Language Use Learning Strategies Education Essay

Published:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Abstract

The aim of this article was to explore the relationship between EFL teachers' language use and learning strategies and their teaching efficacy. To begin data collection, in the first phase -the quantitative phase- the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) and Ohio State Teacher Efficacy Scale (OSTES) questionnaires were administered to a sample of 43 Iranian EFL teachers with the purpose of examining the best predictors of teaching efficacy in terms of six factors of the SILL, namely, memory strategies, cognitive strategies, compensation strategies, meta-cognitive strategies, affective strategies, and social strategies. Results from Pearson product-moment correlation showed significant correlations between all three factors of OSTES and teachers' meta-cognitive strategies. Moreover, results from the regression analysis revealed that meta-cognitive strategies were the best predictor of EFL teachers' sense of self-efficacy by explaining 42% of the variances in EFL teachers' efficacy scores. In the second phase of the research -the qualitative phase - 11 Iranian EFL teachers were interviewed. Every question of the interview was examined against the subcomponents of meta-cognitive strategies. The content analysis of the interviews revealed that there was interaction between the subcomponents of meta-cognitive strategies and the subscales of teachers' self-efficacy because there was at least one variable and at most four factors above average for every subcomponent of the independent and dependent variables. Therefore, the results demonstrated convergence between quantitative and qualitative phases. The study has a number of implications for teacher in EFL context that will be discussed.

Keywords: Language use and learning strategies, EFL teachers' self-efficacy, psychological context

INTRODUCTION

To begin the discussion regarding the issue under investigation, posing a number of questions is deemed to be warranted. How can we perceive the nature of human behavior? How does he manage and control the variables in the environment. Why some people are successful while some others are not? Bandura (2001) believes that the proper conception of human self reveals the true essence of human being and his behavior. Human exercises the control and management of the environment by the processes inherent in his self system. This system is a determining variable in human's perception of cause and effect processes. Self-efficacy plays a very key role in the proper development, performance and execution of human belief and judgment systems. The present study attempted to investigate the interaction between Iranian EFL teachers' language use/learning strategies and their sense of self-efficacy.

THEORETICAL BACKGROUND

The concept of self-efficacy

Self-efficacy is introduced by Albert Bandura in70s. His ideas were cited in more than 1000 publications (Bandura, 1977). It reveals the significance of the construct for the other researchers and its favorable consequences for human development in general. This crucial role of self-efficacy has received extensive support from a growing body of findings from diverse fields. Three areas have attracted researchers' attention. In the first, researchers have reported that efficacy beliefs influence people's selection of their favorable careers. In the second area, the role of the efficacy beliefs of teachers in their instructional practices and the academic progress of their students has been explored (Tschannen-Moran, Woolfolk-Hoy, & Hoy, 1998). Thirdly, researchers investigated the correlation between students' self-efficacy beliefs, their motivation constructs, students' academic performances, and achievement (Pajares, 1996, 1997).

The studies by Bandura (1991, 1993, 1977, 1998, 1999, 1997) tried to put self-efficacy in the context of collective agency functioning in harmony with the socio-psychological factors. They influence and monitor human accomplishment and success. In the analysis of Bandura's theory, Pajares (2003) concludes that he approaches the construct from two perspectives: belief and judgment. Human's belief in his ability to manipulate the necessary actions to create specific results, activate and mobilize his mental resources and actions is referred to as self-efficacy.

In line with Zimmerman (1990), Bandura (1997) views self-efficacy as judgment and introduces level, generality, and strength as the properties of this judgment. Within this framework of research, self-efficacy is defined as assessment of person's competencies to implement plans to arrive at selected goals and try to discover the level, generality, and strength of judgment in contexts. The difficulty of a specific task is known as level, the belief transfer is referred to as generality, and strength is conceptualized as individual's confidence in fulfilling the requirements of a task. Figure 1 symbolizes Bandura's conception of human self-efficacy.

A. Competencies

A. Capabilities and qualifications

B. Property determination

Beliefs

B. Mobilization of resources

Self-efficacy

Judgments

C. Management of environment

C. Execution power

1. Level 2. Generality 3. Strength

Figure 1 represents Bandura's conception of human self-efficacy

Under the influence of Bandura, other researchers also have elaborated the construct of self-efficacy and broadened our conception more comprehensively. Taking expectancies as the framework of self-efficacy and being inspired by Bandura (1997), Schwarzer (2012) holds that expectancies deal with human's exertion of control over his actions. A person who thinks that he has the power to make an event happen, can manage a more active and innovative course in his life. This mental faculty reflects the capacity to manipulate processes in the environment. It echoes the person's confidence in managing complex challenges by means of flexible efforts. Moreover, it reflects one's self-confidence, experience, and qualifications to manage the complex issues in his surroundings as illustrated in figure 2.

Conducting active life course

Control challenging environmental demands

Cause an event

Expectancies

Taking adaptive action

Self-confidence in dealing with life stressors

Figure 2 expressing Schwarzer's view of self-efficacy as expectancies

Investigating the construct from a reactive point of view, Chan (2008) states that self-efficacy belief is a response to the following question central to motivational behavior:" Can I do this task? It reflects individuals' judgments of how capable they are in performing specific activities, rather than their judgments about 'who they are as people or how they feel about themselves in general"(page 30). Therefore, self-efficacy beliefs are context-dependent, i.e. one may have high self-efficacy for solving mathematics problems, but low self-efficacy for carrying out chemistry experiments.

