfying rationales for his suggestions. This accessible volume will benefit veteran instructors and new faculty alike.
Approachable, robustly researched, and timely, this book productively challenges the oversimplified distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, providing strategies that teachers can use to design courses that students want to be a part of and excel in.
The question of motivation is central to any faculty member. Having a psychologist discuss the literature and AST and then provide practical, classroom-based examples of how the theory can be applied in classrooms is going to fill a pedagogical need. This book summarizes AST and the state of motivation psychology and then shows how AST works in the classroom and how faculty can apply it.
Autonomy-Supportive Teaching in Higher Education examines recent scholarship on motivation in the classroom, and it offers a more nuanced approach, demonstrating how motivation is on a continuum as opposed to either extrinsic or internal.
A timely and practical resource, this book shares important insights into how an autonomy-supportive teaching style can bring a new perspective to understand students' motivation, enhance their learning experience, and foster well-being. Grounded in self-determination theory's decades of empirical research, the author brings autonomy-supportive teaching to life through his passion and personal experience. This book is unique and valuable as it explains in everyday language what autonomy-supportive teaching is and provides ways to implement it in practice. Highly relevant to anyone in education today.
Autonomy-Supportive Teaching in Higher Education: A Practical Guide for College Professors presents faculty with a theory-based, pragmatic guide to supporting students' achievement through teaching practices that allow students to develop autonomy-based motivations and agency in completing their coursework. In the current climate of change in higher education, such an approach is attractive in its goals and methods. I found myself reading the book both as a faculty member reflecting on my own teaching as well as the director of a teaching center who can use the process and materials included in the text as the basis for impactful programming with my colleagues across campus.
To really motivate your students, you need to understand more than just the typical intrinsic/extrinsic line of thinking. This book explains how you can better support your students’ autonomy for more meaningful and lasting motivation.
Patrick Whitehead’s book is an excellent guide for college instructors looking to motivate their students. It is so difficult to find a theory- and research-driven book on teaching but Dr. Whitehead has done just that. Beside having scientific support for his methods, he also offers practical suggestions and ways to implement these ideas into any college classroom. I will be using this book in my graduate-level Teaching of Psychology course and in training future graduate teaching assistants.
This book presents AST in an accessible way, thus contributing to the field of teaching and learning. This is especially true as the author breaks down intrinsic motivation as an umbrella term. Understanding intrinsic motivation as a continuum rather than a fixed mindset has the potential change how instructors approach student learning.