The role of learning conditions (where you are) have shown to affect performer’s motivation and psychological functioning (Haraldsen et al., 2020; Hancox, 2014; Aujla et al., 2014, 2015; Quested & Duda, 2009).
Those motivational experiences are multifaceted. However, autonomous motivation is shown to being more psychologically robust and less dependent on given conditions (Haraldsen et al., 2020).
The latter is nurtured in a task or mastery-oriented climate, where effort and personal as well as collective improvement is rewarded, cooperative learning is encouraged, the contributions of every dancer are acknowledged and mistakes are responded to with informational feedback instead of punishment both verbally and physically (Quested & Duda, 2009; Aujla et al., 2014; Hancox et al., 2017).
Findings showed that dance teachers supported mastery goals more than performance/ego goals. However, when comparing leisure and talent contexts, the talent center motivational climates were perceived as more task-involving and less ego-involving than local leisure climates (Nordin-Bates et al., 2012), in contrast to the findings from Norwegian context (Haraldsen, 2019).
Mastery-climate seems to be facilitated through four teaching approaches;
- enhancing understanding (through scaffolding, emphasizing key concepts, press, and proactive instruction)
- supporting learning and motivation (encouraging help-seeking, showing enthusiasm, incorporating popular media, establishing the relevance of class content, and self-disclosing)
- enhance a god teacher-student relationship (showing interest in students, autonomy support, discretion and using humor)
- by supporting classroom management (monitoring and pacing, responding to help-seeking, varying the participation structure in the class, and moving around the room to establish closeness to all of the students).
In order to facilitate flow experience (i.e. performing in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment) a qualitative study identified that supportive, secure, and open learning environments (e.g., nonjudgmental, creative, and open goals) were important flow-enhancing factors, whereas controlling conditions seem to hamper or reduce flow experiences, intrinsic motivation, and development of artistic competence (Hefferon & Ollis, 2006).
Avoid controlling conditions
In a recent Norwegian doctoral thesis of talent development schools in classical ballet (based on the framework of self-determination theory) the findings revealed a typical high-performance culture where controlling conditions turned out to be quite common (Haraldsen, 2019).
The control appeared to be more directly interwoven in rigid structures and routines (i.e., traditionalist way of teaching, the ‘doxic’ culture of dance), than in the interrelationship between the teacher and the students.
However, autonomous motivation was also facilitated through the Norwegian egalitarian over-arching culture, by close relationships, by being partly student-centered, and through focusing on artistic dimensions and processes (Haraldsen et al., 2020).
Aujla, I. J., Nordin-Bates, S., & Redding, E. (2014). A qualitative investigation of commitment to dance: findings from the UK Centres for Advanced Training. Research in Dance Education, 15(2), 138-160.
Hancox, J. E., Quested, E., Ntoumanis, N., & Duda, J. L. (2017). Teacher-created social environment, basic psychological needs, and dancers’ affective states during class: A diary study. Personality and Individual Differences, 115, 137-143.
Haraldsen, H. M., Halvari, H., Solstad, B. E., Abrahamsen, F. E., & Nordin-Bates, S. M. (2019). The role of perfectionism and controlling conditions in Norwegian elite junior performers’ motivational processes. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 1366.
Haraldsen, H. M., Nordin-Bates, S. M., Abrahamsen, F. E., & Halvari, H. (2020). Thriving, Striving, or Just Surviving? TD Learning Conditions, Motivational Processes and Well-Being Among Norwegian Elite Performers in Music, Ballet, and Sport. Roeper Review, 42(2), 109-125.
Hefferon, K. M., & Ollis, S. (2006). ‘Just clicks’: an interpretive phenomenological analysis of professional dancers’ experience of flow. Research in Dance Education, 7(2), 141-159.
Nordin-Bates, S. M., Hill, A. P., Cumming, J., Aujla, I. J., & Redding, E. (2014). A longitudinal examination of the relationship between perfectionism and motivational climate in dance. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 36(4), 382-391.
Nordin-Bates, S. M., Quested, E., Walker, I. J., & Redding, E. (2012). Climate change in the dance studio: Findings from the UK centres for advanced training. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 1(1), 3.
Quested, E., & Duda, J. L. (2009). Perceptions of the motivational climate, need satisfaction, and indices of well-and ill-being among hip hop dancers. Journal of Dance Medicine & Science, 13(1), 10-19.