The Influence of Teachers' Attitudes on Students' English Learning in Junior Middle School
With the widespread use of English, China makes great effort to improve English education. It becomes an important matter to enhance students' English abilities. There are a lot of factors that affect students' English learning. Besides students' own endeavor, parents' guidance, teaching approach methods, teachers' attitudes are also very important. As the proverb goes: attitude is everything! What attitude teachers adopt to the students, is affecting students' success, and what attitude they treat their work, is deciding success or failure of their work
This thesis researches: the influence of teachers' attitudes on students' English learning in junior schools. The thesis talks about the meaning of attitude, English teachers' different attitudes, the most important is English teachers' unsuitable attitudes and the reasons, then proposes the appropriate attitudes that teachers should have.
The purpose of the thesis is that teachers should establish a good relationship with students and enhance the quality of English teaching.
Attitude; positive; negative; students
This paper aims to analyze teachers' different attitudes to treat their students. Either positive or negative attitude will make great affection on middle schools students' English learning.
With the global economic integration, it's more obvious that foreign languages have great affection upon all the aspects of human life. Therefore it's the essential demand for the civilian competence to have a good command of a foreign language in the new century.
Secondly, English education has a long history in China. Most of us have learned English since we were in primary school. With the opening of China, English teaching has been getting more and more attention. Especially since China joined the World Trade Organization and Beijing won the bid to hold the 2008 Olympic Games. Now English occupies the attention of millions of Chinese people.
English teaching is a popular topic in our country. Many experts have done massive research on the students' English learning in middle schools. So, how to bring student's enthusiasm into full play and enhance their English accomplishments? Experts point out that in teaching method aspects: There were “the happy teaching method”, “the direct method”, “the cognitive approach”, “the oral approach” , “the grammar—translation method ”and so on; some experts proposed English initiation is important especially, therefore our country pay more attention to the baby English education; some experts proposed that they must enhance the quality and abilities of teachers ; and some experts said, the teachers should treat their students equally just like treating their own children.
But there are still some problems in English teaching. Such as: many students even the college students can not express themselves smoothly and understand others clearly in an English-only environment. The lack of qualified English teachers is another important problem. A qualified English teacher should take special training courses and have enough knowledge of English. However, in many middle schools, teachers who don't have qualification of English teaching are still giving classes to their students. They even teach their strong accent to the students.
These problems make great affection on students' English learning, but besides these, teachers' attitudes are important too. Especially in junior schools, English teachers do not respect students, they make a favorite of the students who are good at English learning, and their attitudes aren't equal. This thesis is based on the teachers' attitudes.
Ⅰ. Attitude and Teachers' Attitudes
Before research teacher's attitudes, we must understand the meaning of attitude. What is attitude? Social psychologists generally define attitudes as relatively lasting clusters of feelings, beliefs, and behavior tendencies directed toward specific persons, ideas, objects, or groups.
The word attitude (from Latin) is defined within the framework of social psychology as a subjective or mental preparation for action. It defines outward and visible postures and human beliefs. Attitudes determine what each individual will see, hear, think and do. They are rooted in experience and do not become automatic routine conduct.
Attitude means the individual's prevailing tendency to respond favorably or unfavorably to an object (person or group of people, institutions or events). Attitudes can be positive or negative. Social psychologists distinguish and study three components of the responses: the first is cognitive component, which is the knowledge about an attitude object, whether accurate or not; the second is affective component: feelings towards the object and the third is conative or behavioral component, which is the action taken towards the object.
So teacher's attitude toward students is a relatively enduring orientation that teacher develops toward students and their behaviors.
A. The Importance of School Environment
Generally speaking, “Teacher is engineer of human souls ", Teachers are the most important in social education. The school environment has been described as "the second most important social environment for the child after family". Hence, it can also be said that the teacher is the second most important figure in the child's life after family.
B. Factors Affecting Teachers' Attitude
Many elements, internal and external, can affect teacher attitude. Teacher's own features is the most internal influent element, while the external factors include students' influence, the relationship with peers and students' parents and so on.
