The impact of improving feelings of relatedness on motivation and engagement for tertiary students

Ananthan Ambikairajah, R. Ambikairajah, Eliathamby Ambikairajah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


First-year undergraduates may be particularly prone to experiencing difficulties with facilitating feelings of relatedness, due to the recent shift in educational environments (i.e. from high school to university), which may be unfamiliar. Therefore, the current study aimed to determine whether the implementation of a single pedagogical strategy, centred within the self-determination theory framework, could effectively address students’ innate need for relatedness. Specifically, informal verbal feedback was utilized to enhance teacher–student communication, where the teacher spoke with each undergraduate student individually at the start of every lesson for 1–2 minutes. A total of 243 Advanced Science undergraduates enrolled in the first-year course at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, were included in the study. Seventy-one undergraduates were enrolled in 2016, whereas 172 undergraduates were enrolled in 2017. A mixed research methodology was employed to best leverage the utility of both qualitative and quantitative data. Interestingly, the use of informal verbal feedback as a pedagogical strategy significantly improved the student’ perceptions of receiving helpful feedback to aid their learning. These findings are important as they emphasize the utility and effectiveness of implementing one new pedagogical strategy to facilitate student’ motivation, by enhancing feelings of relatedness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-730
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


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