Self-determination in positive education

Michael L. Wehmeyer, Sung Hyeon Cheon, Youngsun Lee, Matthew Silver

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

5 Scopus citations


One of the constructs that has been widely researched in positive psychology is self-determination, which refers generally to acting volitionally, based upon one's own preferences, interests, and values. This chapter overviews conceptualizations of self-determination in the context of theories of agentic human behaviour, motivational psychology, and disability. Two primary theoretical perspectives on self-determination, Self-Determination Theory and Causal Agency Theory, are discussed, and their relative contributions to understanding the development of self-determination examined. Three education-based interventions that have been derived from these theoretical perspectives are described, as well as the evidence supporting their implementation: an intervention to increase teacher skills and knowledge to be autonomy-supportive; a schoolwide intervention that emphasizes autonomy, competency, and relationships; and a teaching model that enables teachers to teach students to self-regulate problem-solving leading to setting and attaining educational goals. To create schools that benefit all students, we need to focus on promoting student agency, student ownership over learning, and meaningfulness and purpose.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Positive Education
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9783030645373
ISBN (Print)9783030645366
StatePublished - 24 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


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