Aguirre-Muñoz, Zenaida, Tara Stevens, Gary Harris, & Reagan Higgins (2018, December). Mathematics teacher learning preferences: Self-determination theory implications for addressing their learning needs. Journal of Education and Practice, 9(32), 127-140.

Abstract: Participant perceptions of the effectiveness of the Middle School Project Partnership (pseudonym) professional development course strategies were evaluated using Q methodology. Factor analysis of participant sorts of a Q set developed from interviews and observations yielded three teacher types, with one group preferring social activities, the second preferring activities promoting deeper understanding, and the third preferring autonomy in their learning. These teacher types are consistent with the basic needs identified in Self-Determination Theory which is commonly employed as a theory to explain motivation associated with positive outcomes in the field of education. Participant types did not differ by gender, course location, teaching experience, or scores on measures of teacher conceptual understanding of mathematics. Findings indicate that professional development activities should be varied to meet the learning needs of teachers, which tend to differ based on the range of teachers’ self-determination to engage in the professional learning activities. Teachers appeared to interact with course strategies and activities in a manner that met underlying needs for learning. Therefore, collecting this type of information from teachers could be used to design training in ways that will lead to increased self-efficacy and enhanced experiences for all teachers. Future research is necessary to explore the possible connection between self-determination theory and teacher outcomes as designing teacher development activities and strategies using a theoretical framework for motivation might strengthen existing approaches and outcomes including retention and fidelity to instructional approaches.

Zenaida Aguirre-Muñoz <> is in the School of Education, University of Houston, Houston, TX (USA).