A study of the relationship between different types of autonomy support and student interest
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Representing one of the influential motivational variables on learning, interest includes both cognitive and affective components, arising from the interplay between an individual and a particular content and environment (Dewey, 1913; Hidi, Renninger, and Krapp, 2004). According to Hidi & Renninger (2004), interest can develop from situational to individual interest and be strengthened along with external support. On the basis of their propositions, this report explores how student interest may be intensified by enhancing cognitive facets of interest through the teacher’s instructional support. From the perspective of self-determination theory (SDT), support for autonomy as a contextual factor has been reported as a catalyst for student interest and engagement. In particular, Stefanou, Perencevich, DiCintio, and Turner (2004) stressed the importance of cognitive autonomy support as an instructional support in terms of deep-level thinking and cognitive engagement in comparison to other types of autonomy support such as by providing students choice in class. This report explores how different levels and types of student interest are associated with different types of autonomy support in an educational setting, focusing on cognitive aspects. Using a path analysis, this paper presents a full model to undergird a study of the direct and indirect relationships between student interest, different types of autonomy support, and cognitive engagement.