Student Interest and Engagement in Middle School Physical Education: Examining the Role of Needs Supportive Teaching
This study examines the complexities of the social learning environment in middle school physical education. Specifically, we investigate the independent and interactive predictive effects of situational interest and needs supportive teaching on students’ personal interest and class engagement. Middle school students (N = 388) in compulsory physical education courses completed questionnaires on situational interest, needs supportive teaching, personal interest, and behavioral and emotional engagement. Results from structural equation modeling tests revealed independent predictive effects of situational interest and needs supportive teaching on personal interest, and behavioral and emotional engagement. There was also an interactive effect between situational interest and needs supportive teaching on personal interest. This association was conditional on a minimum level of needs support in the social learning environment. To date, the conceptualization of situational interest has focused on student – activity interactions; however, our findings highlight the importance of social learning environment on student – activity interactions.
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