Measuring student teachers’ basic psychological needs

Marjan Vermeulen, Jos Castelijns, Bob Koster, Quinta Kools

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    In the Self–Determination Theory (SDT) basic psychological needs for relatedness, autonomy and competence are distinguished. Basic psychological need fulfilment is considered to be critical for human development and intrinsic motivation. In the Netherlands, the concept of basic psychological need fulfilment is introduced in the curricula of many teacher education institutes. In five teacher education institutes, study coaches use a Dutch version of the Basic Psychological Needs Scale (BPNS), to collect data to be used in a discussion with student teachers about their intrinsic motivation for a specific part of the teacher education course. On the basis of the outcomes of this discussion, study coaches and student teachers derive consequences for day to day practice in their classrooms. The data were also used to establish whether the theoretical distinction between three basic psychological needs is found in this sample of student teachers in the Netherlands. The results show that the constructs of relatedness, autonomy and competence are found and can be measured by using a 14-item five-point scale, partly based on the original BPNS, and partly on new items that focus on different sources of perceived need fulfilment, namely teacher education in general, the study coach and fellow students.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)453-467
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Education for Teaching
    Issue number4
    Early online date28 May 2012
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


    • relatedness
    • autonomy
    • competence
    • intrinsic motivation
    • self-regulation
    • student teacher


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