Assignment type: Thesis
Author: Chantelle Nattrass
Submitted: June 2015
Research has suggested that controlling motivational styles in teachers are related to poorer outcomes for pupils (Assor, Kaplan, Kanat-Maymon, & Roth, 2005). It has been suggested that teachers behave in more controlling ways due to ‘pressure from above’ (e.g. from school performance standards), ‘pressure from below’ (e.g. from limited pupil engagement), and ‘pressure from within’ (e.g. from the teachers’ personality traits; Reeve, 2009). The present systematic review analysed 26 papers and confirmed the relevance of these three categories. It was also highlighted that research into pressures from within was inconsistent and largely unreplicated, with the exception of research suggesting that limited self-efficacy was related to increased teacher control.
Whilst a considerable amount of research has been dedicated to control in teachers there has been an absence of literature related the teaching styles utilised by Teaching Assistants (TAs). Recent research into the role of TAs has suggested that pupils can become dependent on the high level of support that TAs provide (Blatchford et al., 2009), and the present study aimed to explore whether such dependency could be due to TAs using a controlling motivational style. The study also investigated whether levels of control were related to self-efficacy as well as anxiety. Participants were established dyads of TAs and pupils with learning difficulties who took part in an etch-a-sketch activity in order to examine their interactions, alongside completing measures of negative affect and self-efficacy. The findings suggested that increased TA control was related to diminished pupil academic self-efficacy, which reinforces the impact the pressures from below can have on teaching style. However teacher self-efficacy and child negative affect were not found to impact on TA control. In addition a relationship was identified between TA autonomy supportive behaviours and the child initiating more problem solving behaviour. This further highlights the importance of supporting TAs to use less controlling teaching approaches in order to improve the outcomes for children with learning difficulties.