Critical Concepts in Foreign Language Teaching. Self-Efficacy, Teacher Burnout and Self-Regulation

The Psycholinguistics Perspective

Bachelorarbeit, 2017

48 Seiten


Table of Contents


CHAPTER I: Effective Teaching & Self-Efficacy
1.1. Characteristics of EFL teachers
1.2 Effective language teacher
1.3 Self-Efficacy
1.3.1 Concept of self-efficacy
1.3.2 Role of self-efficacy
1.3.4. Structure of self-efficacy
1.3.5 Teacher’s self-efficacy
1.3.6 Empirical Findings on teacher’s self-efficacy

CHAPTER II: Teacher Burnout
2.1. Emotional Exhaustion
2.2 Cynicism/Depersonalization
2.3. Inefficacy/Reduced Personal Accomplishment
2.4. The Psychological Features of Burnout in Teaching Profession
2.5 Teacher Burnout and Its Relationship to Teacher Self-Efficacy

CHAPTER III: Self-Regulation
3.1 Self-regulation Theory
3.2 Phases of Self-regulation
3.2.1 Self-regulative Strategies
3.2.2 Self-regulated Learning
3.3. Self-regulated Teachers
3.4 Self-regulation in EFL Context

CHAPTER IV: Attitude & Motivation
4.1 Attitude and Language Learning
4.2. Motivation and Language Learning
4.2.1 Types of Motivation



Language teaching has been subjected to tremendous changes. The history of foreign language (FL) teaching can be traced back to different teaching methodologies. As learning is a lifelong process and it often takes place in a social context and it is also a highly individualized process, theories on language learning and teaching have changed and developed over many centuries and years and evolved from the fields of psychology, cognitive psychology, and linguistics which focusing on these fields (Jeremey, 1997).

Whether one agrees with all previous language learning and teaching theories as a (FL) methodology or not, the important implication in a course of English as (FL) is that students learn and acquire language without even being aware of the existence of some more crucial elements rather than learning theories. As studying different language and teaching theories and methodologies in line with linguistic knowledge are necessary to become a language teacher, other factors such as teachers’ qualifications has a great direct and indirect impact on students’ learning process.

In other words, as teachers may apply the different theories of learning and teaching methodologies, they need to keep awareness that language teachers have key roles in all teaching methods and generally in teaching and learning process. Teaching is a complex process and is cognitively and emotionally demanding. A qualified language teacher attempts to enrich their linguistic knowledge, cognitive, affective and emotional dispositions to take better actions in response to the demands of their external world like class, students and teaching process (Gibson & Dembo, 1984).

According to Gavora (2011), a significant question may be introduced in any classroom settings: why some of teachers could stand too much tension and make good in their job but some others could not tolerate expectations imposed on them. Teacher self-efficacy may be the first reason as a belief in one’s ability and it impacts on one’s feeling and related to desperateness, stress, and depression. Teacher burnout may be another reason caused by a few negative variables, such as low levels of self-efficacy.

In their book, Woolfolk Hoy and Burke-Spero (2005) define efficacy as essentially each person’s future-oriented adjudication about their competency (not their actual level of competency). Since each person frequently overestimates or underestimates his/her real competencies and since their estimations may impact on the courses of action they select to keep on and their attempts in those activities, it seems a significant feature. For instance, Bouffard- Bouchard, Parent and Larivee (1991) found that children owing more efficacy beliefs solved math problems better than those who had less efficacy beliefs despite the fact that both groups had identical levels of skill development in mathematics. Bandura (1982) acclaimed that the difference between learners with an upper degree of self-efficacy and learners with lower self-efficacy is that they would like to try their best, continue to indefinite situations and challenging assignments, thoughtfully select their course of accomplishments, and keep more accurate and elastic attributions.

CHAPTER I: Effective Teaching & Self-Efficacy

In learning process, a teacher is a crucial element. The student’s performance improves when the class led by a trained teacher. It is a saying that there is a direct relationship between teacher’s qualification and student’s performance. Findings of many research studies have revealed that effective teaching occurs when students achieve more than a required score to pass a standardized achievement test (Good, 1979).

