Self-determination theory in schools of education:Can an empirically supported framework also be critical and liberating?

Richard M. Ryan, Christopher P. Niemiec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations

Abstract

In many graduate schools of education there is strong resistance to formal theories, especially those that are supported through quantitative empirical methods. In this article we describe how self-determination theory (SDT), a formal and empirically focused framework, shares sensibilities with critical theorists concerning the importance of actors' own embedded experiences of the world, and the importance of liberation and resistance to hegemony. Yet we argue that, unlike many post-modern views that are largely negative, SDT is truly critical precisely because it posits a common human nature, which can be more or less supported and allowed to flourish in different cultural and institutional contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-272
Number of pages10
JournalTheory and Research in Education
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2009

Keywords

  • autonomy
  • educational theories
  • qualitative research
  • self-determination theory

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