While the impacts of feedback on pupils’ learning are well-established, it is less clear what factors influence the ways teachers provide feedback. To help rectify this, an article published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology examines how teachers’ perceptions of task difficulty and views of intelligence influence whether and how they give feedback.
The study was conducted with 169 English teachers from Chinese
primary schools attending an English summer school for enhancing teacher
skills. Teachers were given six scenarios to read, each of which described a
lesson where the teacher asked a designated pupil to complete a task. In three
of the scenarios, the pupil succeeded, while in the other three scenarios, the pupil
failed. After reading each scenario, teachers were asked to rate their
perception of task difficulty, the likelihood of giving feedback, and the
likelihood of giving both person and process forms of feedback. Moreover,
teachers completed a measure assessing their views on whether intelligence is
malleable. The results showed that:
teachers were more likely to provide feedback
following success than failure
following pupils’ failure, teachers were more
likely to provide process feedback rather than person feedback
when the tasks were perceived to be
challenging, teachers were more likely to provide feedback
teachers who believed more in the view that
intelligence was fixed reported that they would give more person and process
praise, but following failure gave more process feedback.
The authors recommend that future research could explore in detail what feedback teachers in other cultures provide and the underlying reasons, with the goal of enriching our understanding of the entire feedback mechanism in order to benefit pupils.
Source: Examining teachers’ ratings of feedback following success and failure: a study of Chinese English teachers (December 2019), British Journal of Educational Psychology, Volume 89, Issue 4
A recent study published in Learning and Individual Differences investigates the effects of an intervention in China that enhances teachers’ approaches to conveying high expectations to pupils.
The researchers randomly selected two schools in an urban area of
a city in south China. Four grade 8 (Year 9) English teachers in each school
were randomly chosen and evenly assigned to either the intervention or control
group. While the control group teachers did not receive training, the
intervention group teachers were provided with training workshops focusing on
three strands of high-expectation behaviour, namely, giving pupils challenging
tasks, providing affirmation or suggestions to pupils about their performance,
and enhancing how teachers impart personal regard to pupils.
Teachers were asked to estimate the final exam score they believed each pupil would achieve for the study to categorise pupils into high-, middle- and low-expectation groups. Then, the researchers selected 30 pupils from each class, consisting of 10 each of high-, middle-, and low-expectation pupils, to participate in the study. Among the 240 pupils selected, 229 pupils provided complete data for analysis. Pupils’ self-concepts regarding English and the English test achievement of 113 pupils from the intervention group and 116 pupils from the control group were gathered at the end of Grade 7 (Year 8) and at the middle and the end of Grade 8 (Year 9).
Results showed that:
While the self-concept of pupils from the
control group significantly declined from the end of grade 7 (Year 8) to the
end of grade 8 (Year 9), the self-concept of mid- and low-expectation pupils
from the intervention group significantly increased over the year.
English achievement increased for pupils in
the intervention group, while no significant changes were found among pupils in
the control group.
Low-expectation pupils exhibited the most
gains in both self-concept and achievement.
The authors conclude that teachers giving challenging tasks, detailed feedback, and enhanced personal regard to pupils has a positive impact on improving pupils’ self-belief and academic achievement.
Source: Teacher expectation intervention: Is it effective for all students? (August 2019), Learning and Individual Differences, Volume 74
Maths achievement has been thought to be interrelated with self-concept, interest, and effort. In a recent longitudinal study published in Contemporary Educational Psychology, researchers examined how these factors influence each other over time using a sample of Grade 8 (Year 9) pupils in China.
A total of 702 pupils in
Grade 8 from 14 classes in two public schools in East and South China completed
an assessment of their maths achievement, homework self-concept, interest and
effort at six weeks after the start of the school year and at the end of the
school year. The analysis showed that:
Reciprocal effects were found between maths self-concept
and achievement, effort and achievement, as well as interest and effort.
In particular, the authors found that higher
homework interest led to higher subsequent effort, and higher prior effort
could promote higher homework interest.
had no significant effect on subsequent interest, but prior interest led to
higher self-concept, possibly reflecting the positive homework attitude among
The authors suggest that the reciprocal effects indicated that simultaneously improving homework self-concept, interest, effort and maths achievement is a more effective approach. Specifically, attention should be paid to how homework interest and effort can be promoted more effectively.
