Please report broken links to us. Paid resources are noted with **. Note: all research should be looked at through a critical lens, there is no denying that many research studies fail to be replicated or have mixed results.


The Unschooled Mind**. Gardner, Howard. Basic Books. 2011.

  • An overview of how current instructional practices go against the natural patterns of learning, with suggestions on how to reconstruction schools.

What do I do Monday? Holt, John. 1995.

  • An overview of Holt's methodology of best teaching practice, encouraging students to learn on their own.

How Children Fail. Holt, John. Penguin Education. 1964.

  • This book analyzes how traditional education has led to the destruction of learning by students, ruining their natural sense of discovery they were born with.

The Discovery of the Child**. Montessori, Maria. 1986 (translation).

  • An introduction to the "Montessori Method" - a fully peer-taught and choice-based curriculum employed in Montessori schools throughout the world.


The Emotional Costs of Parents’ Conditional Regard: A Self-Determination Theory Analysis. Assor, Avi, Roth, Guy, & Deci, Edward. Journal of Personality. 2004.

  • Demonstrates that parents who show conditional love toward their children (e.g. withdrawing and giving based on their behavior) saw strong short-term results, but incredibly negative long-term results toward self-directed regulation and behavior.

Less-structured time in children's daily lives predicts self-directed executive functioning. Barker et al. Frontiers in Psychology. 2014. 

  • Study shows how children, when left alone to develop their own structure, are better at self-directed processes in the future.

Autonomy in Children's Learning: An Experimental and Individual Difference Investigation. Grolnick, Wendy, Ryan, Richard. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1987.

  • When two groups of students were presented with controlling vs. non-controlled learning, those in a non-controlled (and more autonomous) environment had greater learning outcomes and motivation.

A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety. Moffitt et al. PNAS. 2011. 

  • Details how low self-control in life leads to overall decreased opportunities and outcomes. The study suggests that universal programs and steps be taken to increase the teaching of self-control/direction from a young age.

Pressure From Above and Pressure From Below as Determinants of Teachers’ Motivation and Teaching Behaviors. Pelletier, Luc, Seguin-Levesque, Chantal, & Legault, Louise. Journal of Educational Psychology. 2002.

  • The more a teacher feels pressured from above (by admin) and/or below (by students), the less likely they are to allow for self-determination in the classroom and in-turn, the more controlling they are.

Self-Determination and Persistence in a Real-Life Setting: Toward a Motivational Model of of High School Dropout. Vallerand, Robert. Fortier, Michelle. Guay, Frederic. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1997.

  • Showcases how self-determination and understanding/emphasizing one's own drive for learning is correlated with one's desire to stay in school.


Motivation and Education: The Self-Determination Perspective. Deci, Edward et al. Educational Psychologist. 1991.

  • An overview of self-determination theory and how its incorporation in school showcases a heavily increased level of learning.

Classroom Applications of Research on Self-Regulated Learning. Paris, Scott & Paris, Alison. Educational Psychologist. 2001.

  • Overviews each practice teachers can take to increase self-regulated and determination in their classroom for the benefit of students.

The Role of Goal Orientation in Self-Regulated Learning. Pintrich, Paul. Academic Press. 2000.

  • An overview of how self-regulated learning should be coordinated in a classroom for greater student outcomes.