Also, self-efficacy deals with beliefs about reactions and expectations of future achievement and appears to be more than just a reflection of the amount of skill one possesses and is believed to contribute to academic and scientific performance over and above actual ability (Bandura, 1993). In other words, self-efficacy is needed for individuals to make the most use of their abilities. Studying the function of self-efficacy from Bandura's perspective as a stress managing resource, Colodro, Godoy-Izquierdo, and Godo, (2010) come to the conclusion that self-efficacy beliefs are powerful and innovative resources for coping with stress, directing it in favorable routes, and making creative adjustments in stressful conditions.

Personal adjustments

Self-efficacy= self-regulation

Judgment of performing capability

Context-dependency

Reactive view

Performance over and above ability

Stress coping resource

Figure 3 illustrating Graham and Colodro et al framework of efficacy beliefs

In the analysis of these researchers' ideas regarding different aspects of self-efficacy, we arrived at the following subscales: beliefs and judgments, capabilities and competencies, mobilization of resources, and management of environmental variables (indicated in figure 4). They will, in turn, be fully explained below.

Mobilization of resources

Self-efficacy

Capabilities and competencies

Management of environmental variables

Beliefs and judgments

Figure 4, showing the subscales of self-efficacy

Beliefs and judgments

Belief is defined in Encarta Dictionary as: "the acceptance of a true or real idea by the mind, which is often underpinned by an emotional or spiritual sense of certainty. Then person agrees with confidence that a statement, principle, or doctrine is true, good or will be effective. And judgments are the processes in which the person would come up with an ability to form sound opinions, make sensible decisions or reliable guesses, and represent the mental act of making or understanding a positive or negative proposition about something". As a result, the person will be able to form the potential capacities of organization, execution, coping qualifications, expectations, adjustments, performances. Since human has the innovative capacity to control his motivation, mood, and actions (Bandura, 1977, 1999). Different features of self-efficacy within the framework of beliefs and judgments are displayed in figure 5.

Sound opinions

Judgments

Beliefs

Emotional certainty

Making propositions

Spiritual sense

Accepting propositions

Sensible decisions

Effective ideas

Reliable guesses

Potential capacities of organization, execution, coping, expectations, adjustments, performances based on creativity and proactivity

Figure 5, representing the foundations of beliefs and judgments

Capabilities and competencies

These qualifications refer to the power, potential or practical ability necessary for doing something. This desire to do things successfully or well would be accompanied with a high level of competence and help human being in the cause and effect processes. Analyzing human natural faculty, Bandura (1999) maintains that the fundamental aspect of human capability is the causal power and the self system is situated at the very heart this power. So, according to this researcher personal variables are in charge of adjusting and controlling attention procedures, reflective processing of experiences, innovative activation of emotional procedures, and the cognitive efficiency through which the behavioral capabilities are substantiated in daily life. According to Bandera's socio-cognitive theory, people are independent, proactive, self-actualizing, and self-regulating. They possess the potential to have an effect on their own actions to create the favorable situations (Bandura, 2006). His socio-cognitive view is presented in figure 6.

Regulating, processing, representation

Self system

Potential or practical ability

Causal power of self

Reconstruction, motivation, activation,

Functioning, organizing, reflecting, efficacy

Figure 6 conceptualizing human capabilities and competencies

Mobilization of resources

Mobilization is the power to organize people or resources in order to be ready for action or to take action creatively and enthusiastically. More specifically it deals with the establishment of the interaction among thought processes, motivation, affect, and action through mechanisms of personal faculty and agency. Agency refers to intentional acts done by individuals (Bandura, 1997). Human agency has been perceived in three different ways: "as either self-directed agency, mechanically reactive agency or emergent interactive agency. The mechanisms for the application of agency are extracted from experiences. Human action, as a social-oriented reality, is the result of a dynamic interaction of personal and contextual influences" (page 45). Therefore, an integrative and comprehensive system is considered necessary to execute the proactive human functioning. Such a system requires joint capabilities of being proactive as well as reactive which are novel, innovative, integrative and original. Figure 7 represents this system.

Establishment of the interactions

Actions

Thought processes, motivation, affect, action

Mechanisms of human interactive agency resources

Generative creation of experiences, dynamic interplay of influences, and proactive functioning

Figure 7, illustrating human mobilization of resources system

Management of environmental variables

Management is the act of the skillful handling, organizing, controlling and use of human resources successfully (Encarta Dictionary). Human management of his environment is perceived as a conscious process within the framework of attention. Attention is the very essence of human mental faculty supplying the information for the assessment of events, planning of decisions, expansion and development of major directions of action. Awareness of our experiences is different from deliberate production of specific experiences ( Bandura, 1999).

Analyzing Bandura's social cognitive theory (1999), we come to the idea that according to this theory, people are perceived as deliberate agents in the society. They are not the passive perceivers of internal operations imposed by environmental variables. They are reflective designers of experiences. There are tools and systems applied by people to undertake the tasks and goals offering meaning and guidance to their routes of action in life. Such a creative and reflective procedure manipulates human's brain innovative work. Human brain's function is not based on passive exposure to external stimuli, rather its foundations are rooted in reflective, manipulative, and proactive processes in searching, directing, regulating and influencing their surroundings. By monitoring their motivation and behaviors, people generate experiences that supply the means for symbolic, social, and personal competencies/ skills (see figure 8).

Information base for

Planning, constructing, and reflecting

Conscious production of experiences

Successful conscious handling, control and use of resources functional mental conscious life

Agentic Operation

Purposive accessing and deliberative processing of information

Thoughtful agents in

Brain development and functioning in exploring, manipulating and influencing the environment

Figure 8, expressing management of environmental variables

Teacher self-efficacy

The foundations for research and inspiration in this area are originated from two sources: "locus of control" (Rotter, 1990, page 34) and "social cognitive theory" (Bandura, 1977, page 25). It is shown that teacher self-efficacy has had the powerful influence on the students' outcomes such as success, encouragement, and feeling of efficacy (Tschannen-Moran, Woolfolk, and Hoy,1998). In the analysis of teacher self-efficacy definitions we come to the idea that it is taken as belief, perception, and conception with multivariate aspects and variables (Bandura, 1977, 1997, Tschannen-Moran, Woolfolk, and Hoy, 1998, Rotter, 1990, Goddard, Hoy and Woolfolk Hoy, 2000).

