Author: HU KELI

Issue: 2023-2024


Student engagement is one of the indicators of the quality of learning and has been found to have a significant relationship with academic success. Previous research has also shown that teacher support and students’ self-efficacy have a significant impact on student engagement. However, few studies have investigated the impact of college students’ perceived teacher support on student engagement in English learning. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the mechanisms by which perceived teacher support and students’ self-efficacy influence student engagement among non-English major students in China, in order to provide some suggestions for improving the student engagement in Chinese EFL education.

The research questions in this study are intended to investigate the current status of student engagement in English learning among Chinese non-English major students, the effect of learners’ perceived teacher support on student engagement, and the mediating role of students’ self-efficacy. The study adapted the Student Engagement Scale, the Teacher Support Scale, and the Self-Efficacy Scale for non-English major students by referring to validated scales and incorporating the characteristics of Chinese students in English learning to answer the above research questions. This study designed a survey based on the three scales. In addition, this study used a semi-structured interview to supplement the study to understand the influence of teacher support on student engagement and the possible mediating role of students’ self-efficacy in this influence. The survey and the semi-structured interview were administered to sophomores from non-English majors at three general universities in Henan Province of China. The data collected from the survey were processed and analyzed with the help of SPSS 26.0 and AMOS 26.0. Meanwhile, the views of the interviewees in the semi-structured interview were extracted and categorized to complete the qualitative analysis.

The results of this study are as follows: firstly, student engagement and its three dimensions, namely behavioral engagement, emotional engagement, and cognitive engagement, are at moderately low levels. Also, there are no significant differences in student engagement by gender and major among non-English major students. Secondly, teacher support and its three dimensions, including autonomy support, emotional support, and competence support, are all at moderately low levels. The results are significant in terms of the overall impact of teacher support on student engagement, specifically, teacher autonomy support produced the greatest impact, followed by emotional support and competence support. Third, teacher support has a positive and significant mediating effect on all three dimensions of student engagement in English learning through the mediation of self-efficacy on its all three constructs.

The significance of this study is that, firstly, the three scales adapted from the survey can be used as a reference and applied in studies related to teacher support and student engagement of EFL learners. Secondly, this study suggests pedagogical approaches for English teachers regarding teacher support. For example, English teachers need to pay more attention to the needs of students (especially those who are less engaged in English learning for autonomous and affective teacher support. Thirdly, this study may provide insights for improving the English learning engagement of non-English major students and the design of college English courses. For example, students need to be more proactive in interacting with their English teachers and more proactive in regulating their emotions with the help of their English teachers when learning English courses. Also, this study provides suggestions for college English course providers and designers to help them make the most of instructor support when designing their courses.

Keywords: Self efficacy in learning, teacher support program, English secondary language program