Students need to feel in control (autonomy) and capable of success (competence) to be intrinsically motivated. Intrinsic motivation positively correlates with persistence and the ability to manage one’s thoughts and emotions. Increased sense of control leads to deeper conceptual learning, creativity, and recall of information.
Classrooms that are set up to give students information and support to operate self-sufficiently and that offer choice boost autonomy. When teachers have rigid control of their environments and/or their students, use tangible rewards, or pressure students to perform, the students’ sense of autonomy is decreased.