Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Relationship between Iranian Intermediate Efl Learners' Self-Esteem and Cohesion, Grammatical Accuracy and Use of Personal Pronouns in Their Written Discourse

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Relationship between Iranian Intermediate Efl Learners' Self-Esteem and Cohesion, Grammatical Accuracy and Use of Personal Pronouns in Their Written Discourse

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

The world is changing very fast and as a result, there are a lot of challenge struggles, and problems for all age groups to overcome. In recent years, the importance of affective factors like anxiety, inhibition, motivation and self-esteem has been of interest in humanistic and educational settings.

Baumeister, Campbell, Krueger and Vohs (2003) asserted that in the 1970s, it might seem possible to claim that self-esteem had a causal effect on every aspect of human life, and by the 1980s, the California government might well have been persuaded that finding a task force to increase the self-esteem of Californians would ultimately produce a very big financial return because reducing welfare dependency, unwanted pregnancy, school failure, crime, drug addiction, and other problems would save large amounts of tax payers' money. However, as Marx, Freud, and other outstanding theorists could state if they were alive today, even the most elegant and convincing theories about human behavior do not generally receive empirical support from all aspects. So it is evident that not all the excessive claims of the self-esteem are supported.

The theories and ideas related to human behaviors and affective factors are effective in the educational contexts, as well. This fact is more influential in the field of language learning especially learning a foreign or a second language. Oneof the most outstanding affective variable is self-esteem. Self-esteem is regarded as a crucial factor in personal happiness and effective functioning. People want and need high self-esteem to overcome their problems effectively, to feel better, and to reach personal goals. Scholars believe that any normal child can learn a first language. However, when it comes to the learning of foreign languages, especially at the later stage, there are factors which can either inhibit or enhance the process of learning. These factors can be cognitive, affective, biological and socio-cultural variables (Stern, 1983).

In this regard, Wells and Marwell (1976) asserted that self-esteem is considered a central concept in the literature of the social sciences from William James' pioneer work in 1890 up to now; since then thousands of studies have reported the influence of self-esteem on human behavior. Feelings of inadequacy, a sense of unworthiness, increased anxiety, depression, suicide, child abuse, mental disorders and other negative phenomena have been closely related to lack of self-esteem (Skager&Kerst 1989).

As mentioned earlier, it is evident that self-esteem is effective in all aspects of life, especially in learning. Learning English involves challenges and risk-taking; so to cope with these a learner needs to esteem himself/herself positively. Around this issue, Brown (2000) maintained that "no successful activity can occur without some degree of self-esteem" (p.145). Further, Branden (1994) stated that "the value of selfesteem lies not in the fact that it allows us to feel better but that it allows us to live better, to respond to challenges and opportunities" (p.5).

Considering affective factors during learning can be helpful in foreign language learning contexts. Learning a foreign language includes mastery of four skills among which the writing skill seems to be more challenging and demanding for EFL learners. Writing is an interactive skill between the reader and the writer. It is considered a complex process because it goes through different stages (i.e., prewriting, writing and editing) to reach its final format. Moreover, it involves mental processes, thinking and rethinking to produce sentences. However, writing is usually defined as products (essays, formal reports, letters ...etc.). When it is defined as a process, the other involved aspects are usually ignored, such as grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, organization and so on. Therefore, it can be argued that writing is the process that includes several subcomponents. …

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