The two major theories in human efficacy- locus of control and social cognitive theory- were investigated by researchers (KoçoÄŸlu 2009, Goddard, Hoy and Woolfolk Hoy 2000). Rotter (1990) maintains that internal locus of control deals with people's expectation of the outcome of their behavior which is related to their character and in turn can produce change and control others' behavior. Under the influence of Rotter's work (1966) as a framework of theory, the investigators came to the conclusion that teacher efficacy is the variable which makes the teachers assume responsibility to create favorable, innovative, and constructive behaviors, actions, and performance. Moreover, development in learners' motivation and performance were taken as the major basis of support and growth for teachers' feeling of efficacy. Because, they conclude that they are the agents who can activate students' achievement and motivation. As agents controlling the reinforcement of their behaviors, these teachers believe that they possess a high level of efficacy to handle the environmental stimuli (KoçoÄŸlu, 2009, Goddard, Hoy and Woolfolk Hoy, 2000).

Control the reinforcement of actions

Student motivation and performance

Conception of belief in capability

Figure 9, representing Rotter's model of teacher efficacy

Bandura's (1977) research established the foundation for the second framework for theoretical and practical research. Assuming a creative approach to belief construction, Bandura viewed teacher efficacy as a type of self efficacy in which people create beliefs about their capability to function at a special level of expertise, skill, and experience. These beliefs affect the amount of effort people devote, their tolerance of difficult situations, and their flexibility in handling challenging situations. Therefore, according to him self-efficacy is a future-oriented belief about the level of competence a person expects he will be able to display in given circumstances as represented in Figure 10.

Successfully accomplish a teaching task

Performance at a given level of competence

Capacity belief construction

Desired outcomes of student engagement

Judgment

Outcome of a cognitive process

Belief

Organize and execute courses of action

Stress experience in demanding cases

Effort+ persistence+ resilience

Figure 10, illustrating Bamdura's model of teacher efficacy

The Role of teacher efficacy

Teacher self-efficacy has played different roles in human education. They include mental alertness, future outcome, shared beliefs, resources and contexts, implemental view, learner achievement, and general scientific consequences. Regarding teachers' mental alertness, Tschannen and Woolfolk Hoy (2001) analyze the characteristics of highly self-efficacious teachers and come to the conclusion that they are eagerly interested in novel views, enthusiastic to test new methods, willing more to enhance students' accomplishments, and like to provide students new and different learning prospects, experiences, and environments.

Concerning the various, flexible, and comprehensive impacts of collective teachers' efficacy beliefs on their performance, Tschannen-Moran et al (1998) and Goddard et al (2000) discuss that the consequences include undertaking challenging objectives, strong administrational endeavor, and a care for superior and comprehensive performance. In the study of the interaction between situational requirements and the personal sources, KoçoÄŸlu (2009) comes to the conclusion teachers' efficacy beliefs influence their educational procedures, classroom performance and scientific feedback. Moreover, it would have decisive consequences on learners' accomplishments and desires to experience more. Furthermore, more efficacious teachers are more responsive to the students' needs, display more commitment to their profession, and like to work professionally with learners who suffer from educational and behavioral problems.

With a practical approach and analysis of 88 studies of antecedents and consequences of teacher efficacy, Ross (1994) concludes that highly efficacious teachers are willing to: "learn and use new approaches and strategies for teaching, use management techniques that enhance student autonomy and diminish student control, provide special assistance to low achieving students, build students' self perceptions of their academic skills, set attainable goals, and persist in the face of student failure" (page:43). Consequently, the students of efficacious teachers generally have outperformed students in other classes and investigations have indicated that this construct has the potential to predict achievement on different tests.

Purpose of the study

As mentioned earlier, a large number of studies had taken into account the interaction between language learning strategies and different psychological traits such as teacher/learner variables. To the authors' best knowledge, however, no study has been conducted to date to investigate the role of language learning strategies in relation to Iranian EFL teachers' self-efficacy. This research, therefore, was conducted to find out answers to the following questions:

Q1: Do language learning strategies play any role in Iranian EFL teachers' self-efficacy?

Q2: What are the predictors of language learning strategies in Iranian EFL teachers' self-efficacy?

RESULTS

Phase 1

Descriptive statistics

To study the nature and normality of the distribution, descriptive statistics was applied. Table 1 summarizes the descriptive results regarding the two instruments, i.e., the SILL and the OSTES. Table 1 presents the descriptive statistics related to the strategy inventory for language learning questionnaire (SILL). As can be seen, the total SILL enjoys a high reliability, i.e., .76, as does the total teacher self-efficacy score, i.e., .76.

Table1. Means and standard deviations of SILL subscales and OSTES

Strategy Inventory for Language Learning

N

# of items

Mean

SD

Alpha

memory strategies

43

9

30.04

5.71

.76

Cognitive strategies

43

14

51.54

7.18

.76

Compensation strategies

43

6

21.85

3.04

.76

Meta-cognitive strategies

43

9

35.95

5.39

.76

Affective strategies

43

6

18.85

4.26

.76

social strategies

43

6

21.33

7.12

.76

Total ILLS

43

50

1.79

23.37

.76

Total OSTES

43

24

1.61

16.37

.76

Table1 A description of means and standard deviations of SCC subscales and LLS

The results of correlation between students' scores on SILL subscales and their OSTES

To investigate the existence of significant correlation between teachers' learning strategies and their teaching self-efficacy, Pearson product-moment correlation was employed. The results indicated that there is a highly significant correlation between learners' language learning strategies and meta-cognitive strategies (r = 0.421, p < 0.01) (see Table 2).

