“The Stomp and Catch Was Too Easy!” Children’s and Teachers’ Perceptions of Inclusive High and Low Autonomy Motor Skills Instruction


  • Alice M. Buchanan Auburn University
  • Benjamin J. Miedema Auburn University
  • Mary E. Rudisill Auburn University
  • Jerraco Johnson Auburn University
  • Claire Bridges Auburn University
  • J. Megan Irwin University of South Carolina
  • Brooke Converse Auburn University
  • Melissa Pangelinan Auburn University




high autonomy, inclusion, class climate, motor skills


Physical educators seek ways to motivate students to engage in lifelong physical activity. Research demonstrates that autonomy-supportive climates improve motor skills and competence in children. Although substantial research exists on the benefits of autonomy-supportive climates on children’s motor skills, little is known regarding the perceptions of the teachers and the children. We implemented two instructional climates—an autonomy-supportive climate (ASC) and a teacher-centered controlled (TCC) climate, both designed for learning motor skills—and asked children and teachers about their perceptions of the instructional approaches. Twenty-four children and four teachers participated. Data were collected qualitatively through informal interviews with children, in-depth interviews with teachers, and field observations. All researchers engaged in inductive data analysis and triangulation. The results suggest that children preferred the ASC over the TCC, found the ASC challenging, and thought the ASC facilitated independence and choice. These findings suggest an explanation for why earlier studies found positive learning outcomes in ASC. Subscribe to TPE

Author Biographies

Alice M. Buchanan, Auburn University

Alice M. BuchananAssociate ProfessorSchool of KinesiologyAuburn University

Benjamin J. Miedema, Auburn University

Doctoral CandidateSchool of Kinesiology

Mary E. Rudisill, Auburn University

Endowed ProfessorSchool of Kinesiology

Jerraco Johnson, Auburn University

Doctoral CandidateSchool of Kinesiology

Claire Bridges, Auburn University

Doctoral candidateSchool of Kinesiology

J. Megan Irwin, University of South Carolina

Post-doctoral fellow

Brooke Converse, Auburn University

graduate studentAuburn University

Melissa Pangelinan, Auburn University

Assistant ProfessorSchool of Kinesiology