Language Learning Histories and Learner Variables in an MA TEFL Programme: A Well-being Perspective

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

Urmia University

Abstract

 
Highlighting the complex and dynamic nature of learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL) from the perspective of the well-being theory and following an intact group design, this study analyzed Iranian MA TEFL students' (N = 37) language learning histories with regard to their language learning strategy use, multiple intelligences, language learning aptitude, and resiliency. T-test revealed a few significant differences in the 24 components of well-being (VIA Institute of Character, 2014) in students' language learning histories between males and females. Qualitative analysis of ten students' coping strategies in negative circumstances showed that their language learning experiences included positive/negative emotions, meaningful engagement, relationships, and accomplishments albeit with some differences. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis revealed that learner variables play significant roles in shaping students' well-being. Detailed results along with discussions and implications for theory and practice are presented in the study.

Keywords


1. Introduction

With regard to the importance of psychology in education and particularly the inclusion of different learner variables in a context of a complex dynamic system, Erikson (1950) proposed a theory of psychological development that he called 'humanism'. Humanistic psychology centers on individual's growth and authenticity and offers theoretical roots for positive psychology (Linley, Joseph, Maltby, Harrington, & Wood, 2011). The theory has recently been used in the field of second/foreign language (S/FL) teaching and learning as a theoretical framework with some adaptations of the standard theory of well-being which fully captures the idea of complex dynamic systems (e.g., Oxford & Cuéllar, 2014). Dörnyei (2009) states that in any complex dynamic system, like language learning, "high-level mental attributes and functions are determined by a complex set of interconnected components that continuously evolve over time" (pp. 195-196) in an organic, holistic, nonlinear, interactive fashion (Mercer, 2011). The well-being theory uses the acronym PERMA to denote "positive emotion, engagement, meaning, positive relationships, and accomplishment" (Seligman, 2011, p. 12). PERMA includes 24 character strengths divided into six virtues by VIA Institute of Character (2014), namely, wisdom and knowledge (including creativity, curiosity, critical thinking, love of learning, and perspective), courage (including bravery, perseverance, authenticity, and zest), humanity (including love, kindness, and social intelligence), justice (including teamwork, fairness, and leadership), temperance (including forgiveness, humility, prudence, and self-regulation), and transcendence (including appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude, hope, humor, and spirituality). However, Oxford (2014) believed that PERMA elements are not independently definable and measureable and that they do not pay due attention to the influence of negative emotions, so she revised it and mapped the character strengths into four umbrella terms: positive and negative emotions, meaningful engagement, relationships, and accomplishment.

Among learner factors which relate to a student's ability to succeed in language learning are Language Learning Aptitude (LLA), Language Learning Strategy (LLS) use, intelligence, and Resiliency which can help him/her to cope with difficult circumstances in learning and influence his/her well-being. Within a cognitive information processing paradigm, LLA has been defined by Robinson (2005) as strengths that every learner might have in their cognitive abilities. These strengths are required for information processing both during second language learning process and for performance, in different contexts and at various stages. LLSs as defined by Oxford (1990) are "specific actions taken by the learner to make learning easier, faster, more enjoyable, more self-directed, more effective, and more transferable to new situations" (p. 8). Resiliency consists of "patterns of positive adaptation during or following significant adversity or risk" (Masten, Cutuli, Herbers, & Reed, 2011, p. 18). Finally, intelligence is not a single entity in itself but consists of various elements such as verbal comprehension, perceptual organization, working memory, and processing speed, among others (e.g., Fleetham, 2014). Intelligence was operationalized in the present research in the form of multiple intelligences (MI) defined as the innate ability of human beings to think, identify, analyze, and work out problems for specific purposes, under their own management and direction, in particular social-historical and physical contexts (Chongde & Tsingan, 2003). The present study was an attempt to identify the connections between these learner variables in light of the well-being theory. In so doing, this research was set to analyze Master of Arts (MA) in Teaching English as Foreign Language (TEFL) students' Language Learning Histories (LLHs); then investigated their LLA, LLS use, MI, and resiliency. This theory has not been investigated in the field of L2/FL teaching adequately so far (Oxford, 2014).

2. Literature Review

It is claimed that rough ideas of well-being (i.e., 'what it is for a single life to go well', Griffin, 1986, p. 7) exist, but require further stipulation. Griffin sets about providing a clearer and more defensible concept, eventually considered in terms of its application in the political and moral domains and sees well-being as "the fulfilment of desires that persons would have if they appreciated the true nature of their objects" (p. 11). Based on individual differences, VIA Institute of Character (2014) offered a theory of well-being which included 24 character strengths under six general virtues: a) Wisdom and knowledge [Cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and use of knowledge]: Creativity: Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things; Curiosity: Taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake; Critical thinking: Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; Love of learning: Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one's own or formally; Perspective: Being able to provide wise consultation to others; b) Courage [Emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external or internal]: Bravery: Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; Perseverance: Finishing what one starts; Authenticity: Speaking the truth but more broadly presenting oneself in a genuine way and acting in a sincere way; Zest: not doing things half-way or half-heartedly; c) Humanity: Interpersonal strengths that involve tending and debriefing others: Love: Valuing close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated; Kindness: Doing favors and good deeds for others; Social intelligence (Emotional intelligence): Being aware of the motives and feelings of other people and oneself; d) Justice [Civic strengths that underlie healthy community life]: Teamwork: Working well as a member of a group or team; Fairness: Treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice; Leadership: Encouraging a group of which one is a member to get things done and at the same time maintaining good relations within the group; e) Temperance [Strengths that protect against excess]: Forgiveness: Forgiving those who have done wrong; Humility: Letting one's accomplishment speak for themselves; Prudence: Being careful about one's choices; Self-regulation: Regulating what one feels and does; f) Transcendence [Strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning]: Appreciation of beauty and excellence: Noticing and appreciating beauty and excellence and/or skilled performance in various domains of life, from nature to art, to mathematics to science to everyday experience: Gratitude: Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen; Hope (Optimism); Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it; Humor: Liking to laugh and tease; Spirituality: Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of universe.