Table2. Correlations between language learning strategies and EFL teacher self-efficacy

Language learning strategies

Teacher self-efficacy

Memory strategies

0.196

Cognitive strategies

0.221

Compensation strategies

0.365*

Meta-cognitive strategies

0.421**

Affective strategies

0.011

Social strategies

0.248

** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

Prediction of teacher self-efficacy by SILL factors

Table 3 presents the results for teachers' self-efficacy being regressed on the variables of interest in this study (SILL subscales). The results reveal which variables are important in predicting higher teacher self-efficacy on the part of teachers. Language learning strategies explained 14% of the total variance, (Adjusted R² = 0.14, p < .05). Therefore, high score on meta-cognitive strategies were the best predictors of high scores on teacher self-efficacy.

Table3. Regression analysis for language learning strategies and teacher self-efficacy

Predictors

R

R²

Adjusted R²

F

P

B

Teacher self-efficacy

Meta-cognitive strategies

0.421

0.168

0.145

7.462

0.10

1.223

Phase 2

Each question of the interview was examined against the four subscales of meta-cognitive strategies. The results for the first subscale of teacher self-efficacy, i.e. teachers' management skills are offered in table 1. The analysis of the answers for the first question of the interview, i.e., treating the most difficult student, reveals that 54.5% of the teachers applied reasoning. These teachers tried to find them out first among the students in the class, discover the causes of their misbehavior then, recognize their needs, and find the solution at the end. 81.8% centered on association, showing their competence in establishing social relationship through personal conversation, having closer and intimate association and interaction with the students, and tolerating their misbehavior for the sake of providing indirect guidelines and courses of actions by making a way into their world. In expression of their arranging capability, 27.2% of them could treat the problem students by gathering information to make sound decisions. Most of the teachers applied conversation and group work to collect the necessary data. 27.2% of these teachers used their own organization skill as a way to work with these learners by changing their place in the class and separating them from others, threatening them directly and indirectly, and group work as a natural way to touch on them.

And practice opportunities as another part of the system was used by 18.1% of the teachers through making them give lecture and to perform special tasks in the group. In planning phase of their treatment of these students, 18.1% of the teachers set specific goals bearing in mind to help and encourage students with in the framework of evaluation, compare them with the rest of students in the class, motivating other students to go up against them, observing them to take their needs into consideration, 27.2% had specific plans and ideas, and %63.6 of these teachers maintained that determining the purpose of the tasks helped them manage these learners and run the class smoothly. Here the teachers get the most benefits from the contextual variable such as motivating other students to force him or her follow the classroom rules and regulations indirectly. Regarding the final subscale of meta-cognitive strategies-evaluation- 72.7% of respondents believed that they manage these learners through the process of testing by providing positive and negative reinforcement and feedback. Also, 9% tried to detect errors and their sources and help them solve their problems.

In terms of the second question, i.e. classroom management, 18.1% of the teachers had their own special logic indicating that Iranian culture functions as a determining factor in classroom management. Also they resorted to the clarification of their expectation from the learners at the very beginning of the course. 36.3% applied association and establishing friendly social relationship stating that classroom management must be based on the mutual trust and reliance between the teacher and the students, and the teacher should make use of the learners own potentials, and involve them in management process. 9% tried to gather data regarding the social group composition in their classes and 9% applied practice opportunities concerning practical use of the topics covered in the class. In their organization as a part of arranging subscale, 81.8% of the teachers employed grouping of the student to run the classroom. Moreover, in planning-the third subscale- 36.3% had their own goals regarding students involvement in the practice process, student centered approach to run the class, changing the managers between and among the groups, and clarifying students duty from the very beginning of the course. 36.3% tried to devise some plans dealing with classroom procedures, method of evaluation, teaching methodology, employing a teacher-student centered approach, and 63.6% used task purpose identification as a tool to manage their class. In the final subscale, evaluating, 18.1% of these teachers applied evaluation and assessment as an instrument to manage their classroom. These teachers resorted to difficult tests to manage their classroom.

Concerning the third question- managing the problems faced-only 9% focused on task purpose identification. They believed that language learning will add up something to learners' identity. As observed, 45.4% were engaged in evaluation, investigating the contradictory ways language teaching is treated at high school, university entrance exam, private institutions, and universities in Iran. Another issue diagnosed by the teachers is the challenge, teachers face in the three Iranian contexts. Private institutes are more challenging than high schools and universities for these teachers. They need more knowledge and variety at work. Textbook is the third subject analyzed and investigated. It is taken as one of the most important problems for English education in Iranian state system (Ministry of education). Fourth question checked by the teachers is contradiction between the state English education and the comprehensive view of TEFL, i.e. the inclusion of four language skills and enjoyment resulted from language learning. Therefore, students do not get pleasure from language learning at high school and the teachers come across a lot of challenges. The other evaluated topic is the cause and effect interaction between learner and teacher motivation. Problems with learners motivation debases teachers efficacy a lot. One hundred % focused their attention on discovering inaccuracies and missteps and their sources. They spotted some problems with the policies, books, evaluation system, and the classroom size, lack of homogeneity among the students in the class, inadequate educational equipments, challenging system, and teacher-motivation.

