January 27, 2011

Can an empirically supported framework also be critical and liberating?

Self-determination theory in schools of education
Can an empirically supported framework also be critical and liberating?

Ryan, R. and Niemiec, C

Abstract: In many graduate schools of education there is strong resistance to formal theories, especially those that are supported through quantitative empirical methods. In this article we describe how self-determination theory (SDT), a formal and empirically focused framework, shares sensibilities with critical theorists concerning the importance of actors’ own embedded experiences of the world, and the importance of liberation and resistance to hegemony. Yet we argue that, unlike many post-modern views that are largely negative, SDT is truly critical precisely because it posits a common human nature, which can be more or less supported and allowed to flourish in different cultural and institutional contexts. Read full article here.

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