Learning from authoritarian teachers: Controlling the situation or controlling yourself can sustain motivation

Main Article Content

Kathryn Everhart Chaffee
Kimberly A. Noels
Maya Sugita McEown

Abstract

Positive psychology encompasses the study of positive outcomes, optimal functioning, and resilience in difficult circumstances. In the context of language learning, positive outcomes include academic engagement, self-determined motivation, persistence in language learning, and eventually becoming a proficient user of the language. These questionnaire studies extend previous research by addressing how these positive outcomes can be achieved even in adverse circumstances. In Study 1, the primary and secondary control scales of interest were validated using 2468 students at a Canadian university. Study 2 examined the capacity of 100 Canadian language learners to adjust themselves to fit in with their environment, termed secondary control, and how it was related to their motivation for and engagement in language learning and their feelings of anxiety speaking in the classroom. Secondary control in the form of adjusting one’s attitude towards language learning challenges through positive reappraisals was positively associated with self-determined motivation, need satisfaction, and engagement. analyses, positive reappraisals were also found to buffer the negative effects of having a controlling instructor on students’ engagement and anxiety. These findings suggest that personal characteristics interact with the learning environment to allow students to function optimally in their language courses even when the teacher is controlling.

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How to Cite
Everhart Chaffee, K., Noels, K. A., & McEown, M. S. (2014). Learning from authoritarian teachers: Controlling the situation or controlling yourself can sustain motivation. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 4(2), 355-387. https://doi.org/10.14746/ssllt.2014.4.2.9
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Articles
Author Biographies

Kathryn Everhart Chaffee, University of Alberta, Edmonton

kathryn.chaffee@ualberta.ca
Kathryn Everhart Chaffee is a graduate student studying social and cultural psychology at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, under the supervision of Dr. Kimberly Noels. She completed her BA in psychology at the University of Delaware, USA, where she learned about cultural psychology from Dr. Beth Morling. Three years spent teaching English in Japan cemented her interests in cultural differences and language learning motivation. Her research focuses on examining control strategy use and academic motivation crossculturally. She is also interested in how individuals choose to seek intercultural contact with a specific culture or linguistic group.

Kimberly A. Noels, University of Alberta, Edmonton

knoels@ualberta.ca
Kimberly A. Noels trained in linguistics, communication, and psychology, and is currently a professor in the Social and Cultural Psychology area of the Department of Psychology and an adjunct professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. Her interests focus on the social ecology of second language learning and the interconnections between language, identity, psychological well-being, and interethnic relations. Her research has received awards from the Modern Language Association, the International Association of Language and Social Psychology, National Communication Association, and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.

Maya Sugita McEown, University of Alberta, Edmonton

msugita@ualberta.ca
Maya Sugita McEown is a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada. She completed her PhD at the Graduate School of Foreign Language Education and Research, Kansai University, Japan. She is currently working on a comparative study of language teachers’ motivational instruction between Japanese and Canadian contexts based on self-determination theory.

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