Centering

Arranging

Question number

Reviewing / linking

Reasoning

Association

Data-gathering

Organization

Practice opportunity

1

0%

54.5%

81.8%

27.2%

27.2%

18.1%

2

0%

18.1%

36.3%

9%

81.8%

9%

3

0%

0%

0%

0%

9%

0%

Planning

Evaluating

Question number

Goal setting

Planning

Task purpose identification

Errors and their sources

Evaluation

1

18.1%

27.2%

63.6%

9%

%72.7

2

36.3%

36.3%

63.6%

0%

%18.1

3

0%

9%

9%

100%

%45.4

Table 4, representing the results for Iranian teachers' management skills

The second subscale- teachers' effectiveness and efficiency in students' engagement- consists of the following three subjects: motivating the learners, helping them value learning, and bolstering their creativity. These variables are analyzed within the framework of meta-cognitive strategies factors. Concerning the process of motivating the learners, 81.8% of the teachers focused on reasoning. Here the meeting point was lack of information. The students did not know why they learn or have to learn the foreign language. They tried to familiarize them of what they are learning, why they are learning, and at what level. The focal point for 27.2% was friendly relationship discussing the relevance of everything to their real life, expressing enthusiasm, introducing international affairs through communication in the target language, and holding discussion on the need to learn another language and 9% spotlighted reviewing their strategies. In connection with arranging, 45.4% emphasized gathering data on lack of motivation, the need to learn language, their ambitions, goals, and aspirations, 18/1% drew their attention to organization of their skills and strategies, spotlighting group work and introducing learning strategies. Nine percent centered on practice opportunities, focusing on alternative tasks and works to struggle disappointment.

Pertaining to planning-the third sub-component- 54.5% of these teachers formulated their own goals. The goals contained supporting and approving the learner to speak in English, helping him to conceive and imagine that he can learn, awareness raising, finding the ways to combat hopelessness, and asking questions to make them sensitive and attentive to the future provisions. Fifty four/five percent designed their plans. These plans consisted of variety in teaching methodology, testing, and classroom interactions. The plans also dealt with need raising and awareness, grouping, changing the group members, using film and music, and the expression of common interests with students. Forty five/4 percent of these teachers performed task purpose identification. Different issues such as discovering their likes and dislikes, finding focal issues for them and putting more emphasis on those subjects were taken into consideration. Another group preferred selection of relevant texts to students fields of interest. A different technique was starting from simple topics so that the case could be facilitated and the pressure be taken off for the learners, and as a result making them to start the progress in learning. Moreover, 45.4% emphasized evaluation. The central issue in this regard was the approval of the students least effort and progress by the teachers. The students were rated by their feedback, quantity and quality of the activity and the practices, extra-curricular work, bringing and using their own dictionaries in the class, changing the scoring system for every session, encouraging them to participate in the scientific competitions out of the school, assigning positive and negative marks for every behavior in the class and comparing them.

In connection with the second issue, valuing learning, 45.4% resorted to reasoning, by establishing a world view through introduction of the status and importance of knowledge. Twenty seven/2 percent appreciated association. They emphasized the analysis of social issues stating that knowledge per se is not constructive, but having a comprehensive view of self, life, and society is worthy, since it helps them enjoy a better life by appreciating it better. And 9% enjoyed reviewing their skills and capabilities to fulfill the requirements of centering, the first sub-component of valuing learning. With regard to arranging, the second sub-component, 18.1% sought practice opportunities, and data collection and organization were ignored. They gave emphasis to scientific problems and their solutions by stressing real stories of Iranian and Moslem scholars.

As regards to the 27.2% of the respondents, they set their goals by means of characterizing the social status of scholars and academics, expressing the value of learning by their own attitudes and deeds in the class, highlighting the process of learning and overlooking memorization and their scores and marks. Sixty three/six percent had their special plans for stressing the importance of knowledge promotion, establishing communication through email, using out of class conditions for learning, and creating comprehensive learning environment. Furthermore, 63.6% had identified the purpose of the tasks via leading the conversations towards their own educational and scientific experiences, perceptions, and insights. Another group of teachers had identified the purpose of their classroom tasks by means of discussion about philosophy of life, analysis of the value of science, encouraging them through developing self-esteem, needs analysis, having a high opinion of their morals, ethics, and ideals.

With respect to fostering creativity, 18.1% of the teachers appealed to reasoning and maintained that in their classes the language learners are required to provide their deductive and inductive justification and argument behind the truth of their answers regarding their situation. Fifty four/five percent resorted to association to fulfill the requirements of centering procedures by making them to view the texts in the textbooks from different perspectives. Some mentioned that they provide their students with pictures and they are required to write stories and vice versa. Others pointed out that they try to guide the students in writing courses to write short stories or become professional translators. A number of others stated that they are required to write stories with new words encountered in the new chapter. Still a few of them asserted that they suggested the topic, and learners are to develop conversations. A teacher maintained that he developed an atmosphere in which the students have freedom of expression, the text is expanded by adding some sentences, and variety is appreciated.

Moreover, to accomplish arranging competencies, 9% pleaded to organization and 9% to practice opportunities which included group discussion and creative approach to reading comprehension exercises. On the subject of planning, 45.4% applied goal setting. The goals consisted of moving beyond the requirements of their textbook, leading them towards the explorative learning, and focusing on the individual styles of the learners; 72.7% of them categorized their plans. Their category consisted of asking questions about their learning strategies, introducing books on creativity, making them apply things they have learned in other areas and assuming a creative and critical approach to reading comprehension and analysis of the text in the textbooks. They believed such an approach would result in self-consciousness, awareness of their learning strategies, and knowledge of their individual differences. Twenty seven/two percent thought of identifying task purposes. To meet their objectives, these teachers tried to determine why the students have underlined and highlighted some parts of the text, and what kind of learning strategies they have applied. And in writing, some teachers have ascertained that the students try to write with a sense of humor. But evaluation was not touched upon by these teachers.

