31 SES 04 C JS, Teaching and Learning a Second Language
Joint Paper Session - NW 27 and NW 31
Self-System Model of Motivational Development (SSMMD; Connell & Wellborn, 1991) posits that student motivation to learn and master school subjects is grounded in the satisfaction of three fundamental needs: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. According to this model, students are highly responsive to a need supportive environment. Teachers’ practices (involvement, autonomy support, and structure) thus have a critical influence of students feeling of being part of the school, of being competent, and that schooling is in line with their personal goals (Deci & Ryan, 2000; Vansteenkiste et al., 2004).
Involvement is teachers’ ability to create a nurturing and caring environment. Teachers who use autonomy support allow their students to make choices in class, they adapt their teaching to students’ difficulties, and explain why learning is important. Structure is teachers’ provision of simple, clear, and predictable rules and expectations. Autonomy support and structure have received less attention in research than involvement (Stroet et al., 2013).
Learning in a need supportive classroom support students’ motivation and achievement (Skinner & Pitzer, 2012). However, some features can influence teachers’ ability to use need supportive practices. For instance, many schools adopt various programs tailored to fit different students’ needs, interests, and goals. In many countries, schools now offer language immersion (e.g., Canada, Belgium, Austria). Since 1998, students in French-speaking Belgium can choose between regular language education and Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in Dutch or in English. CLIL is recommended by the European Commission, which recognizes bilingualism as a major asset for individual, professional, and societal success. In CLIL, primary and secondary school students are taught some content classes in the selected language. In the regular program, students choose between Dutch and English language classes, and all other subjects are taught in French.
Students enrolled in CLIL are generally more successful in mastering the selected second language than students in regular programs (Cheng, 2012). However, little is known about the processes leading to learning English or Dutch (Hiligsmann et al., 2017). Relying on SSMMD, we posit that teachers’ need supportive practices is a key mechanism leading to success in CLIL. Our research team is one of the first to conduct an extensive longitudinal study to investigate how CLIL and non-CLIL students learn a second language.
A first step is to assess how teaching practices are influenced by the context: CLIL or regular program, chosen language (Dutch or English), and level (primary or secondary). Students enrolled in the Dutch curriculum tend to have a more favorable background (Hiligsmann et al., 2017). Also, teachers’ use of need supportive practices may change as students get older. Studies conducted in elementary and secondary students do not reach the same results as to which practices are more important (e.g., Assor et al., 2002; Wang & Eccles, 2013). It is thus possible that CLIL and regular program teachers use different levels of need supportive practices depending of the teaching language (English or Dutch) and of their students’ developmental stage (primary or secondary school).
Our study aims to assess how a teaching context influences teachers’ use of autonomy support and structure. We will first investigate if program (CLIL or regular), language (Dutch or English), and level (primary or secondary) are associated with teachers’ practices. We will then assess moderation effects between program and language, between programs and level, and between language and level. These research questions will be tested at the student and at the classroom levels. This allows to investigate students’ individual perceptions of their teachers’ practices and classrooms’ global evaluation. As we are in the primary steps of our research, we do not posit explicit hypothesis.
We collected data among 880 students attending Belgian French-speaking schools. Elementary students were sorted between 28 classrooms and came from 13 different schools. Secondary students were sorted between 26 classrooms and came from 9 different schools. In primary schools, students were sorted in English non-CLIL (n = 107; 12.16%), Dutch non-CLIL (n=62; 7.05%), English CLIL (n=102; 11.59%), and Dutch CLIL (n=173, 19.66%). In secondary school, students were sorted in English non-CLIL (n=102; 11.59%), Dutch non-CLIL (n=104; 11.82%), English CLIL (n=92; 10.45%), and Dutch CLIL (n=138, 15.68%). Student answered a paper-pen questionnaire on their experience in school. For this abstract, we used data from T1 (2016). We expect to use longitudinal data for the ECER presentation (T2; 2017). Students reported their perception of their teachers’ practices on items drawn from the Teacher as a Social Context scale (Belmont et al., 1988). Students answered 7 questions on their teachers use of autonomy support such as “My teacher offers us to choose between various activities during class.” (α=.74). They also evaluated their teachers use of structure by answering 10 questions such as “My teacher takes time to explain the rules to follow in class.” (α=.86). These items were rated on a scale from 0 (disagree) to 5 (agree). We performed two path-analyses model using Mplus7 to assess how program (CLIL or regular), level (elementary or secondary), and teaching language (English or Dutch) are associated with students’ perceptions of teachers’ need supportive practices. The first path-analysis model was tested at the student level to investigate students’ individual perceptions. The second model was tested at the classroom-level to investigate a global evaluation of students in each classroom. To do this, we aggregated students’ rating of their teachers’ practices in each classroom. Using a mean evaluation of students’ perceptions is a reliable evaluation of teachers’ practices (Lüdtke et al., 2009). Both models included the direct association of program, level, teaching language, the three two-way interactions (program*level; program*language; level*language), and the three-way interaction (program*level*language) with autonomy support and structure.
