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Student-Centered Curricular Changes Based on Learner Action Research Projects

Presented by:

David Cluphf, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

What do school teachers want to learn? Analysis of 200 graduate Action Research projects by teachers determined that curriculum must address Basic Psychological Needs Theory.

Student-Centered Curricular Changes Based on Learner Action Research Projects


Student-centered instruction (SCI) is accomplished via a multitude of practices supporting creativity and ingenuity. Analysis of over 200 action research projects indicated that graduate students who are school teachers focused primarily on Self-Determination Theory (SDT) with the majority involving student autonomy, competence and relatedness. Analysis suggests that SDT is foundational to effective classroom practices and that graduate coursework must address this viewpoint. To that end, curricular changes included the addition of a course in SDT as well as teaching/addressing SDT in all courses in the context of school teaching and action research. This has been favorably received by graduate students.


Action Research, Instructional Methods, Curriculum Design


Describe Action Research

Explain the contributions of Self-Determination Theory to Action Research

Address curricular change based on identified student learning needs.

Hear it from the author:

Student-Centered Curricular Changes Based on Learner Action Research ProjectsDavid Cluphf, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
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Audio Transcript:

Greetings my name is David Cluphf and the purpose of this poster is to address how we engaged in curricular change as a result of student action research projects. I teach in a fully online graduate program for public school teachers, and we are a heavily based action research program. So what we wanted to see was what students actually wanted through action research. To do this, we engaged in a five year backtrack of 168 action research projects and found, as you can see, that the overwhelming majority of our students were interested in motivation how they can motivate their learners to engage in activities, to learn, even to behave. With that in mind we redesigned our curriculum so that our first three foundational courses deal with motivational theory, assessment for learning as a matter of motivation and physical activity and mental health. The outcome of this study demonstrated that we can engage in positive and effective curricular change simply by looking at student work and not engaging in more complex and detailed processes thank you.


Feldman, A., Altrichter, H., Posch, P., & Somekh, B. (2018). Teachers investigate their work: An introduction to action research across the professions. Routledge.  Kaput, K. (2018). Evidence for Student-Centered Learning. Education evolving.  Vasconcellos, D., Parker, P. D., Hilland, T., Cinelli, R., Owen, K. B., Kapsal, N., ... & Lonsdale, C. (2020). Self-determination theory applied to physical education: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Psychology, 112(7), 1444.

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