Centering

Arranging

Question number

Reviewing

Reasoning

Association

Data-gathering

Organization

Practice opportunity

1

9%

81.8%

90.9%

45.4%

18.1%

9%

2

9%

45.4%

27.2%

0%

0%

18.1%

3

0%

18.1%

54.5%

0%

9%

9%

Planning

Evaluating

Question number

Goal setting

Planning

Task purpose identification

Errors and their sources

Evaluation

1

54.5%

54.5%

45.4%

0%

45.4%

2

27.2%

63.6%

36.3%

0%

0%

3

45.4%

72.7%

27.2%

0%

0%

Table 5, representing the results for Iranian teachers' student engagement skills

With respect to teachers' efficacy in instructional strategies, three issues were tackled: fostering critical thinking, teaching adjustment, and providing challenging tasks for top students. They were also checked against the subscales of meta-analysis strategies. With regard to developing critical thinking, 54.5% of the teachers' utilized reasoning and 54.5% appealed to association as to centering. Concerning arranging skills, 36.3% concentrated on organization and 9% on practice opportunity. With reference to planning, 63.6% focused on goal setting, 45.4% on planning, and 36.3% had their own view of task purpose identification. And 45.4% centered their attention on evaluation.

Pertaining to teaching adjustment, 27.2% of these teachers applied reasoning and 9% association as part of their centering skills. Arranging was completely overlooked in these teachers teaching adjustment. In relation to planning side of teaching adjustment, 27.2% employed goal setting, 81.8% resorted to planning, and task purpose identification was unobserved by them. In evaluation part of meta-cognitive strategies, 9% tried to detect errors and their sources and 72.7% observed evaluation which helped them how to start the process of teaching.

In connection with providing challenging tasks for top students in the class, 9% tried to establish friendly relationship, 36.3% applied organization, and 54.5% employed practice opportunities such as doing exercises from more technical books such as TOFEL, analyzing compound and complex structures, assigning various difficult tasks, summarizing the texts for reading comprehension, doing the end of chapter questions, perusing them to teach less knowledgeable students and help the teacher, and lead the group. All of the interviewed teachers (100%) constructed and designed their own explicit, exclusive, and special plans. These teachers argued that there are a lot of scientific and academic concepts to be learned by them. The plans consisted of summarizing articles and books, thorough learning, being challenged by logic, utilizing strategies leading to detailed comprehension, doing researches and reporting to the class, giving lectures, writing article, and carrying out the assignments comprehensively. Task identification was applied by 45.4% of the teachers. These teachers argued that they should answer special and technical questions, analyze difficult topics, materialize deeper comprehension, and provide summary of the subject discussed. Nine percent employed evaluation as a way to manage these learners. They maintained that top students should participate in the scientific competitions conducted and held by other scientific organizations and institutions out of their school.

Centering

Arranging

Question number

Reviewing

Reasoning

Association

Data-gathering

Organization

Practice opportunity

1

0%

54.5%

54.5%

0%

36.3%

9%

2

0%

27.2%

9%

0%

0%

0%

3

0%

0%

9%

0%

36.3%

54.5%

Planning

Evaluating

Question number

Goal setting

Planning

Task purpose identification

Errors and their sources

Evaluation

1

63.6%

45.4%

36.35

0%

45.4%

2

27.2%

81.8%

0%

9%

72.7%

3

0%

100%

45.4%

0%

9%

Table 6, representing the results for Iranian teachers' instructional strategies

DISCUSSION

Discussion of Phase 1

The findings of the present study significantly confirmed the importance of language learning strategy dimensions of teaching self-efficacy. As shown in Table 2 (above), teaching self-efficacies were significantly and positively correlated with the meta-cognitive strategies. To have a clear discussion about the obtained results of the present study, such strategies will be explained more below.

Human language learning strategies are divided into two groups: direct and indirect. These two types complement each other. People need to apply both for effective language use and learning. The strategies used directly in dealing with a new language are called direct strategies. The direct strategies help store and recover information and produce language even when there is gap in knowledge. They also help to understand and use the new language. The three groups that belong to the direct strategies are memory, cognitive, and compensation strategies.

The indirect strategies are used for general management of learning. They work together with the direct strategies and help human regulate the learning process. These strategies support and manage language learning without direct engagement and therefore called indirect strategies. The three groups belonging to this category are meta-cognitive, affective, and social strategies.

Meta-cognitive strategies go beyond the cognitive mechanism and help people to coordinate their learning by controlling their own cognition. This helps them to plan language use and learning in an efficient way. When new vocabulary, rules, and writing system confuse the learner, these strategies become vital for successful language learning. Three sets of strategies belong to this group: centering, arranging and planning, and evaluating your language learning and use. The aim of centering is to give a focus so that the attention could be directed toward certain language activities or skills. Moreover, these strategies are essential for successful language learning and use. In the process of language learning and use, people are often overwhelmed by too much newness- new words, confusing rules, different writing systems, seemingly inexplicable social p and in (enlightened language classes) nontraditional instructional approaches. With all this novelty, many people would lose their focus, which can only be regained by the conscious use of meta-cognitive strategies such as paying attention, over-viewing, and linking. Other meta-cognitive strategies like organizing, setting goals, considering the purpose, planning for language task, and seeking practice opportunities help people arrange and plan their communication in an efficient and effective way.

As for the discussion of the obtained findings in this phase, it can be argued that The items of the questionnaire in this study, cover the meta-cognitive strategies by searching ways to use language, noticing mistakes and using them to help do better, paying attention to people speaking language, trying to find out ways to become better, planning, searching opportunities, setting goals, and monitoring progress.