Teaching effectiveness means to meet course objectives and create and sustain situations in order to conduct to learning. (Gadzella, 1977) and it is more than just a unitary concept, it is a multifaceted notion consisting many dimensions and attributes. Kyriakides, Campbell, and Christofidou (2002) in terms of effective teaching summarized that effective teachers have a good management on providing adequate quantity of instruction, organizing and managing the classroom environment, using time effectively, providing good classroom atmosphere, and having subject knowledge.

Along with studies and researches in this field, Neil (1991) added some factors that influence effective teaching including: (a) teaching preparation and procedures; (b) classroom management; (c) knowledge of subject or academic preparation, (d) communication, and (e) personal characteristics.

1.1. Characteristics of EFL teachers

What makes a language teacher distinctive from teachers of other fields has been a subject of prime importance to many Iranian and foreign researchers concerned with education. Although researchers have not reached to a compromise on qualities of language teachers, they agreed on their practicality in language teaching and learning process and their great influence on language teaching and language learning (Nunan, 1999).

Some researchers believe that what makes a language teacher unique from other teachers is the subject matter. Having noticeable content and language knowledge is one of the key factors of a language teacher but the other crucial possession that makes a language teacher outstanding and successful is how to exhibit their language knowledge. In other words the capability of transferring language material to students. Successful teachers benefit greatly from their instructional strategies and teaching techniques to reflect their language and content knowledge (Neil, 1991).

1.2 Effective language teacher

There has been always an argument over the characteristics of an effective language teacher. According to Borg (2006) subject matter is not the only factor that makes difference among teachers. From this point of view, an effective teacher possesses a wide range of skills and capabilities to turn the learning environment into a comfortable and relaxing place for students in order to make them sure that they deserve to succeed both academically and personally.

In an attempt to understand what it means to be a foreign language teacher and in what sense they are different from other teachers, Pettis (1997) prepares a list consisting characteristics of a foreign language teacher. He categorized this purpose into three main types: First, being knowledgeable and skillful are two main features of an effective teacher in particular language teachers. Second, an effective language teacher needs to be observant to their students needs and must improve his professional needs and interests over time. Third, an effective language teacher must willingly devote his time and energy to his professional development.

This is well supported by Vadillio (1999) when he specified that language teachers not only possess profound competence in the target language but also they have a set of personal qualities like sensitivity, warmth and tolerance. Among the many features that embedded in characteristics of language teachers, Kourieos (2014) have found some significant characteristics of effective English teachers in his research namely “linguistic and communicative competence; communication and presentation skills; ability to choose appropriate teaching strategies; ability to deal with unpredictable situations and to maintain discipline; ability to plan the lesson; ability to create friendly atmosphere in the classroom; ability to respond to learners’ needs”.

Similarly, Pettis (1997) reported that two components of effective teachers are personal characteristics and teaching skills; she believed that good teachers develop rapport about their students by caring about them, staying calm and patient, and treating towards the students with respect. They are well-organized and well-planned, select the best framework to present the lessons and create interesting tasks. They have friendly characters to get the students’ commitment to participate in learning process.

Along with the aforementioned researches on effective language teachers’ traits, (Ahmadvand, 2004) claimed that effective English teachers have some qualifications that affect teaching effectiveness and lead to an effective teaching environment: 1. Teachers need to have general knowledge and content knowledge (proficiency) 2. Motivation, perseverance, and faithfulness named as characteristics of a successful teacher. 3. Experience is a vital factor for an English teacher. Although linguistic and content knowledge is essential, it is the magic of experience that lets the teacher know about their students needs and have a moderate expectation from the students.

Some guidelines for effective language teachers, according to Babai Shishavan & Sadeghi (2009) are high knowledge of content, preparation of lesson plans, regular assessment, assigning appropriate homework and integrating pair and group activities. Such ideas pave the way of considering effective teachers as ones who are considerate and tactful and their creativity in teaching and learning process made them distinctive (Ahmadvand, 2004). Taghilou (2007) equally argued that effective teaching is a complicated and practical issue which mainly depends on the teacher’s actions and reactions experiencing teaching procedure in the class.