Students' characteristics, appearance, school-life performance and forth on, all can affect teacher's attitude toward them. Usually, to some extent, inevitably, teachers will favor the students who are like him, who can get high academic achievement. We can't say it is wrong, but as a teacher, he is the teacher of the whole class, not some certain students. So he should decrease the degree of liking certain students.
On the other hand, if a teacher can't get along will with peers, he must have the need to work off the negative feelings on his students or to use students to fulfill his own emotional and social needs. If a teacher can't get on well with some student's parents, as he might feel intellectually or socially, superior to them, he can hardly avoid inappropriate attitude toward that student.
It is almost impossible for a teacher's attitude toward students to avoid influences from other factors. But what a good teacher should do is to minimize those unfavorable influences so that he can adopt the attitude beneficial to the students, to the relationship between him and the students, to his teaching and student's learning.
C. The Different Attitudes of Teachers
Certainly, teachers have a lot of attitudes. Such as: attitude of life, attitude of work, attitude of profession, attitude of teaching. In this thesis, what I talk about is teachers' attitudes which they treat students. Particularly, the students of junior schools who are very young, sensitive, rebel and self-respect, so teacher's attitudes and guidance are especially important for them.
There is a universal phenomenon which is the English teachers pay more attention to the result good students, but neglect the bad result students in the present English teaching of junior schools. Certainly, we cannot say teachers do not rightly, who doesn't like the intelligent children? But we should think for the future of those bad result students, they are not good at English learning maybe they haven't work hard, maybe careless, or other reasons. But they spend a large portion of their day at school where they have direct contact with teachers and classmates together, if teachers give up them, how great injury they will be beard? How can they have a good future?
Every one has right to love beauty, it's not be altogether unjustifiable that teachers like the students who are good at English learning. But teachers are not only ordinary people, but also teachers who are responsibility for the students. Teachers should love all students and treat them equally.
Ⅱ. Influence of Teachers' Attitudes to Students
A. Teacher's Unfavorable Attitudes Toward Students
The negative affection produced by unfavorable teacher's attitudes toward students. As favorable attitudes can increase English learning effectiveness, unfavorable ones may reduce it.
You may consider how a teacher's effectiveness might be impaired by these following attitudes toward students: The first is, Strong dislike for particular students; The second is, Extreme fondness for certain students; the third, Biases toward achievement; the fourth, Biases toward students' appearance / certain kinds of behavior as docility or inquisitiveness; the fifth, Impatient, unfriendly or hostile attitude toward students' asking questions or asking for help or instruction; and the last one is, Treating them with disdain and contempt rather than patience and respect.
When a teacher has a strong dislike or biases against particular students for some reasons as sex, appearance, disposition, family condition, especially low-achieving or under-achieving, he will, consciously or unconsciously, avoid public communication with them, and give them feedback that is superficial, inconsistent, and unconvincing on the quality of their work. He demands less from the students and gives less praise, less wait-time for their answers, calling on them less, and often criticizing them more frequently. A student who is frequently criticized by a teacher, especially if he is already to be low in self-esteem, will lose confidence in his own ability and will tend in consequence to hard to change under-achievement because they attribute their performance to external forces — teacher's unfair treatment, teacher's traits, studying conditions, degree of studying difficulty — that are beyond their control. This lowers their expectations for success, their motivation to achieve, and ultimately, academic achievement itself.
B. Four Types of Students' Dispositions
Lots of people believe that there are two aspects of attitudes: positive and negative, in a simple word，good or bad. But we may not to be lumped together the attitudes of teachers to treat the students? The positive attitude maybe not good, and the negative attitude is not bad.
In the educational psychology, human's dispositions have four kinds of types: The plethora, mounts the liquid, the choleric temperament and the despondent nature, different people have their own disposition characteristics, and students are also same. The different students' dispositions are different. That is true: an exceptional teacher also is a psychologist. Teachers should use different attitudes according to different student's characteristics for helping them to enhance the English abilities and progress unceasing.
C. Different Results of Teachers' Different Attitudes
The survey showed that，80% students of junior schools hope that the teachers can take care of them and love them look like their parents and 20% of the students do not care, majority of this part of students are boys, moreover most of them are autistic children and do not good at English learning. As an English major graduate, I was fortunate enough to a junior school and together with a group of lovely children.
