The impact of improving feelings of relatedness on motivation and engagement for tertiary students

Abstract

First year undergraduates may be particularly prone to experiencing difficulties with facilitating feelings of relatedness, due to the recent shift in educational environments (i.e. from high school to university). Therefore, we aimed to determine whether the implementation of a single pedagogical strategy, centred within the self-determination theory framework, could effectively address students’ innate need for relatedness. Specifically, informal verbal feedback was utilised to enhance teacher-student communication, where the teacher spoke with each undergraduate student individually at the start of every lesson for 1-2 minutes. A total of 243 Advanced Science undergraduates enrolled in a first year course were included in the study. Seventy-one undergraduates were enrolled in 2016 whereas 172 undergraduates were enrolled in 2017. A mixed research methodology was employed to best leverage the utility of both qualitative and quantitative data. Interestingly, the use of informal verbal feedback as a pedagogical strategy significantly improved student perceptions of receiving helpful feedback to aid their learning. These findings are important as they emphasise the importance and feasibility of implementing one new pedagogical strategy to facilitate student motivation, by enhancing feelings of relatedness.

Citation:
Ambikairajah, A., Ambikairajah, R., & Ambikairajah, E. (2019). The impact of improving feelings of relatedness on motivation and engagement for tertiary students. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology. doi:10.1080/0020739X.2019.1703149