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J Sports Sci. 2001 Dec;19(12):903-13.

Goal orientations, self-determination and pupils' discipline in physical education.

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  • 1Department of Physical Education, Sports Science and Recreation Management, Loughborough University, UK.


In this study, we examined the patterns of goal orientations, perceived competence, reasons for behaving well and self-reported discipline in school physical education among 511 pupils from years 8 and 9 (mean age 14.2 years). Cluster analyses were conducted on two randomly split subsamples to identify homogeneous groups of pupils on these measures of achievement motivation and discipline. Three meaningful clusters emerged for the first subsample, which were then cross-validated for the second subsample. One group of pupils revealed low scores on task and ego orientations, perceived competence and feelings of self-determination about their behaviour in lessons. These perceptions were related to lower ratings of discipline in physical education than pupils who scored more highly on these variables. The highest discipline scores were reported by pupils with high task and ego orientations, perceived competence and feelings of autonomy. The results are useful for teachers and other physical activity leaders in enhancing motivation and disciplined behaviour in young people. Promoting more self-determined reasons for being disciplined, for example, could lead to more orderly classes.

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