Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Jamie Jones


Many U.S. adolescents struggle with obesity and a lack of motivation to be healthy and physically active, which affects individual as well as public health. The purpose of this mixed-method study was to evaluate students' motivation to participate in physical education class and better understand the teaching strategies currently used by physical education teachers who participated in an interview and 2 observations. Self-determination theory framed the research questions, which focused on students' intrinsic motivation to participate in physical education class and physical education teachers' use of autonomy supportive teaching strategies. Learning Climate and Basic Need surveys were administered to 6th-8th grade students (n = 261). Analysis of descriptive statistics revealed students felt the strongest fulfillment of relatedness from their teacher (M = 5.6) and autonomy support to be the least (M = 4.6). Overall inferential statistics revealed similar results when teachers were compared. Analysis of variance resulted in no significant differences between the teachers as related to competence, relatedness, autonomy, and perceptions. Qualitative data was coded and revealed similar themes; all data revealed relatedness scores were the highest for all the teachers, and autonomy support was the lowest for all the teachers. Positive social change provides an updated 9-week curriculum plan with new units that have been designed to enhance their motivation and create awareness of lifelong physical activities; autonomy supportive teaching strategies have been incorporated in the curriculum.