Putting Theory into Practice: Designing a Curriculum According to Self-Determination Theory

By Rebecca Huxley-Binns and Graham Ferris.

Published by The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum

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Building on existing research into the affective domain in legal education, volition and self-determination theory (SDT), we explain how to categorise student motivation types and design a curriculum which meets and supports, or at least does not undermine or damage, students' intrinsic or extrinsic motivations. This categorisation process allows the curriculum designer to obtain a fresh insight into student engagement, particularly by appreciating how to enhance the active forms of extrinsic student motivation, which leads students to internalize their goals, take over the responsibility for their learning and develop a strong sense of value for their choices. That insight, coupled with an appreciation of SDT's identification of the three human motivational needs (autonomy, competence and relatedness), allows the curriculum designer consciously to address learning, teaching and assessment at a macro- and micro-design level. As one method of approaching curriculum design, we show how to change the learning culture; the environment enables a stronger understanding of students’ behaviours, volition and motivation, creating new ways for the students to internalise their extrinsic motivation (own their learning), leading to fully self-determined actions.

Keywords: Student Engagement, Self-determination Theory, Motivation, Intrinsic Motivation, Extrinsic Motivation, Curriculum Design

International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 428.603KB).

Rebecca Huxley-Binns

Reader in Legal Education, Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, England, UK

Becky Huxley-Binns has been teaching law for 20 years, half of them at Nottingham Trent University. She now is Nottingham Law School's Learning and Teaching Coordinator. She is also Reader in Legal Education and widely published in Criminal Law, English Legal System and legal education. Becky teaches Critical Legal Thinking to final year LLB students and she is Module Leader for Criminal Law with Mooting, taught to second year LLB students. She is Co-Director of the NLS Centre for Legal Education. She convenes the National Student Law Forum and in that role is an Academic Associate of the HEA (2012). Very experienced at teaching all levels of legal education from GCSE to Doctorate level, Becky has also been a senior examiner for A level law, Principal Examiner for Criminal Law for ILEX and is an experienced external examiner to University Law Schools. Becky is the Honorary Secretary of the Association of Law Teachers. Becky was Law Teacher of the Year 2010.

Graham Ferris

Reader in Law, Nottingham Law School, Nottingham, UK

Graham Ferris is Reader in Law at Nottingham Law School. He has taught through lectures, seminars, moots, research, and clinic. He has taught property law, legal history, restitution, finance, and the law of the WTO. He has published in the areas of property law, legal history, and legal education. He has recently started teaching legal theory. Married with three children a dog and a cat he lives in his home town of Nottingham.