Positive student engagement is a prerequisite for students' educational success. In this study, a microanalytic approach was used to explore patterns in teachers' use of specific motivating teaching behaviours from the perspective of self-determination theory in relation to indicators of students' positive engagement. The lessons of 52 teachers were observed and event-based coded. Results showed that specifically asking motivating questions and providing positive feedback and support during exercises were associated with subsequent positive student engagement. Unexpectedly, some demotivating teaching behaviours were also found to relate to positive student engagement, although to a lesser extent. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.