Research in Iranian EFL context revealed that both EFL teachers and learners believed that the significant factor to distinguish an English language teacher was their familiarity with English language and its culture. Moreover, methodology and the way of presenting the material in another language more than learners’ mother tongue have been considered as another distinctive feature (Babai Shishavan & Sadeghi, 2009).

Significantly, learners considered some qualities more important for effective English teachers. They mainly focus on teachers’ personality and the way they behave towards their students. EFL learners show so much interest in knowing about their teacher’s personal experiences in learning English that may psychologically influence the learners’ effective learning and future plans (Babai Shishavan & Sadeghi, 2009). Moreover, features like being patient, flexible, optimist, creative, smart, and caring about their students’ needs are the ones that both teachers and students considered as positive qualities of an effective English teacher (Babai Shishavan & Sadeghi, 2009).

Learning a language serves a purpose and motivation that is the art of the teacher to encourage the learners learn the language and use it infallibly. Teaching is such a complicated job inspired by teacher’s effectiveness that influences students’ success (Rice, 2003).

1.3 Self-Efficacy

1.3.1 Concept of self-efficacy

Bandura (1977) was the pioneer in studying the concept of self-efficacy. In his social cognitive theory argues that people’s perceptions of their efficacy influences their decisions and choices in their lives, aspirations, resilience to adversity, reactions to stress, and their level of effort and perseverance. Self-efficacy refers to individuals’ beliefs about their abilities to organize and execute actions essential to bring about desired outcome (Bandura, 1977).

Self-efficacy beliefs are not merely outcome expectations about what may happen next as a consequence of behavior but tends to prevent individuals from taking hasty action because people who value outcomes do not take risk when they believe they are not capable enough to succeed. In addition, the term self-efficacy does not mainly focus on perception of one’s knowledge and skills but rather what they feel they can achieve with their knowledge and skills in any specific circumstances (Denham & Michael, 1981).

1.3.2 Role of self-efficacy

Virtually individuals have a view of their goals they desire to reach and things they would prefer to change. Although many people find it a bit hard to put all these plans into actions, individual’s self-efficacy is the key how to approach their goals, tasks, and challenges (Bandura, 1977).

In the light of research on self-efficacy, Woolfolk Hoy & Burke-Spero (2005) found efficacy as individuals’ future-oriented judgment about their competence not their present level of competence. That means that the matter of efficacy considers whether people think optimistically or pessimistically, the goals they set for themselves, and their level of commitment to them, how much effort they put to get it, and how much stress they face and tolerate to accomplish the task (Bandura, 2000; Pajares, 1997). This is a distinctive trait because people usually overestimate or underestimate their level of capabilities.

1.3.3 Differences in self-efficacy

Bandura states that people improve their skills as much as they can in particular fields of interest to them. As a result, they have different levels of self-efficacy in different areas. Improving skills necessary to succeed in certain activities and having high self-efficacy to handle challenging and demanding conditions are required for high performance. People’s level of self-efficacy affects their performances. Low self-efficacy leads to questions about the self in terms of capabilities and lack of motivation, both of which prevent people from concentrating on the activity they are involved in.

When people cannot succeed in an activity, they question their capabilities and feel depressed. However, people with high self-efficacy feel the strength to cope with difficulties. The difficulty of the activity may motivate them even more and they strive for success.

The fact that someone has high self-efficacy and has done their best with enthusiasm does not mean that they will be successful. They may fail, but people with high self-efficacy do not feel the need to hide behind external factors like the physical conditions in a setting or the fact that they have shortcomings as people with low self-efficacy do. Instead, they think they should work harder for success and strive to gain control over “potential stressors or threats” (Bandura, 1997, p. 39). These qualities of people with high self-efficacy separate them from people with low self-efficacy, helping them perform well.

Dweck (2000) uses the terms “helpless” and “mastery-oriented” (p. 5) while explaining how different students respond to failure. People in the helpless group are unwilling to continue a task when it starts to be challenging for them. They think that they are incapable of dealing with the problem they are facing and believe that failure reflects “their whole intelligence and perhaps their self-worth” (p. 10). On the other hand, people in the mastery-oriented group concentrate on accomplishing the task without falling into doubts about their capabilities. They try to solve the problems by mastering strategies different than the ones they have used before, and enjoy this process.