The study revealed that teachers with higher levels of strategy inventory for language learning enjoy higher levels of self-efficacy and academic achievement in instructional strategies, classroom management, and student engagement. Having conducted the regression analysis, however, the authors found that only one subscale of the SILL, i.e. meta-cognitive strategies was the best predictive of higher teaching self-efficacy. In other words, competent teachers in centering, arranging, planning, and evaluating strategies were more efficient in instruction, management, and learner engagement.

In this study, highest scores were attained with respect to meta-cognitive strategies. It is a subscale of indirect human learning strategies. This subscale was associated with the highest scores in teaching self-efficacy. Firstly, this finding shows that the teachers' with better centering attention competence, possessing the potential to give a focus so that the attention could be directed toward certain language activities or skills, would be more efficient and effective EFL teachers. Centering is concerned with over-viewing and linking with already known material, paying attention, and being careful in speech production. This strategy helps people to converge their attention and energies on certain language tasks, skills, and materials, providing a focus for better language use and learning. They can be accomplished by learning the reason, building the needed vocabulary, making association, ignoring distracters by directed and selective attention.

Secondly, those EFL teachers who enjoy higher levels of capabilities in arranging and planning, they are more qualified or will be able to fulfill the requirements of instruction, management, and engagement more professionally. These cognitive constructs would help them to get maximum benefit from their energy and effort. Arranging includes finding out about language use and learning process, organizing, and seeking practice opportunities. Planning consists of setting goals, planning for a task, and identifying the purpose of a task. These strategies assist the EFL teachers to get most out of their environment through collective managing efforts.

Also, Iranian EFL teachers with great potential in evaluation of their linguistic competence would be more able in discovering the problems and finding the solutions in the process of language education. Evaluating consists of self-monitoring and self-evaluating. These two related strategies assisted the Iranian EFL teachers to check their language performance by noticing and learning from errors by tracking their source and eliminating them and evaluating overall progress through checking development over the time.

Since analysis of the data revealed a significant correlation between both meta-cognitive strategies and teachers self-efficacy; therefore, regarding the EFL teacher education, it is suggested that we foster meta-cognitive strategies in teacher education environments. In addition, to develop teacher efficacy, meta-cognitive variables have to be included in a variety of teacher educational materials, and the educational context should encourage different types of meta-cognitive experiences. Professors , authorities, curriculum designers are also recommended to have a better understanding of teachers' meta-cognitive backgrounds within family and in the community whereby they can help them in developing and using management, engagement, and instructional strategies.

Discussion of Phase 2

Analysis of interviews against the meta-cognitive strategies revealed positive interaction between Iranian EFL teachers' language learning strategies and their self-efficacy. As mentioned earlier, meta-cognitive strategies consist of four categories of centering, arranging, planning, and evaluating. Teacher self-efficacy also comprises three subscales: instructional strategies, management skills, and student engagement skills. The first part of qualitative phase explored EFL teachers management efficacy. It consisted of three questions. The first question aimed at investigating EFL teachers' treatment of the most difficult students. In this regard, the highest score (81.8%) was achieved on association, and the second highest score (72.7%) was obtained on evaluation. The former expresses their positive character and the latter the negative character. Since the former is the most relevant subcomponent of meta-cognitive strategies for this area and indicates that they try to establish a humanistic approach toward the issue, it establishes a relationship with the students and guides them either directly or indirectly. But the application of evaluation to treat these students shows that they apply their own formal and strict authorities, which is not constructive and does not conduct the learners' social performances. For evaluation is appealed to as a way to threaten those students and make them follow the rules and regulations. Sixty three/six percent of EFL teachers applied task purpose identification, and 54.5% reasoning which are above average and symptom of their logical and philosophical approach towards the issue. Regarding data collection, goal setting, and planning, their efficacies were below average and implied that our teacher education requires further analysis, reconsideration, and reformulation.

With reference to the second question, i.e. classroom management, EFL teachers displayed their highest efficacies on organization (81.8%) by grouping students and making use of their own potentials and sharing the classroom management with the students. It indicated that this variable is the most relevant one to handle the issue, and they are well experienced in this field, too. The second area of EFL teacher higher efficacy was on task purpose identification (63.6%), exposing their expertise to use different tasks with different purposes to run their classroom. In areas such as association, goal setting, and planning, their efficiency (36.3%) was below average and they needed further attention by authorities. They scored 18.1% in reasoning, 9% in practice opportunities, 9% in data collection and 18.1% in evaluation. These records were terribly low. Achievement of these low statistics might be due to a number of variables such as their irrelevance to classroom management, shortcomings in our teacher education, lack of appropriate in-service education and teachers' ignorance.

Regarding the problem management, the subject of the third question, all of the teachers pinpointed various problems and their resources implying that they are were well aware of the things going on in their environment. They discussed problems in textbooks, teaching methodology imposed by authorities, system of evaluation, authorities' problems in humanistic and educational management, and lack of collective, friendly, and social interactions among most of teachers. The other area of concern in this regard was evaluation (45.4%). They believed that this incomprehensive, imposed, and nonacademic system of evaluation does not let them approach their own teaching comprehensively, since they had to follow this inadequate, defective, and limited system to help the language learners to pass Iranian university entrance examination which is perfectly incomprehensive and does not take language skills into consideration.

The second part of the qualitative phase explored teachers' efficacy in relation to student engagement. In the process of motivating the less-motivated language learners, the subject of the first question, 90.9% of these teachers favored association. They established open, collective, and friendly social relationship with the students to encourage them to find their own way out of the disappointing issues. In addition, 81.8% appealed to reasoning and philosophical bases to guide their students come to the idea that language learning would be beneficial for them. And 54.5% of them set their own goals and had their plans displaying their competence to direct and motivate the students. Task purpose identification, data collection, and evaluation attracted 45.4% of the teachers' attention. The above figures illustrate that Iranian EFL teachers exhibit a thorough command, knowledge, and system of efficacy in student motivation.

