The Relationship Between Attribution and EFL Proficiency: A Survey and Experimental Study

1. Introduction

In the study “Attribution and learning English as a foreign language” by Matthew, the author attempts to find out if there is a relationship between attribution and EFL (English as a foreign language) proficiency, as well as whether there are differences in attributions made by male and female students, and students from different disciplines. In order to investigate this, the author carried out two studies. The first was a survey of 449 university students in Taiwan, which asked about their attributions for success and failure in English learning, their gender and academic discipline. The second study was an experiment with 72 university students in Taiwan, who were asked to attribute their success or failure on an English proficiency test to either ability or effort. The results of both studies showed that there was a positive relationship between attribution and EFL proficiency: those who attributed their success to ability were more likely to have higher proficiency, while those who attributed their failure to lack of ability were less likely to have higher proficiency. In addition, the results showed that female students attributed their success more to ability than male students, and that students from disciplines such as science and engineering attributed their success more to ability than those from other disciplines such as social sciences and humanities. These findings suggest that attribution plays an important role in EFL learning, and that there are gender and disciplinary differences in how students attribute their success or failure.

2. Methodology

The first study was a survey of 449 university students in Taiwan. The participants were asked about their attributions for success and failure in English learning, their gender, and their academic discipline. The attributions were measured on a 7-point scale ranging from 1 (definitely not true) to 7 (definitely true). The disciplines were divided into three groups: science and engineering (n=149), social sciences (n=141), and humanities (n=159). The results showed that there was a positive relationship between attribution and EFL proficiency: those who attributed their success to ability were more likely to have higher proficiency, while those who attributed their failure to lack of ability were less likely to have higher proficiency. In addition, the results showed that female students attributed their success more to ability than male students, and that students from disciplines such as science and engineering attributed their success more to ability than those from other disciplines such as social sciences and humanities.

The second study was an experiment with 72 university students in Taiwan. The participants were asked to attribute their success or failure on an English proficiency test to either ability or effort. The results showed that there was a positive relationship between attribution and EFL proficiency: those who attributed their success to ability were more likely to have higher proficiency, while those who attributed their failure to lack of ability were less likely to have higher proficiency. In addition, the results showed that female students attributed their success more to ability than male students, and that students from disciplines such as science and engineering attributed their success more to ability than those from other disciplines such as social sciences and humanities. These findings suggest that attribution plays an important role in EFL learning, and that there are gender and disciplinary differences in how students attribute their success or failure.]

FAQ

Attribution theory posits that learners' beliefs about the causes of their successes and failures affect their motivation and learning strategies.

Attributions have a significant impact on learning outcomes in English as a foreign language.

Different attributions can lead to different motivational states and learning strategies.

Beliefs about intelligence can impact second language acquisition negatively or positively depending on the individual learner's interpretation of those beliefs.

It is possible to change negative attributional patterns, but it may be difficult to do so without outside support such as that provided by a teacher or tutor.

The implications of this research for teachers of English as a foreign language are that they should be aware of the importance of attribution theory in second language acquisition and strive to create an environment in which all learners feel motivated to succeed.

Attribution theory posits that people's explanations for successes and failures affect their motivation and subsequent performance. Those who attribute their success to factors within their control (e.g., effort) are more likely to be motivated to continue learning and trying new things, whereas those who attribute their success to external factors (e.g., luck) are more likely to give up when faced with difficulties. The relationship between attributions and learning outcomes has been well-established in the research literature; students who make internal, controllable attributions for their successes are more likely to persevere in the face of setbacks and achieve better long-term outcomes than those who make external, uncontrollable attributions. Different attributions can also affect motivation in different ways. For example, students who attribute their success to innate ability may be less motivated to put forth effort because they believe that they do not need to work hard in order to succeed. On the other hand, students who attribute their success to effort may be more motivated because they believe that they can improve their performance through hard work. Beliefs about intelligence also play a role in second language acquisition. Students who believe that intelligence is fixed tend to give up easily when faced with difficulties, as they believe that there is nothing they can do to improve their performance. On the other hand, students who believe that intelligence is malleable are more likely to persist in the face of challenges and ultimately learn the second language more effectively. Although we cannot always control our attributional patterns, it is possible to change negative attributional patterns that lead to low motivation and poor performance. This can be done by teaching learners how attributions affect motivation and learning strategies, and by helping them develop more positive attributional patterns. Additionally, teachers can create a classroom environment that supports positive attributional patterns by providing opportunities for success and offering feedback that emphasizes effort over ability