We first assessed a path-analysis model at student-level. Results indicate a marginal association between the program (CLIL or regular) and students’ evaluation of teachers’ autonomy support (b=.18, p=.08) and structure (b=.20, p=.07). CLIL students perceived slightly more need supportive practices from their teachers. Level and teaching language did not moderate the association between program and need supportive practices, and were not directly associated with teachers’ practices. Results highlight an interaction between level and language. Students enlisted in an English curriculum perceived a high and stable level of autonomy support (b=.06, p=.48) and structure (b=-.12, p=.18) regardless of whether they were in primary or secondary school. Students following a Dutch curriculum perceived more autonomy support (b=-.19, p<.05) and structure (b=-.44, p<.001) in primary than in secondary school. The three-way interaction was not significant. We then tested a path-analysis model at classroom-level. Results indicate that program, level, and language had no effect on classroom average perception of teachers’ need supportive practices. There was no significant interaction effect. These classroom-level findings suggest that teachers’ practices are not influenced by the general context, although the lack of results may be due to a small variance or to the small sample size (54 teachers). Overall, students enlisted in English classes individually perceived higher quality of teaching throughout scholastic development. As these practices are associated with motivation and success, students are probably more likely to succeed in learning English. In contrast, students in Dutch classes did not perceive such a favorable environment, especially in secondary school. Finally, being in the CLIL curriculum was marginally associated with students’ perceptions of higher levels of teachers’ autonomy support and structure. Although we have to conduct more analysis to deepen our understanding, this result suggests that teaching practices may be a mechanism leading to achievement in CLIL students.
Assor, A., Kaplan, H., & Roth, G. (2002). Choice is good, but relevance is excellent: Autonomy-enhancing and suppressing teacher behaviours predicting students' engagement in schoolwork. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 72(2), 261-278. doi: 10.1348/000709902158883 Belmont, M. J., Skinner, E. A., Wellborn, J. G., & Connell, J. P. (1988). Teacher as a social context: A measure of student perceptions of teacher provision of involvement, structure, and autonomy-support. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester. Cheng, L. (2012). English immersion schools in China: Evidence from students and teachers. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 33(4), 379-391. doi: 10.1080/01434632.2012.661436 Connell, J. P., & Wellborn, J. G. (1991). Competence, autonomy, and relatedness: A motivational analysis of self-system process. In M. R. Gunnar & L. A. Sroufe (Eds.), Self Process and Development: The Minnesota Symposia on Child Development (pp. 44-77). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2000). The "what" and "why" of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11(4), 227-268. doi: 10.1207/s15327965pli1104_01 Hiligsmann, P., Van Mensel, L., Galand, B., Me ewie, L., Meunier, F., Szmalec, A., . . . M., S. (2017). Assessing Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in French-speaking Belgium: Linguistic, cognitive, and educational perspectives. Les Cahiers de recherche du GIRSEF, (109), 1-25. Lüdtke, O., Robitzsch, A., Trautwein, U., & Kunter, M. (2009). Assessing the impact of learning environment: How to use student rating of classroom or school characteristics in multilevel modeling in multilevel modeling. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 34(2), 120-131. Skinner, E. A., & Pitzer, J. R. (2012). Developmental dynamics of student engagement, coping, and everyday resilience. In S. L. Christenson, A. L. Reschly & C. Wylie (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Student Engagement (pp. 97-132). New York, NY: Springer. Stroet, K., Opdenakker, M.-C., & Minnaert, A. (2013). Effects of need supportive teaching on early adolescents’ motivation and engagement: A review of the literature. Educational Research Review, 9, 65-87. doi: 10.1016/j.edurev.2012.11.003 Vansteenkiste, M., Simons, J., Lens, W., Sheldon, K. M., & Deci, E. L. (2004). Motivating learning, performance, and persistence: The synergistic effects of intrinsic goal contents and autonomy-supportive contexts. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87(2), 246-260. doi: 10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.168 Wang, M.-T., & Eccles, J. S. (2013). School context, achievement motivation, and academic engagement: A longitudinal study of school engagement using a multidimensional perspective. Learning and Instruction, 28, 12-23. doi: 10.1016/j.learninstruc.2013.04.002
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