In terms of assisting language learners' value learning process- covered by the second question- only the teachers' planning faculty exceeded the average (63.6%), and all of the other figures were below average: reasoning 45.4%, task purpose identification 36.3%, association 27.2%, and goal setting 27.2%. Though this matter proves the teachers' concerns, it gives an idea about the fact that the teachers themselves need some sort of insight, education, and philosophical background to value learning and as a result to help the students. In fostering creativity- the third question in student engagement- 72.7% resorted to planning and 54.5% to association, revealing their potential for arrangement, preparation, attachment and establishment of social network. This way 45.4% put into operation goal setting and 27.2% utilized task purpose identification, informing of their low efficacy competence. It led to the conclusion that the EFL teachers' education and training must be reviewed by the specialists to become fruitful.

The third part of qualitative phase examined Iranian EFL teachers' instructional skills and strategies. The first question looked into developing critical thinking. As the results showed, 63.6% of the teachers selected goal setting, 54.5% reasoning, and 54.5% association. These figures indicated that they have got the idea of creating a system with a triangular structure to find their way out. Also 45.4% employed planning, 36.3% used task purpose identification, and 36.3% considered organization. Though they are low, they give us permission to see the factors from the teachers' eyes first, and then prove that we have to re-evaluate and upgrade our teacher education system.

The second question looked into teachers' efficacy in teaching adjustment. In this regard, 81.8% considered planning and 72.7% appealed to evaluation, illustrating their framework and basis for fine-tuning of their teaching methodology with the students level of knowledge which is absolutely necessary for an effective teaching methodology at this era of human education. These high figures are really relevant and somehow true expression of their instructive capabilities. Moreover, 27.2% had their own special reasoning and 27.2% set their specific goals.

Targeting top students in their classroom-the issue in the third question- all of the teachers (100%) had special plans and 54.5% relied on practice opportunities. It proves that they are well informed of the requirements and qualifications for treating these learners, since planning and practicing are highly relevant procedures in managing and guiding these students. Furthermore, 45.4% applied task purpose identification and 36.3% employed organization skills to make these language learners bring into play their potentials and qualifications to the context of classroom rather than doing some other things in the classroom since they already know most of what the teachers teach. Additionally, 9% made use of association and 9% evaluation. Although it is low, it gives us some thought concerning the different aspects of their efficacy competence.

CONCLUSION

In line with aforementioned studies, both quantitative and qualitative phases of this study revealed that EFL teachers' language use and learning strategies played a significant role in their teaching self-efficacy. Meta-cognitive subscale could predict EFL teachers' competence in self-efficacy strategies. And there was convergence between the quantitative and qualitative data. Since there was at least one variable and at most four factors above average score for meta-cognitive strategies subcomponents, as it might seem for some people, it was not difficult to strengthen teachers' teaching self-efficacy. Since meta-cognitive strategies play a crucial role in the improvement of teachers' instructional and academic achievement and as a result in their students' self-efficacy, it should not be taken for granted by the authorities in different areas of teacher education. Therefore, lack of paying enough attention to meta-cognitive strategies, in turn, may result in EFL teachers' inability to achieve superiority in instructional achievement. Other researchers are thus recommended to find other ways of understanding why some teachers work better than others. The present study contributed to fill this gap by examining the role of meta-cognitive contexts in the development of instructional strategies; yet it does not provide us with a comprehensive discussion of how teacher efficacy can be developed. In what follows, the authors will identify limitations of the current study as well as some suggestions for further research:

1. The present study was using a limited number of EFL teachers. Other researchers could increase the size of the population as much as possible.

2. The sampling of the study was based on available teachers. Other investigations could be done more representative sampling.

3. In the present study, teachers' gender was not considered. The relationship between teachers' language use /learning strategies and their self-efficacy could also be investigated in terms of gender.

4. In the current investigation, the role of culture and experience was not taken into consideration. The interaction between these variables and EFL teachers' self-efficacy could be further studied.

5. This study was carried out only in Iranian state schools. Further research could be conducted in private schools in order to compare the results.

6. Other investigations are needed to study other factors that can help the authorities, course designers, curriculum developers and material writers review, improve their procedures and endeavors in the process teacher education.

Writing Services

Essay Writing
Service

Find out how the very best essay writing service can help you accomplish more and achieve higher marks today.

Assignment Writing Service

From complicated assignments to tricky tasks, our experts can tackle virtually any question thrown at them.

Dissertation Writing Service

A dissertation (also known as a thesis or research project) is probably the most important piece of work for any student! From full dissertations to individual chapters, we’re on hand to support you.

Coursework Writing Service

Our expert qualified writers can help you get your coursework right first time, every time.

Dissertation Proposal Service

The first step to completing a dissertation is to create a proposal that talks about what you wish to do. Our experts can design suitable methodologies - perfect to help you get started with a dissertation.

Report Writing
Service

Reports for any audience. Perfectly structured, professionally written, and tailored to suit your exact requirements.

Essay Skeleton Answer Service

If you’re just looking for some help to get started on an essay, our outline service provides you with a perfect essay plan.

Marking & Proofreading Service

Not sure if your work is hitting the mark? Struggling to get feedback from your lecturer? Our premium marking service was created just for you - get the feedback you deserve now.

Exam Revision
Service

Exams can be one of the most stressful experiences you’ll ever have! Revision is key, and we’re here to help. With custom created revision notes and exam answers, you’ll never feel underprepared again.