Deci, E. L., Nezlek, J., & Sheinman, L. (1981). The effects of teacher characteristics on the intrinsic motivation and self esteem of school children, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 40, 1-10.
This field study considered the relationship between teacher characteristics and the intrinisic motivation and self-esteem of children in Grades 4 through 6. The research evolved out of Deci's cognitive evaluation theory, which distinguishes between the controlling and informational aspects of rewards. We hypothesized that children whose teachers wre oriented toward controlling them would be less intrinsically motivated and have lower self-esteem than children whose teachers were oriented toward supporting autonomy. We reasoned that control-oriented teachers would tend to use rewards informationally. The data supported our hypothesis and also indicated that children percevied autonomy-oriented techers as facilitating personal responsibility and internal control more than control-oriented teachers.