Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Early Childhood, Multilingual, and Special Education
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Fourth Committee Member
Number of Pages
Cognitive autonomy skills are essential for all students to further their academic performance, prepare for adulthood, and gain better employment opportunities (Beckert, 2007; Beckert et al., 2012; Benlahcene et al., 2019; Harris & Beckert, 2018; Kim et al., 2019; Lee et al., 2010; Michael & Attias, 2016). These skills involve the ability to evaluate thinking, voice opinions, make decisions, self-assess, and comparatively validate oneself (Beckert, 2005, 2007). Autonomy, as a broader construct of cognitive autonomy, is not an innate ability and learners must be provided opportunities to experience, develop, and achieve these skills in the classroom (Berry et al., 2012; Buckley et al., 2015; Cotterall, 1995; NCLD, 2015; Wehmeyer et al., 2017; Zimmerman, 2002). Cognitive autonomy-supportive teaching influences student engagement and motivation, thereby influencing children/youth’s cognitive growth, academic achievement, postsecondary outcomes, and future employment opportunities (Furtak & Kunter, 2012; Kim et al., 2019; Stefanou et al., 2004).
The purpose of this study was to investigate teachers’ self-reported perceptions of autonomy-supportive teaching (i.e., cognitive autonomy, procedural autonomy, organizational autonomy) examine the role of teacher, student, and school level factors on teachers’ perceptions of autonomy-supportive teaching, and explore the direct and indirect effects of teachers’ self-reported perceptions of the importance of autonomy-supportive teaching, their capacity to execute autonomy-supportive teaching behaviors, and their perceptions of their students’ ability to engage in autonomous behaviors on teachers’ self-reported implementation of autonomy-supportive teaching behaviors. The goal was to explore teachers’ common autonomy-supportive perceptions and perceived practices teachers who teach students with learning disabilities (LD), are bilingual, have gifts and talents, and are in general education and to determine the sources of the different types of autonomy support that occur in different classroom settings. This study utilized a 60-item questionnaire to investigate teachers’ perceptions (N = 116) of autonomy-supportive teaching in terms of (a) importance, (b) their capacity to execute autonomy-supportive teaching, (c) their implementation of autonomy-supportive teaching behaviors, and (d) students’ abilities to engage in autonomous learning, across general, special, gifted and talented, and bilingual education settings.
Results showed that general, special, gifted, and bilingual teachers have different perceptions of the importance of autonomy-supportive teaching behaviors and their capacity to execute autonomy-supportive teaching behaviors, yet perceptions of their implementation of autonomy-supportive teaching behaviors and their students’ abilities to engage in autonomous behavior did not differ. Teachers’ perceptions of importance, capacity, and students’ abilities significantly predicted teachers’ perceived levels of implementation of procedural, organizational, and cognitive autonomy-supportive teaching behaviors. Student, school, and teacher-level factors contributed to teachers’ perceptions of their procedural, organizational, and cognitive autonomy-supportive teaching at varying levels as well as teachers’ perceived levels of autonomy-supportive teaching in terms of importance, their capacity, students’ abilities, and their implementation. Path analysis revealed a direct and indirect relationship between teachers’ perceptions of the importance of autonomy-supportive teaching, their perceptions of their students' abilities to engage in autonomous behavior, and their perception of their capacity to execute autonomy-supportive teaching behaviors and teachers' self-reported implementation of autonomy-supportive teaching behaviors.
These findings have implications for students’ cognitive autonomy development and teacher training programs. Effective and continuous teacher education programs need to be developed to enhance teachers’ skills to understand the importance of autonomy-supportive teaching and increase their capacity to implement autonomy-supportive teaching behaviors. Within teacher preparation programs, instruction regarding the specific types of autonomy supportive teaching and interventions to support students’ cognitive autonomy is needed. Through the development of cognitive autonomy skills, teachers will prepare students to navigate the challenges of 21st century and be ready to succeed in post-secondary education and employment settings.
Cognitive Autonomy; Cognitive Autonomy Supportive Teaching Behaviors; English Language Learners/Bilingual Learners; Gifted and Talented; Learning Disabilities; Teacher Perceptions
Special Education and Teaching
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Deniz, Fatmana Kara, "Cognitive Autonomy Supportive Teaching Behaviors: Perceptions of Four Groups of Educators" (2021). UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones. 4137.
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