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Self-efficacy Enhancement

Of the variance in self-efficacy enhancement 22.5 % was accounted for by the motivational beliefs of English-learning goal orientations and English self-efficacy. As shown in Table 5.2, self-efficacy was a significant predictor for using the motivational regulation strategy of self-efficacy enhancement. Hence, students who had high self-efficacy for English learning tended to use the strategy of self-efficacy enhancement more frequently. In addition, mastery goal orientation also explained a significant portion of variance in using the strategy of self-efficacy enhancement, suggesting students with a greater mastery goal orientation also expressed a strong tendency to use self-efficacy enhancement in order to maintain their effort and persistence at English-learning tasks. Unexpectedly, performance- avoidance goal orientation was also a significant predictor of self-efficacy enhancement, while performance-approach goal orientation was not.

Discussion

The results about the relations between motivational beliefs and motivational-regulation strategies show that, as a group, students’ mastery goal orientation, performance-approach goal orientation, performance- avoidance goal orientation, and self-efficacy help to explain the use of motivational-regulation strategies. Although as a group these motivational beliefs accounted for a significant amount of the variance in the eight motivational-regulation strategies, self-efficacy and different academic goals varied in their ability to explain students’ motivational regulation.

Mastery goal orientation was most consistently related to students’ use of motivational regulation strategies in that it was correlated significantly to each of the eight motivational-regulation strategies. More importantly, mastery goal orientation could significantly predict students’ use of all the eight motivational regulation strategies, that is, students who were more focused on mastery goals were more likely to use all the eight motivational- regulation strategies. To sustain or increase their motivation and continue working on English learning tasks, students who reported a greater focus on mastery goals worked to:

  • • increase their enjoyment or situational interest in English learning tasks;
  • • highlight both the mastery and performance oriented reasons they had for wanting to complete the task;
  • • provide themselves with extrinsic rewards for continuing to work;
  • • think about the negative consequences of doing poorly in English learning to convince themselves to keep working on the task;
  • • remind themselves the value of the learning task and importance of English for their future to make themselves continue working on the task;
  • • reduce or avoid distractions in the environment or the negative emotion; and
  • • enhance their efficacy on English learning to keep working on the task.

As a result, students who more strongly adopt a mastery goal orientation may be more likely to overcome motivational problems and persist in English-learning tasks than students who do not adopt mastery goals. Put differently, students with a strong mastery goal orientation may be less likely to allow motivational problems to prevent them from completing the English-learning tasks they are required to complete. In general, this finding is consistent with those of prior research examining the relations between students’ mastery goal orientation and indicators of students’ engagement in academic learning. For instance, mastery goal orientation has been tied to greater effort and persistence (Elliot, McGregor, & Gable, 1999), employment of deep learning strategies (Elliot et al., 1999; Kaplan & Midgley, 1997), and greater use of motivational-regulation strategies (Wolters & Rosenthal, 2000).

With regard to students’ orientation toward performance-approach goals, the findings indicated that it was significantly and positively correlated to each of the eight motivational-regulation strategies. Further multiple regression analyses indicated that performance-approach goal orientation could predict three of the eight motivational-regulation strategies, that is, performance self-talk, self-reward, and negative-based incentive. Hence, students who expressed a greater focus on getting good grades or doing better than others would more frequently try to maintain or increase their effort and persistence at English-learning tasks by highlighting the desire to reach specific performance goals, providing themselves with extrinsic rewards, and thinking about the consequences of doing poorly in English learning. In other words, students who reported a strong focus on performance-approach goal orientation tended to use more motivational- regulation strategies related to extrinsic motivations. Therefore, students who are oriented toward performance-approach goals may be more likely to overcome motivational problems and continue working on English- learning tasks by using extrinsic-related motivational-regulation strategies. This finding provides more evidence that performance-approach goal orientation is positively associated with self-regulatory behavior. The result is consistent with some earlier findings, for instance, some evidence suggests that performance-approach goals are positively associated with persistence and achievement outcomes, especially for college students (Elliot et al., 1999; Harackiewicz, Barron, Pintrich, Elliot, & Thrash, 2002).

Findings also indicated a relation between students’ performance- avoidance goals and their tendency to use motivational-regulation strategies. Performance-avoidance goal orientation was significantly and positively correlated to five of the eight motivational-regulation strategies. Furthermore, performance-avoidance goal orientation was an individual predictor for six of the eight motivational regulation strategies. Hence, students who expressed a greater orientation toward performance-avoidance goals reported that they would more frequently try to maintain or increase their effort and persistence at English learning tasks by:

  • • highlighting the mastery and performance related reasons to complete the tasks, providing themselves with extrinsic rewards;
  • • thinking about the consequences of doing poorly in English learning, reducing or avoiding distractions in the environment or the bad mood; or
  • • enhancing their efficacy on English learning.

These results contradict prior findings that a strong performance- avoidance goal orientation has been associated with lower levels of selfregulatory behavior or other maladaptive academic outcomes (Elliot, 1999; Elliot & Harackiewicz, 1996; Middleton & Midgley, 1997; Urdan, Ryan, Anderman, & Gheen, 2002). The results of the present study suggest that students who express a greater focus on performance-avoidance goals may easily encounter motivational problems but at the same time they try to deal with these problems using certain motivational-regulation strategies. Wolters (2004) also indicate that students who focus on performance-avoidance goals may lack the motivational willingness, but not necessarily the cognitive skills, needed to be academically successful.

Self-efficacy was significantly and positively correlated to each of the eight motivational-regulation strategies. Furthermore, multiple regression analyses indicated that self-efficacy was a significant individual predictor for four of the eight motivational-regulation strategies: interest enhancement, mastery self-talk, self-efficacy enhancement, and volitional control. Consequently, students who were more confident in their ability to do well in English learning were more likely to maintain or increase their effort and persistence at English learning tasks by: increasing their interest on the task or situational enjoyment of the task; highlighting the mastery related reasons to complete the task; enhancing the efficacy for English learning; or reducing or avoiding the distractions in the environment or bad mood. This finding is consistent with those of prior research in which self-efficacy was found to be positively related to indicators of students’ effort and persistence for academic tasks (Bandura, 1997; Schunk, 1990, 1991).

 
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