Self-Determination for Primary School Children: Theory and Practice
Keywords:Self-Determination, Pupil Autonomy, Motivation, Development
Research suggests that students who are self-determined are more likely to succeed as adults. This article contains a brief overview of the literature in the field of self-determination since its emergence as a topic of interest in the 1980s. Definitions of self-determination are presented, as described by authors in the field and Self-Determination Theory, as proposed by Deci and Ryan (2000) is deconstructed. The Component Elements of Self-Determined Behaviour (Wehmeyer, 1992) are outlined and teacher-based strategies for applying these nine elements are proposed, with reference to the Primary School Curriculum. These strategies are suggested for implementation in light of the Continuum of Support and the new Guidelines for Primary Schools Supporting Pupils with Special Educational Needs in Mainstream Schools (DES, 2017). Research outlines that strengthening pupils in these elements leads to higher levels of self-determination, both for typically developing children and those with special educational needs.
Berk, L. (2013) Child Development (6th ed). London: Pearson Education.
Bronfenbrenner E. (1979) The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature and Design. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Cabeza, B., Magill, L., Jenkins, A., Carter, E., Greiner, S., Bell, L., and Lane, K. L. (2013) Promoting Self-Determination Among Students With Disabilities: A Guide for Tennessee Educators. Available at: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/57752cbed 1758e541bdee f6b/t/579bd228e58c625407294e0f/1469829678939/Carter_2013_Self_Determination.pdf (accessed 15th July 2017).
Cannella, H. I., O’Reilly, M. F., and Lancioni, G. E. (2005) Choice and Preference Assessment Research with People with Severe to Profound Developmental Disabilities: A Review of the Literature. Research in Developmental Disabilities, Vol. 26, 1-15.
Deci, E.L. (1980) The Psychology of Self-determination. Lexington, Mass: Lexington Books.
Department of Education and Skills (DES) (2011) Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life: The National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy among Children and Young People 2011-2020. Dublin: The Stationery Office.
Department of Education and Skills (DES) (2017) Guidelines for Primary Schools: Supporting Pupils with Special Educational Needs in Mainstream Schools. Available at: https://www.education.ie/en/The-Education-System/SpecialEducation/Guidelines-for-Primary-Schools-Supporting-Pupils-with-SpecialEducational-Needs-in-Mainstream-Schools.pdf (accessed 2nd July 2017).
Department of Health & Children (2009) Growing Up in Ireland National Longitudinal Study of Children Background and Conceptual Framework. Dublin: The Stationery Office.
Einsman, L. and Chamberlin, M. (2001). Implementing Self-determination Activities: Lessons from Schools. Remedial and Special Education, Vol. 22(3), 138- 147.
Field, S., Martin, J., Miller, R., Ward, M., and Wehmeyer, M. (1998) A Practical Guide to Teaching Self-Determination. Reston VA: Council for Exceptional Children, Division on Career Development and Transition.
Frea, W., Arnold, C., and Vittimberga, G. (2001) A Demonstration of the Effects of Augmentative Communication on the Extreme Aggressive Behavior of a Child with Autism within an Integrated Preschool Setting. Journal of Positive Behavior Intervention, Vol. 3, 194–198.
Ginevra, M.C., Nota, L., Soresi, S., Shogren, A.K., Wehmeyer, M.L. and Little, T.D. (2015) A Cross Cultural Comparison of the Self-Determination Construct in Italian and American Adolescents. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, Vol. 20(4), 501-517.
Government of Ireland (GOI) (1998) Education Act 1998. Dublin: The Stationery Office.
Government of Ireland (GOI) (1999a) Primary School Curriculum Introduction. Dublin: The Stationery Office.
Government of Ireland (GOI) (1999b) Primary School Curriculum: Social, Personal and Health Education. Dublin: The Stationery Office.
Government of Ireland (GOI) (2004) Education of Persons with Special Educational Needs Act. Dublin: The Stationery Office.
Government of Ireland (GOI) (2005) Disability Act. Dublin: The Stationery Office.
Gumpel, T. P., Tappe, P., and Araki, C. (2000) Comparison of Social ProblemSolving Abilities among Adults with and without Developmental Disabilities. Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, Vol. 35, 259 –268.
Harrison, N. (2006) The Impact of Negative Experiences, Dissatisfaction and Attachment on First Year Undergraduate Withdrawal. Journal of Further and Higher Education, Vol. 30, 377-391.
Jang, H., Reeve, J., Ryan, R. M., and Kim, A. (2009) Can Self-Determination Theory Explain what Underlies the Productive, Satisfying Learning Experiences of Collectivistically-Oriented Korean Adolescents? Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 101, 644–661.
Katz, I., and Assor, A. (2007) When Choice Motivates and When it Does Not. Educational Psychology Review, Vol. 19, 429–442.
Khemka, I. (2000) Increasing Independent Decision-Making Skills of Women with Mental Retardation in Simulated Interpersonal Situations of Abuse. American Journal on Mental Retardation, Vol. 105, 387-401.
Lee, S. H., Wehmeyer, M.L., Palmer, S.B., Soukup, J.H. and Little, T.D. (2008) Self-Determination and Access to the General Education Curriculum. The Journal of Special Education, Vol. 42, 91–107.
Muraven M. and Baumeister R. F. (2000) Self-Regulation and Depletion of Limited Resources: Does Self-Control Resemble a Muscle? American Psychological Association, Vol. 126(2), 247-259.
