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Teachers’ classroom behaviour and its impact on students’ foreign language anxiety, motivation, and achievement

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posted on 27.02.2017, 05:44 by Chitra Hasan, Diana
The principal objectives of this study were to explore the influence of students’ perceptions of teachers’ classroom behaviour on their level of foreign language anxiety and motivation. The study also examined the interrelationships between students’ foreign language anxiety, motivation and achievement and students’ perceptions of teachers’ classroom behaviour. In addition, students’ and teachers’ perceptions of teachers’ classroom behaviour were compared. A mixed method design was employed in this study. The quantitative data were obtained by utilising established questionnaires to measure students’ foreign language anxiety level and motivation at Time 1 (the beginning of the semester) and at Time 2 (10 weeks later) and students’ perceptions of teachers’ classroom behaviour at Time 2. Teacher participants completed a parallel teacher classroom behaviour questionnaire. At the end of the semester, students sat the Preliminary English Test (PET) to measure their achievement. Qualitative aspects were student interviews and classroom observations. A total of 344 students from two senior secondary schools, an International Standard School (ISS) and a non-International Standard School (non-ISS), and eight teachers (four from each school) participated in the study. Statistical analyses included repeated-measures MANOVA, repeated-measures ANOVA, one-way ANOVA and Pearson Product–Moment correlations. The study found: (1) The level of students’ language anxiety changed over an instructional semester and some of these changes were influenced by their perceptions of teachers’ classroom behaviour. Students’ perceptions of two teachers’ classroom behaviours, negativity and unclear structuring of the class contributed to the increase in students’ anxiety level. (2) The level of students’ motivation to study English was affected by their perception of teachers’ classroom behaviours and other aspects of learning. The dimensions of teachers’ behaviours which affected students’ motivation positively were structure and relatedness and a negative influence was teacher negativity. Factors other than teachers’ classroom behaviour were their teaching skills and classroom management, mastery of English, teaching materials and ISS school type. (3) Students’ perceptions of teachers’ classroom behaviour showed an inverse relationship with foreign language anxiety but positively correlated with students’ motivation and achievement. Students’ foreign language anxiety was negatively correlated with their motivation. (4) There were discrepancies between students’ and teachers’ perceptions of the teachers’ classroom behaviour due to teachers rating themselves more positively than their students did. The limitations of this research were acknowledged. The main limitation in research design was employing self-reported questionnaires to obtain the level of students’ foreign language anxiety and motivation as students may not be able to precisely rate their emotional and motivational states. In addition, students may not respond truthfully to questions concerning their teachers’ classroom behaviours due to concern about the possibility that teachers may discover their answers, although prior explanation about confidentiality of the data was provided. The number of teachers participating in the study was relatively limited and the xiii fact that all teachers were female gives rise to an issue in terms of variance. Future research suggestions are to examine the effects of students’ perceptions of teachers’ classroom behaviours on students’ test anxiety and whether gender differences exist in students’ perceptions of relatedness with the teacher and how it affects motivation to study. Research on students’ language anxiety in lower education levels is also encouraged to obtain a comprehensive picture of foreign language anxiety in different stages of learning.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Paul Richardson

Additional supervisor 1

Helen Watt

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre



Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Education