The distinguishing characteristics of the people in the helpless group make them fall into the group of people having low self-efficacy while mastery-oriented people can be seen as people having high self-efficacy. In one study conducted by Diener and Dweck, students in the helpless group forgot how many correct answers they had given in a previous test after trying to answer hard questions. They actually decreased the number of correct answers from 8 to 5 and increased the number of wrong answers they had given from 4 to 6 “maybe because the failures were so meaningful to them” (Dweck, 2000, p. 8). People in the helpless group think they are a failure, not their performance. Students in the mastery-oriented group, however, were able to give the actual number of correct and wrong answers almost exactly. They remembered the number of correct answers probably because they did not torment themselves about the failure. They accepted where they had failed and aimed to do better the next time.

1.3.4. Structure of self-efficacy

Self-efficacy beliefs have three dimensions: level, generality, and strength (Bandura, 1997). The level of difficulty of tasks is important in determining the level of self-efficacy people have in particular fields. “Situational conditions” (p. 42) affect people’s beliefs in their capacity to accomplish tasks. For example, people ask themselves whether they have the skill and can make the effort to succeed in a task.

Depending on how challenging the particular situation is people’s level of self-efficacy changes. One may have high efficacy for driving an automatic car, but the same person may have low self-efficacy for driving a stick shift car due to the increase in the level of difficulty of the task.

The extent to which people can generalize their capabilities depends on “the degree of similarity of activities, the modalities in which capabilities are expressed (behavioral, cognitive, affective), qualitative features of situations, and the characteristics of the persons toward whom the behavior is directed” (p. 43). These factors, which can influence people’s generalizing their capabilities in doing a task, can be observed in the example of students’ self-efficacy for completing a course on aerolatino after taking aerobics and Latin dances courses. First of all, the degree of similarity of the activities is high because aerolatino is the combination of aerobics and Latin dances. Second, making the moves, keeping the steps that come one after another in mind, and enjoying the activity are the behavioral, cognitive, and affective dimensions of the capability, respectively. Third, a threatening instructor may create a depressing atmosphere. Fourth, doing aerolatino with friendly classmates can help. If the conditions for the aerolatino class were similar to those for the aerobics and Latin dances classes, students’ self-efficacy for those two classes might then be generalized to the aerolatino class.

The strength of self-efficacy beliefs refers to how much and how long people can endure the difficulties and continue working on a task even after experiencing failure. One needs to have a certain degree of self-efficacy to try to make a cake for the first time in their life, but the strength of their self-efficacy especially carries importance when they face difficulties or failure. If people persist in making cakes and keep trying even after their family or friends have teased them about an initial failure, it can be claimed that they have strong self-efficacy for accomplishing the task. Bandura states that if people have a strong “sense of personal efficacy” (p. 43) for a task, they are likely to succeed in it.

1.3.5 Teacher’s self-efficacy

The history of teacher efficacy construct traces back to 1976 and 1977 that teachers’ sense of self-efficacy was considered positively in relation to students’ achievement (Denham & Michael, 1981). Similarly, other researches pointed out that teacher's self-efficacy may also contribute to fostering students’ involvement in class activities (Ross, 1998). This indicates that a teacher’s sense of efficacy may influence their emotive state, goal setting and their persistence and also teachers’ self-efficacy is related to effective teaching behaviors (Ashton & Webb, 1986).

Tschannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy (2001) define teacher efficacy as “the teacher’s belief in his or her capability to organize and execute courses of action required to successfully accomplish a specific teaching task in a particular context” (p.22). Tschannen-Moran et al. (2001) mentioned that students’ personal differentiations such as motivation, achievement, and efficacy are linked to it.

