This paper gives a questionnaire survey to some English major students in ** University of Science and Technology by random sampling to know students' understanding and importance learning self-efficacy. It showed that there are five influential factors with self-efficacy. Learning motivation, personality, teachers' expectations, class atmosphere, family environment and campus surroundings. In return, self-efficacy also has great significance to their study and life. It finally discusses possible measures taken to improve self-efficacy on learning English according to the results of the questionnaire.
Key words：learning self-efficacy; questionnaire survey; influence factor; measure
1. Introduction 1
2. Academic self-efficacy 2
2.1 Origin and definition 2
2.2 Current research 2
2.2.1 Factors self-efficacy affects 2
2.2.2 Factors affecting self-efficacy 3
3. Questionnaire survey on English major students in ZUST 6
3.1 Students' understanding and importance to learning self-efficacy 6
3.2 Influence factors with self-efficacy 7
3.2.1 Student perspective 7
3.2.2 Teacher perspective 8
3.2.3 Family perspective 10
3.2.4 Class perspective 11
3.2.5 School perspective 12
3.3 Significance to students' study and life 12
4. Measures to be taken to improve self-efficacy 13
4.1 Student perspective 13
4.2 Teacher perspective 13
4.3 Family perspective 15
4.4 Class perspective 15
4.3 School perspective 16
5. Conclusion 18
The importance the academic self-efficacy make is more and more obvious, especially in the field of foreign language instruction. As the English-learning in a person's middle school is merely designed for the university entrance examination and the cultivation of students' verbal ability is ignored. After entering the university, students easily have no confidence on their ability of English listening, speaking, reading and writing (LSRW). On the other hand, the LSRW ability of students who come from big cities or some rich areas is always higher than those from small cities or some remote places. As a result, the difference of learning basis stimulates a big fall in the weak students' hearts. Then the improvement of the sense of self-efficacy is an urgency which can increase confidence of all the students. The study of how to improve self-efficacy has the value in theory and practice.
In order to improve college students' perceived English-learning self-efficacy, and can make students experience more success in the process of their study of English, offer students proper models and modes, and guide students insetting proper studying goals and conduct students in proper self-attribution, this paper will first collect world-wide study on learning self-efficacy to know the definition of self-efficacy and its relationships with some learning types, then give a questionnaire survey on English major students in Zhejiang University of Science and Technology, and finally discuss about possible measures to be taken to improve self-efficacy on learning English according to the results of the questionnaire.
2. Academic self-efficacy
2.1 Origin and definition
The concept of self-efficacy lies at the center Bandura’s social cognitive theory, which emphasizes the role of observational learning and social experience in the development of personality. Bandura defines 'self-efficacy' as people’s belief in their ability to succeed in specific situations. According to Bandura's theory, people with high self-efficacy - that is, those who believe they can perform well - are more likely to view difficult tasks as something to be mastered rather than something to be avoided.
Academic self-efficacy refers to a student’s belief that he or she can successfully engage in and complete course-specific academic tasks, such as accomplishing course outcomes, demonstrating competency skills used in the course, satisfactorily completing assignments, passing the course, and meeting the requirements to continue on in his or her major.
2.2 Current research
2.2.1 Factors self-efficacy affects
Self-efficacy affects human behaviour. People will be more inclined to take on a task if they believe they can succeed. People generally avoid tasks where their self-efficacy is low, but will engage in tasks where their self-efficacy is high. People with a self-efficacy too higher than their actual ability often overestimate their ability to complete tasks, which can lead to difficulties. On the other hand, people with a self-efficacy significantly lower than their ability are unlikely to grow and expand their skills. Research shows that the ‘optimum’ level of self-efficacy is a little above ability, which encourages people to tackle challenging tasks and gain valuable experience.
Self-efficacy affects motivation of human. People with high self-efficacy in a task are more likely to make more of an effort, and persist longer than those with low efficacy. The stronger the self-efficacy or mastery expectations, the more active the efforts. On the other hand, high self-efficacy provides an incentive to learn more about the subject. As a result, a person with a high self-efficacy may prepare sufficiently for a task.
Self-efficacy affects people's idea on destiny. Bandura showed that people of differing self-efficacy perceive the world in fundamentally different ways. People with a high self-efficacy are generally of the opinion that they are in control of their own lives; that their own actions and decisions shape their lives. On the other hand, people with low self-efficacy may see their lives as somewhat out of their hands.
Domestic research by Yong Zhou and Qi Dong showed that there are three factors that affect students' self-control on their study, they are learning motivation, attribution and self-efficacy. According to the further research, they found that the factor of self-efficacy plays the most important role of the matter and attribution is the second, learning motivation the least .
Xingye Yu, Master of Education from Nanjing Normal University, argued that perceived academic self-efficacy is the good ''predictive tool'' of academic achievements. Such important learning variables as perceived academic self-efficacy and attribution, goal setting, learning interests, learning and examination anxiety, self-regulating have very close relation. Perceived academic self-efficacy directly influences the academic achievements on one hand, and also affects them by influencing the above variables on the other hand. Perceived academic self-efficacy, therefore, is of great significance for the students' learning and their development of whole life.
2.2.2 Factors affecting self-efficacy
There are several factors that affect self-efficacy. Bandura pointed out four sources affecting self-efficacy, that was enactive attainment, vicarious experience, social persuasions and physiological factors. First of all, "Mastery experience" is the most important factor leading a person's self-efficacy. Simply put, success raises self-efficacy, failure lowers it. Secondly, when people see someone succeeding at something, their self-efficacy will increase; and when they see people failing, their self-efficacy will decrease. This process is more effectual when a person sees himself or herself as similar to his or her own model. If a peer who is perceived as having similar ability succeeds, this will usually increase an observer's self-efficacy. Although not as influential as experience, modeling is a powerful influence when a person is particularly unsure of himself or herself. Thirdly, social persuasions relate to encouragements and discouragements. It can have a strong influence. Most people remember times where something said to them significantly altered their confidence. While positive persuasions increase self-efficacy, negative persuasions decrease it. It is generally easier to decrease someone's self-efficacy than to increase it. Fourthly, in unusual, stressful situations, people commonly exhibit signs of distress like shakes, aches and pains, fatigue, fear, nausea, etc. A person's perceptions of these responses can markedly alter a person's self-efficacy. It is the person's belief in the implications of their physiological response that alters their self-efficacy, rather than the sheer power of the response .