There are four students give me deep impression. Student A is a clever girl and she is good at English. She is a good student in the teachers' eyes and a good daughter in the parents' eyes, she ever does not make a mistake, and does not let parents worry about her, and nearly all the people who know her said she is a good child. Student B is a boy, intelligent by natural endowments，he is also good at English learning but mischievously. Student C is a boy, his English result is not good, therefore their English teacher do not like him, and the parents also frequently beat and scold him. Student D is a girl, although she makes great effort in study, her result always not too good enough.
With them together a long time, I understood their disposition characteristics gradually, they also often share the feeling of live and study with me. Student A said that she felt very tired, “I must be a good student and a good daughter, and cannot make a mistake. Moreover these feelings cannot tell teacher and the parents, otherwise they will worry about me.” She made my heart ache, such young child sustained so great stress. How could she fell not tiredly? As the proverb goes: gold can't be pure and man can't be perfect.” But student A must try her best to do perfectly. Teacher's expectation gives her tremendous pressure. She couldn't play together with classmates, even after school, she also studied in the classroom. Their English Miss. Yang is over 30 years old and paid more attention to her, but this made her could not stop to have a rest.
Although student B is very naughty, he is good at English, Miss. Yang still liked him very much, because he is very expansive, nearly all classmates liked playing with him.
Student C told me his original result was very good, teacher also liked him very much. But because the parents have divorced, his result continuously glides down, Miss. Yang did not like him, he lost the confidence of study English, too.
Student D is an introvert girl; she did not like talking with others. She always cry when Miss. Yang criticized her. She said as soon as Miss. Yang called her to go to the office, she feared very much. I told these four student's situation to Miss. Yang, she said, “I can not imagine such young children can have so many minds.” she promises will change the attitudes to them.
In the next month, Miss. Yang changed her attitudes really. Regarding A, she no longer pays excessive attention, sometimes also called her to play with classmates, and did not always stay in the classroom, and did not compel her in learning. A was expansive gradually, and she played with others, and the result is better than before. B is a careless student, Miss. Yang thought too spoil him before, Miss. Yang did not let him off his wrong, and he couldn't play if he could not correct the mistake. So B become careful and makes fewer mistakes than before.
Miss. Yang recalled own attitude to C, why did an excellent child become like this? Miss. Yang thought she should take the majority of responsibilities, if she can gave C a number of cares and understanding when his family experiences misfortune. Let him feel the warmth of teacher and classmates, he may not be this.
Miss. Yang told own guilt to student C, and hoped he could perk up. Afterwards, student C's result became well, and he became welcome among classmates. Student D is a timid girl, Miss. Yang asked her in the time after school to communicate frequently, do not say the learning or English, only chat. Gradually, she become bold, the words also more and more, and made progress every day.
After these four student's transformation, Miss. Yang also understood why they had lots of ideas, she said, “As a teacher, you must open heart with them if you want to let the student obtain the good result, and understand their idea of the heart”.
I asked the students their opinions about Miss. Yang's, they all said, “Miss. Yang was a bias teacher before, she liked the students who were good at English, but now, Miss. Yang is much better, she is our friend, she will chat and play with us. Now, we love her very much”.
Ⅲ. Teachers' Appropriate Attitudes
Till now, we have known that attitudes can increase and also decrease learning effectiveness. So what kind of attitude a teacher adopts toward the students may exert a great influence on students' achievement, social and emotional development. Teacher's different attitudes toward students cause different teacher-student styles that will make a strong impact on students' achievements.
A. A Good Relationship with Students
To have a good teacher—student relationship, it is important that the teacher and the student respect each other. The relationship between a teacher and a student can be either good or bad. In either case, it will have effects on the student for the rest of his life. A good teacher—student relationship will make learning enjoyable and interesting for the student and will make teacher's job deserving. A bad one can discourage the student from learning and make teaching an unpleasant task.