With respect to teachers’ effort, Bandura (1993) proposed four specific sources of efficacy beliefs: mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, and verbal persuasion. Mastery experiences: When a teacher simplifies material for better understanding of their students and this action leads to learning, it means the teacher engages a behavior which brings about a desired outcome. Other teachers may develop a sense of efficacy when they watch how an experienced teacher successfully facilitates learning process. This would be an example of a vicarious or observed experience leading to higher efficacy.

Another source of efficacy belief is verbal persuasion in which the experienced teacher share their experiences and findings with others and provide them with some specific suggestions. Finally, arousal that comes from genetics and the release of hormones that makes an individual prepare for an action. Arousal can be interpreted as both pleasant and unpleasant. Teachers may be affected by releasing these hormones while teaching. It can help teachers feel excited and perform well or can be paralyzing and remain bad effects.

In 1984, Ashton introduced two dimensions of self-efficacy in teaching: general and personal dimensions. General dimension refers to the teacher’s perception in that they believe their students can learn presented material; and personal dimension, the extent to which teachers believe that their students can mostly learn under their instruction. Ashton argued about the central role of teachers in class. She strongly believed that teacher’s confidence in teaching and his perception about his ability to bring about outcomes in his classes are the strong points of a teacher who effectively serve his students. Since then, teaching efficacy and its components have been taken into consideration of many studies in teacher effectiveness.

In the area of self-efficacy and in line with other research in this field, Eslami and Fathi (2008) conducted a study on teachers’ sense of efficacy in Iranian EFL context and concluded that EFL teachers perceive their efficacy as a factor to motivate and engage their students in learning English. They also found a positive relationship between EFL teachers’ proficiency level and their sense of self-efficacy.

1.3.6 Empirical Findings on teacher’s self-efficacy

Former researches have similarly drew attention to the role of teacher’s feeling of efficacy in forming students’ viewpoints toward school and subject matter, i.e., whatever the teaching efficacy of a teacher is higher, the students’ interest in school and learning materials is increased. Away from forming students’ viewpoints, teacher efficacy has been also related with the amount of individual commitment (Tschannen-Moran et al., 2001) and interest in teaching (Allinder, 1994) showed by the teacher.

In the realm of language teaching and along with the aforementioned researches on self-efficacy, undoubtedly language proficiency seems to be a vital factor for language teachers. Since it is a primary means of a good foreign language teacher (Lange, l990) so it can be inferred that teachers’ proficiency level and their sense of self-efficacy are interrelated and higher proficiency level leads to more efficacious feeling and language proficiency is a factor related to EFL teachers feeling of self-efficacy (Eslami & Fathi, 2008).

Consistent with this view, teacher’s efficacy appears to be teachers’ beliefs about their resources and strategies that they adopt in order to bring about student behavioral and instructional outcomes (Tshannen-Moran & Woolfolk Hoy, 2001). In this regard, teachers with high self-efficacy beliefs perform better than teachers with low sense of efficacy in that they efficacy make judgments about their capacity to consider whether they can achieve a certain level of performance or not. Furthermore, they conduct their classes with didactic innovations and use appropriate teaching methods to lead students towards autonomy and reduce their custodial control (Guskey, 1988).


Ende der Leseprobe aus 48 Seiten


Critical Concepts in Foreign Language Teaching. Self-Efficacy, Teacher Burnout and Self-Regulation
The Psycholinguistics Perspective
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
679 KB
critical, concepts, foreign, language, teaching, self-efficacy, teacher, burnout, self-regulation, psycholinguistics, perspective
Arbeit zitieren
Ghazaleh Payvar (Autor:in), 2017, Critical Concepts in Foreign Language Teaching. Self-Efficacy, Teacher Burnout and Self-Regulation, München, GRIN Verlag,


  • Noch keine Kommentare.
Im eBook lesen
Titel: Critical Concepts in Foreign Language Teaching. Self-Efficacy, Teacher Burnout and Self-Regulation

Ihre Arbeit hochladen

Ihre Hausarbeit / Abschlussarbeit:

- Publikation als eBook und Buch
- Hohes Honorar auf die Verkäufe
- Für Sie komplett kostenlos – mit ISBN
- Es dauert nur 5 Minuten
- Jede Arbeit findet Leser

Kostenlos Autor werden