1.1 Research Background
1.1.1 English Learning in Primary School
With the dominant status of western countries in technology and economy and therapid development of economy and science all over the world, English has become oneof the most widely used languages. It is listed as the basic skill that must be masteredin the 21st century. In China, people’s English proficiency directly influences theirchances in education and career. For students, their achievements in English are greatlyconnected with their possibility to pass the entrance or graduation examinations. Forjob-hunters, it will be more possible to get a job if he or she is better at English thanthe other competitors. For a man at work, even if there is limited chance to learn orwork in an English-speaking country, but people with better English proficiency arealso more possible probable to get the chance. Thus, English has become an importantsubject in all kinds of schools in our country for a long time.
According to the regulations from the Ministry of Education in 2001, all theprimary school students should start their English learning from the third grade. Inrecent years, more and more urban schools have begun English classes at the firstgrade in primary school. Some children even start to learn English in kindergartens,especially in some private or international kindergartens. Besides, as income grows,some parents have been aware of the importance of learning English at an early ageand have sent their children to English classes out of school.
1.2 Significance of the Study
The differences among learners in physical aspects, such as gender and age, or inpsychology aspects, such as anxiety, motivation, attribution, learning self-efficacy,learning strategies and so on, influence the result of English learning at different levels.Arnold believed that great attention should be paid to psychological aspects whichcould lead to more effective language teaching (Arnold, 2000). One of the most critical influence factors on English is English learning self-efficacy. Taking the status ofprimary school English learning, the characteristics of higher-grade students and theirEnglish learning and the effect of English learning self-efficacy into consideration, thispaper aims to study the current situation, gender differences and factors that influencethe primary school higher-grade students’ English learning self-efficacy. The authorhopes to make a contribution to primary school English learning and teachingtheoretically and practically.
Practically speaking, for the students, the studies on the current situation and thefactors that influence their English learning self-efficacy can make them realize thatamong the factors affecting English achievements, the key factor may not be Englishknowledge and skills but their self-efficacy on their English learning. Meanwhile theirself-efficacy on their English learning can be changed through specific training.Therefore, suggestions given in this thesis to train their English learning self-efficacywill be of great help for them to build confidence to overcome the difficulties and keepinterest in English learning.
Chapter TwoLiterature Review
2.1 Definition of Self-efficacy
In 1977, the basic theory of self-efficacy was first proposed by Albert Bandura, anAmerican cognitive psychologist. His article Self-efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theoryof Behavioral Change provides a fundamental theory to the subsequent researches andapplications in almost all the psychology and sociology fields. In the article, Bandurahas regarded self-efficacy as an expectation of whether individuals’ ability can act in aparticular situation. He also stated that the expectation is the intermediary betweencognition and behavior and the decisive facto