Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Using Comprehension Strategies for Students' Self-Efficacy, Anxiety, and Proficiency in Reading English as a Foreign Language

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Using Comprehension Strategies for Students' Self-Efficacy, Anxiety, and Proficiency in Reading English as a Foreign Language

Article excerpt

Learning to read the English language is a complicated process for Taiwanese students, because it involves an intricate mix of inextricably linked linguistic and nonlinguistic factors, such as the use of comprehension strategies, perceptions of self-efficacy, reading anxiety, and syntactic differences between the Chinese and English languages (Keskin, 2014; Liu & Samimy, 2012). Taiwanese teachers, under pressure to meet the requirements of entrance examinations, have tended to focus on instruction in learning to read the English language, rather than learning to speak the language (Wu, Yen, & Marek, 2011). To enable Taiwanese students to read English effectively and efficiently for academic and professional success, researchers should further investigate English reading comprehension strategies, perceptions of English reading self-efficacy, and English reading anxiety in the context of learning to read English in Taiwan.

Previous findings have shown that the use of comprehension strategies can help students not only to better comprehend English (H.-C. Huang, Chern, & Lin, 2009; Lien, 2011) but can also help to improve their reading self-efficacy and decrease their reading anxiety (Gahungu, 2007; Naseri & Zaferanieh, 2012). In the context of education, self-efficacy is learners' beliefs in their capabilities to exercise control over task demands and succeed in learning tasks (Bandura, 1986, 1999; Ghonsooly & Elahi, 2011). When a learner expects success, self-efficacy is higher; when a learner expects failure, self-efficacy is lower. Magogwe and Oliver (2007) showed that highly self-efficacious students tended to use language learning strategies, such as cognitive, memory-related, compensatory affective strategies, more frequently than less self-efficacious students. Gahungu (2007) investigated the relationships among language learning strategy use, self-efficacy, and language proficiency in foreign language learners, and found that there were significantly positive relationships among the three variables. Chularut and DeBacker (2004) found that when students of English as a second language used concept mapping as a learning strategy, their self-efficacy and English proficiency increased because students use this strategy to increase meaningful learning by creating a visual picture through concept maps that are top-down diagrams showing interrelatedness among concepts (Coffey, Hoffman, & Cañas, 2006). Wang, Hu, Zhang, Chang, and Xu (2012) also showed that in Chinese college students learning English as a foreign language there was a significant relationship among their use of comprehension strategies, self-efficacy, and English learning achievement.

Students' English reading self-efficacy level not only affects the way they face challenging tasks (Bandura, 1986), but also the degree of anxiety that they experience while performing tasks associated with reading English (Bandura, 1986; Usher & Pajares, 2006). When they are reading in the English language for fun, students do not experience reading anxiety (Q. Huang, 2012). However, when students must read English for tests, they may have difficulty with comprehension and, hence, experience anxiety (Q. Huang, 2012). Cabansag (2013) found that when students learning English as a foreign language face unfamiliar scripts or cultural material, they may experience reading anxiety while processing textual meanings. Wishing to avoid making errors, they gradually lose confidence in exploring and enjoying stories or articles written in English. However, Lau and Chan (2003) indicated that Chinese people who are skilled readers of English know how to use various comprehension strategies to construct a meaningful understanding of the text, but unskilled readers simply read the text word by word.

Thus, our literature review shows that using comprehension strategies can help students not only to better comprehend the English they are reading but also improve their self-efficacy in regard to reading English, and reduce their anxiety. …

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