Source: Reciprocal effects of
homework self-concept, interest, effort, and math achievement (October 2018), Contemporary Educational Psychology
Several studies have related the benefits of future planning to academic achievement, but not many have examined whether academic achievement also influences how pupils plan their future. Zhao and colleagues from Shandong Normal University conducted a longitudinal study to examine the relationship between Chinese middle school pupils’ academic achievement and future planning in educational and occupational domains.
The study included three
assessments six months apart from spring 2014 to spring 2015 in Shandong
Province in eastern China. A total of 775 pupils from sixth to eighth grade (Years
7–9) participated in the first assessment wave. The questionnaire measured pupils’
future explorations, commitments, and affects concerning future education and
occupations. Data on their academic achievement were collected from school
records of their scores in Chinese, English and maths. The relationships were
analysed with data collected at different times.
The analysis showed that:
were reciprocal relationships between academic achievement and pupils’ future
relationships were not seen between academic achievement and future planning in
the occupational domain.
relationship to achievement was more robust than that of exploration to
relationships were the same for both boys and girls.
The authors suggest that
understanding the importance of educational performance led middle school pupils
to invest more effort into improving achievement. The social status brought by
high academic achievement in Chinese society might also trigger positive
affects concerning future planning.
Source: Longitudinal relations between future planning and adolescents’ academic achievement in China (August 2019), Journal of Adolescence, Volume 75
Self-regulated learning has been regarded as essential for effective learning. Research suggests that self-regulated learning is associated with academic performance, but different self-regulated learning strategies are not equally effective. Addressing the gap that occurred for Chinese pupils because few studies conducted in Asia were included in a previous meta-analysis, a meta-analysis published in Frontiers in Psychology has investigated what the most effective strategies for Chinese pupils were.
Using Chinese academic databases, Junyi Li and colleagues analysed 264 independent samples that involved 23,497 participants from 59 studies. In order to be included in this meta-analysis, studies had to be conducted in real teaching situations; studies based on online learning environments were excluded. Furthermore, participants had to be primary, middle, or secondary school pupils in China. The effect sizes of self-regulated learning strategies on academic achievement were analysed. The results showed that:
Among the self-regulated learning strategies, self-efficacy (ES = +0.70), self-evaluation (ES = +0.72), and task strategies (ES = +0.60) had relatively large effect sizes on academic achievement.
On the other hand, the effect sizes of goal orientation (ES = +0.09) and attributions (ES = +0.27) were relatively small.
The effect sizes of self-regulated learning on science (ES = +0.45) were larger than those on language (ES = +0.29).
authors suggest that task strategies supported learning by reducing a task to
its key parts, that self-evaluation helped learners compare results with their
goals, and that self-efficacy helped learners to use their resources.
Source: What are the effects of self-regulation phases and strategies for Chinese students? A meta-analysis of two decades research of the association between self-regulation and academic performance (December 2018), Frontiers in Psychology
In recent years, interventions that apply positive psychology principles have become increasingly popular, providing an alternative approach to promoting pupils’ well-being. A recent research study published in Frontiers in Psychology examined a positive education programme in China focusing on positive emotion for middle school pupils.
Participants were drawn from a public middle school in the city of Chengdu, China. A total of 173 eighth graders (Year 9) from six classes participated in the study, of which three classes (84 pupils) were randomly allocated to the intervention group, and three classes (89 pupils) were assigned to the control group. Pupils in the intervention group received a 10-session positive education programme delivered by their teachers who received training in positive psychology from the researchers. The programme consisted of three main modules, namely understanding emotions, fostering positive emotions, and managing negative emotions. Each session lasted 45 minutes. Pupils in the control group spent the same time taking a moral education class that covered moral character, school discipline and class culture building.
Pupils completed online assessments (a Chinese version of the
PROMIS paediatric scale) measuring depressive symptoms before and after the
intervention. The study found that:
The level of depressive symptoms for pupils in both groups increased as measured by the post-test.
However, compared to the pupils in the control group, the increase in the level of depressive symptoms of pupils in the intervention group was significantly less.
The authors suggest that compared to correcting pupils’ behaviours,
positive interventions which keep pupils intrinsically motivated could also
help pupils improve their life in an effective way.
education interventions prevent depression in Chinese adolescents (June 2019), Frontiers in Psychology, volume 10