National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) (2010) Innovation and Identity: Ideas for a new Junior Cycle. Available at: http://www.ncca.ie/en/Publications /Consu ltativeDocuments/Summary_Innovation_and_Identity_Ideas_for_a_new_junior_cycle.pdf (accessed 2nd June 2017).
National Council for Special Education (NCSE) (2006) Guidelines on the Individual Educational Plan (IEP) Process by the National Council for Special Education. Trim, Co. Meath: National Council for Special Education.
National Council for Special Education (NCSE) (2013) What Works in the Provision of Higher, Further and Continuing Education, Training and Rehabilitation for Adults with Disabilities? A Review of the Literature. Trim, Co. Meath: National Council for Special Education.
National Council for Special Education (NCSE) (2014) Delivery For Students with Special Educational Needs: A Better and More Equitable Way. Trim, Co. Meath: National Council for Special Education.
National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) (2010) Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties - A Continuum of Support: Guidelines for Teachers. Dublin: The Stationery Office.
National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) (2007) Special Educational Needs: A Continuum of Support: Guidelines for Teachers. Dublin: The Stationery Office.
Niemiec, C. P. and Ryan, R. M. (2009) Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness in the Classroom. Applying Self-Determination Theory to Educational Practice. University of Rochester: New York, USA.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2011) Inclusion of Students with Disabilities in Tertiary Education and Employment. Paris: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Reeve, J. (2009) Understanding Motivation and Emotion (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Richenhagen M. (2013) Simply Management: A CEO’s Approach to Daily Effectiveness and Lasting Success. Bloomington: iUniverce LCC.
Ryan, R. M., Kuhl, J., and Deci, E. L. (1997) Nature and Autonomy: Organizational View of Social and Neurobiological Aspects of Self-Regulation in Behavior and Development. Development and Psychopathology, Vol. 9, 701–728.
Ryan, M.R. and Deci, D. L. (2000) Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being. American Psychologist, Vol. 55 (1), 68-78.
Ryan, M.R. and Deci, D.L. (2008) Self-Determination Theory: A Macrotheory of Human Motivation, Development, and Health. Canadian Psychological Association, Vol. 49 (3), 181-185.
Schunk, D. H., Pintrich, P. R., and Meece, J., L. (2008) Motivation in Education (3rd ed.). Upper
Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.
Shogren, K., Faggella-Luby, M., Bae, S. J., and Wehmeyer, M. L. (2004) The Effect of Choice-Making as an Intervention for Problem Behavior: A MetaAnalysis. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, Vol. 6, 228-237.
Shogren, K. A., Wehmeyer, M.L., Palmer, S. B. and Forber-Pratt, A. J. (2015) Causal Agency Theory: Reconceptualizing a Functional Model of SelfDetermination. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, Vol. 50 (3), 251–263.
Wehmeyer, M. L. (1992) Self-determination: Critical Skills for Outcome-Oriented Transition Services. The Journal for Vocational Special Needs Education, Vol. 39, 153-163.
Wehmeyer, M. L. (1997) Self-determination as an Educational Outcome. A Definitional Framework and Implications for Intervention. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, Vol. 9, 175-209.
Wehmeyer, M. L. (2007) Self-determination. Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Handbook for Parents and Educators, Vol. 2, 327-330.
Wehmeyer M.L., Abery B. H., Mithaug D. E. and Stancliffe R. J. (2003) Theory in Self Determination Foundations for Educational Practice. Illinois: Charles C Thomas.
Wehmeyer M. L. and Field S. L. (2007) Self-determination Instructional and Assessment Strategies. California: Corwin Press.
Wehmeyer M. L., Kelchner K., and Richards S. (1996) Essential Characteristics of Self Determined Behavior of Individuals With Mental Retardation. American Journal on Mental Retardation, Vol. 100 (6), 632-642.
Wehmeyer, M. L., Martin, J. E., and Sands, D. J. (2008) Self-determination and Students with Developmental Disabilities. In H. P. Parette & G. R. PetersonKarlan (Eds.), Research-Based Practices in Developmental Disabilities (pp. 99-122). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.
Wehmeyer M. L., Yeager D., Bolding N., Agran M., and Hughes C. (2003) The Effects of Self-Regulation Strategies on Goal Attainment for Students With Developmental Disabilities in General Education Classrooms. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, Vol. 15(1), 79-91.
Wehmeyer, M.L., Palmer, S.B., Shorgen, K.A., Williams-Diehm, K. and Soukup, J. (2013) Establishing a Causal Relationship between Interventions to Promote Self-Determination and Enhanced Student Self-Determination. Journal of Special Education, Vol. 46 (4), 195-210.
Wehmeyer, M.L., Shogren, K.A., Palmer, S.B., Williams-Diehm K., Little, T. and Boulton, A. (2012) Impact of the Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction on Self-Determination: A Randomized-Trial Control Group Study. Exceptional Children, Vol. 78 (2), 135–153.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2020 REACH: Journal of Inclusive Education in Ireland
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Authors contributing to REACH: Journal of Inclusive Education in Ireland retain the copyright of their article and at the same time agree to publish their articles under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial- NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) License allowing third parties to share, copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format under the following terms:
- Attribution (BY): You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
- NonCommercial (NC): You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
- NoDerivatives (ND): If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.
Learn more about Creative Commons licensing.