To read this content please select one of the options below:

A Self-determination Theory Perspective on Social and Emotional Learning

Motivating the SEL Field Forward Through Equity

ISBN: 978-1-80043-465-3, eISBN: 978-1-80043-464-6

Publication date: 25 November 2021


This chapter explores how self-determination theory (SDT; Ryan & Deci, 2000, 2017), an empirical theory about human motivation and personality, aligns with principles and practices of social and emotional learning (SEL) within the school context. Through its emphasis on basic psychological needs (BPN) for autonomy, competence, and relatedness, SDT proposes a broad perspective on how the social context can facilitate the development of social and emotional skills, which complements SEL programs. Research anchored in SDT has indeed established that students' academic, social, and emotional skills are determined at least partly by the extent to which their BPN are fulfilled in their learning environment. SDT also brings attention to the motivation and goals underlying the teaching and learning of social and emotional skills. Although SDT-based interventions mainly target the school or the classroom climate rather than students' skills, they can also foster the development of the five core social and emotional competencies defined by CASEL (2005). Implications and future directions for practices and research integrating SDT-based principles and interventions within SEL programs and practices are discussed.



Kurdi, V., Joussemet, M. and Mageau, G.A. (2021), "A Self-determination Theory Perspective on Social and Emotional Learning", Yoder, N. and Skoog-Hoffman, A. (Ed.) Motivating the SEL Field Forward Through Equity (Advances in Motivation and Achievement, Vol. 21), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 61-78.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022 by Emerald Publishing Limited