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Relations between Motivational Beliefs and Motivational-Regulation Strategies

Motivation is viewed as a critical determinant of students’ academic learning and achievement in part because students who are more highly motivated tend to provide greater effort and persist longer at academic tasks than do students who are less motivated (Pintrich & Schrauben, 1992; Pintrich & Schunk, 1996; Stipek, 1993). In cognitive models of motivation, this greater effort and persistence for academic tasks is thought to result, in large part, from various beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions of the student (Weiner, 1990). Among these beliefs, students’ perceived self-efficacy and the goals or reasons students adopt for wanting to complete academic tasks have often been used to understand and explain students’ motivation and concomitant effort and persistence on academic tasks. Prior research in the field of educational psychology has found that students’ self-efficacy and orientation toward learning or performance goals is related to students’ use of different motivational-regulation strategies (Wolters, 1998; Wolters & Rosenthal, 2000). However, SRL is domain-specific. The present research specific to EFL was expected to provide more insight into the relations between motivational beliefs and motivational-regulation strategies. Therefore, this section addresses the relations between motivational beliefs and motivational-regulation strategies used by Chinese college EFL students. In particular, the current study examines more closely the relations between students’ English-learning goal orientations, English self-efficacy, and their use of the eight types of motivational-regulation strategies identified in the present study: interest enhancement, performance self-talk, mastery self-talk, self-reward, negative-based incentive, task-value enhancement, volitional control, and self-efficacy enhancement.

Results

First of all, relations between motivational beliefs and motivational regulation strategies were first explored using Pearson product-moment correlations. Table 5.1 shows the results of Pearson product-moment correlations. As shown in Table 5.1, performance-approach goal was significantly related to each of the eight motivational regulation strategies. Hence, students who expressed a greater orientation toward performance- approach goals were more likely to report using strategies designed to increase their effort and persistence for the task assigned in their English class. In addition, performance-approach goal was more strongly related to performance self-talk (a = .494, p = .000) and self-reward (a = .381, p = .000), suggesting that students who reported a greater focus on wanting good grades and doing better than others were more likely to use motivational-regulation strategies based on reminding themselves about wanting good grades or providing themselves with external rewards for continuing to work. Generally, performance-approach goal orientation was more strongly related to the motivational regulation strategies based

Table 5.1 Pearson correlations between English-learning goal orientations, English self-efficacy and motivational regulation strategies

Performance-

approach

Performance-

avoidance

Mastery

Self

efficacy

Interest

enhancement

Pearson

correlation

Sig.

.278(**)

.000

.028

.507

.401(**)

.000

.451(**)

.000

Performance

self-talk

Pearson

correlation

Sig.

494(**)

.000

.342(**)

.000

.336(**)

.000

.367(**)

.000

Mastery self-talk

Pearson

correlation

Sig.

.297(**)

.000

.142(**)

.001

.540(**)

.000

494(**)

.000

Self-reward

Pearson

correlation

Sig.

.381(**)

.000

.278(**)

.000

.220(**)

.000

.239(**)

.000

Negative-based

incentive

Pearson

correlation

Sig.

.286(**)

.000

.219(**)

.000

.307(**)

.000

.224(**)

.000

Task-value

enhancement

Pearson

correlation

Sig.

.220(**)

.000

.076

.074

.540(**)

.000

.407(**)

.000

Volitional control

Pearson

correlation

Sig.

.134(**)

.002

.073

.086

.315(**)

.000

.304(**)

.000

Self-efficacy

enhancement

Pearson

correlation

Sig.

.222(**)

.000

.090(*)

.035

.427(**)

.000

.427(**)

.000

Total strategy use

Pearson

correlation

Sig.

.419(**)

.000

.229(**)

.000

.557(**)

.000

.522(**)

.000

Note: *Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed) **Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)

on extrinsic forms of motivation than to those based on intrinsic forms of motivation.

Performance-avoidance goal orientation was significantly and positively related to performance self-talk (a = .342, p = .000), self-reward (a = .278, p = .000), negative-based incentive (a = .219, p = .000), mastery self-talk (a = .142, p = .001), and self-efficacy enhancement (a = .09, p = .035). However, there was no significant relation between performance-avoidance goal orientation and interest enhancement, task-value enhancement, and volitional control. Similarly, performance-avoidance goal orientation was most strongly related to performance self-talk (a = .342, p = .000), and strongly to self-reward (a = .278, p = .000) and negative-based incentive (a = .219, p = .000). Therefore, students who oriented towards the avoidance of demonstrating incompetence and negative judgments relative to others also tended to use more extrinsic-related motivational-regulation strategies. However, all the relations between performance-avoidance goal orientation and motivational-regulation strategies were not as strong as those found between performance-approach goal orientation and motivational-regulation strategies.

Mastery goal orientation was strongly related to each of the eight motivational regulation strategies. Hence, students who were more oriented toward wanting to learn and understand the material were more likely to report using strategies to maintain or increase their effort and persistence for the task in their English learning. Furthermore, mastery goal orientation was most strongly related to mastery self-talk (a = .540, p = .00) and task-value enhancement (a = .540, p = .000), and also strongly to self-efficacy enhancement (a = .427, p = .000), and interest enhancement (a = .401, p = .000). These results suggested that students who were more orientated toward mastery goal were more likely to use motivational- regulation strategies related to intrinsic motivations.

Results presented in Table 5.1 also indicated that self-efficacy was significantly and positively related to each of the eight motivational regulation strategies. Hence, the students who had more strong sense of self-efficacy in English learning were more likely to report using strategies to increase their effort and persistence for English learning. The results also showed that self-efficacy was more strongly related to the motivational-regulation strategies of mastery self-talk (a = .494, p = .000), interest enhancement (a = .451, p = .000), self-efficacy enhancement (a = .427, p = .000), and task-value enhancement (a = .407, p = .000), suggesting that students who had more strong sense of self-efficacy for English learning were more likely to use more motivational-regulation strategies related to intrinsic motivations.

To further explore these relations, a series of multiple regressions was conducted in which the motivational variables were used to predict each of the eight motivational-regulation strategies. Overall, the multiple regression analyses indicated that students’ English-learning goal orientations and English self-efficacy accounted for a significant portion of the variance in all the eight motivational regulation strategies examined in the present study (See Table 5.2). The amount of variance explained ranged from a low of approximately 12.4 % (volitional control) to a high of approximately 33.7 % (mastery self-talk). The results from multiple regressions are presented for each of the motivational regulation strategies separately.

 
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