In a good teacher—student relationship the teacher does not have to force the student to learn. If the teacher is too strict, he frightens the student so that the student will not concentrate his mind on his studies. On the other hand, if the teacher is too friendly, the student may become lazy and stop working hard. The correct attitude the teacher should take is in between these extremes. He should encourage the student instead of forcing him to learn. He needs patience and understanding. It is part of teacher's job to help develop a positive attitude to his students. As for the student, in order to form a good relationship with his teacher, he must always show him respect. He should be eager to learn and willing to work hard. If he learns from the teacher earnestly, he will be able to profit fully from his teacher's knowledge and assistance.
In conclusion, a good teacher—student relationship can be mutually beneficial. The student obtains knowledge eagerly while the teacher gains satisfaction from his job. Only in this way can the teacher—student relationship improves both teaching and learning.
You may have heard some students say, “I do not like having class because the teacher is so unfair in treating me.” Or others say, “I like going to school. My teacher is rather poised and warm.” So we can see teacher's attitude toward students, undoubtedly, has great effects on his students' attitude toward learning, on students' learning behaviors, and ultimately.
Teachers' favorable attitudes toward students will lead to sound relationship between the two parties and enhance teaching effectiveness.
Teacher should establish a real teaching and learning relationship with students. What kind of teaching and learning relationship — cooperative, harmonious, friendly, unstable or hostile — will be built? Teacher's attitudes toward students play a very important part in establishing it.
B. Suitable Praise and Encouragement
Praising refers to the attitude teachers have about students' success or achievement for a task. So praise is usually given when teacher thinks that the students have accomplished the task so well, of sometimes have done it much better than before, that they worth praising.
Some teachers, however, may find their praises are not so useful and successful in raising students' learning motivation. The reason lies in the teacher himself, not the praise itself. Those teachers may over use praise, or use them in an unsuitable or even wrong time or place which, on the contrary, makes the students think that they don't deserve it. When students believe they have not been successful, they will interpret praise as an indication that the teacher lacks confidence that they can do better. So teacher should know how to use effective praise. Brophy (1981) suggests that it should (a) be based on student's specific behavior, (b) provide information for students to use in the future, and (c) focus on students' past accomplishments as a context for describing present accomplishments (Crowl et al, 1997: 254).
Knowing how to use effective praise, teacher could, to a larger degree, arouse students' own expectation for higher achievement, raise students' motivation for studying which will create students' self-initiated learning.
Encouraging, it is a kind of attitude used more frequently toward those students who are trying hard but may be somewhat unsuccessful. Focusing on efforts rather than achievement, encouragement stimulates those students to continue trying. Students who have been encouraged accept themselves as they are, even when they are less than perfect or fall short of teacher's expectation. Encouragement used during class can also solidify students' place in class. Being encouraged, they feel they are contributing members and that teacher and classmates accept their efforts as valid, their ideas as useful and contributory, though may be incompletely right. They will focus not on their weakness and under-achievement, but their progress and efforts. When they are unsuccessful or under-achieving, they will also receive encouragement from their teacher, thus to make them remain confidence in further achievement.
Students are sensitive observers of teachers' attitudes and behavior, and teachers maybe unaware. This thesis mainly deals with the different attitudes of English teachers to the students in junior schools and the influence for the students. There are many English teachers can not be able to treat students equally without discrimination. Of course, many factors can influence teachers' attitudes and teachers are usually like those who are like them, but as teachers and as the people who students trust, in order to enhance students' English abilities and quality of English teaching, teachers should love every student, to understand every student and accept every student for both their strong points and shortcomings. In order to create a wonderful atmosphere for the students to learn English, teachers should know how to expect their students, how to praise them and how to encourage them.
My deepest gratitude goes first and foremost to associate Professor Zhou Ronghui, my supervisor, for his constant encouragement and guidance. He has helped me through all the stages of the writing of this thesis. Without his consistent and illuminating instruction, this thesis could not have reached its present form.
Second, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the teachers at the Department of English: associate Professor Zhang Chun, Mr. Yuan Bin and Mrs. Cui Zhaohui who have instructed and helped me a lot in the past four years.
Last my thanks would go to my beloved family for their loving considerations and great confidence in me all through these years. I also owe my sincere gratitude to my friends and my fellow classmates who gave me their help and time in listening to me and helping me work out my problems during the difficult course of the thesis.
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