Recently, following VIA Institute of Characters' (2014) framework of well-being, Oxford (2014) proposes a framework of well-being that includes four elements which she claims can be used to understand the well-being EFL students experience in their language learning histories. As she defines these four categories they include: a. positive/negative emotions (emotional responses): joy, interest, love, contentment, pride, happiness, gratitude, pleasure, eagerness, effort, feelings of success or failure, anticipatory tension, anxiety, sadness, self-retribution, disappointment, fatigue, and boredom; b. meaningful engagement (motivation, meaning, and commitment): intrinsic motivation, flow, self-determination, and investment; c. relationships: healthy interpersonal relationships; and d. accomplishments (achievements and strategies): the development of general proficiency in the L2, achievement in a particular curriculum or course, effective use of the language, self-regulated behavior, any other achievement related to L2 learning, the accomplishments are aided by the use of L2 learning strategies.

Oxford (2014) puts forward that some learner variables may affect their well-being. Particularly, it may happen that in a single classroom, students of the same levels of language learning proficiency could enjoy different levels of LLA or vice versa, a less likely desirable situation which may be due to the inappropriate testing methods used to place students. Still one other main factor in every body's life is intelligence whose new theories view it as a synthesis of various elements (e.g., Gardner, 1999). Language learners also differ in their MI which greatly influences their learning success. With regard to learners' histories, when learners have to deal with especially negative experiences, the amount of resiliency each student may show really determines whether the student will cope with a bad event successfully or will let the traumatic consequences remain with him/her all through the life, especially as Oxford (2014) claims, occasionally a negative emotion serves as a helpful wake-up call to change something, particularly in resilient learners.

In an article which compared the language learning experiences of two extreme cases of English as a second language learners, Oxford (2014) found that under the adapted framework of well-being theory, the strategies and learners’ negative or positive responses to numerous difficulties and their consequences on their learning success can be accurately understood. She found that one of her participants was highly strategic and had a very positive language learning experience while the other was a less strategic learner and had long lasting response to a single traumatic situation. Only recently is positive psychology overtly being used as a theoretical framework particularly with some adaptations of the standard theory of well-being (e.g., Oxford & Cuéllar, 2014). In their study, Oxford and Cuéllar (2014) using the principles of positive psychology and narrative research, analyzed the language learning experiences of five language learners of Chinese. They applied Seligman's (2011) PERMA model and found language learning to be a major journey in self-discovery and tied richly to positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment.

Studies have found positive relationships between elements of well-being and academic achievement and success (e.g., Elias & Haynes, 2008). For example, Wentzel (2007) explored students' cognitive representations of what they are trying to achieve. Her work showed how students' academic accomplishments are influenced by the integrated contribution of multiple social and academic goals, and in particular how the pursuit of nonacademic forms of competence such as social competence interacts positively with the development of academic competence. Her work also drew attention to the important role of social and emotional well-being in motivating learning, and stimulated research interest in exploring various social and academic goals in educational settings (e.g. Horst, Finney, & Barron, 2006). On the role of resiliency, some studies have shown that even children with disorders can achieve greater well-being and success if they are resilient (Kumar, Steer, & Gulab, 2010). In a context of secondary school in China where the well-being of students was found to be generally low as a result of academic pressure, Zhang (2016) studied implementing well-being oriented education which was aimed at relieving the academic pressure on students and to better support their learning and development. The researcher found that after three years of adopting positive expectation of student development through student-centered approach in curriculum adaptation, pedagogical design, staff development, and resource management, the students’ learning and well-being generally improved; however, the researcher elaborated that positive education practices expand beyond direct teaching of well-being skills.

Despite the importance of learner histories, this variable has almost remained untouched in EFL programs in general and at MA level in particular. There is also a gap in literature concerning the effect of LLA, LLS use, MI, and resiliency on students' well-being. It is accordingly a responsibility of language education providers to understand the challenges EFL students (and in particular postgraduate students) face in learning. While dealing with a new academic culture at the university level, these students have to deal with a range of language problems, cultural differences, personal issues, so on. Positive psychology, therefore, might provide some useful tools for professors and other responsible individuals to better understand learning needs of all students. Following the principles of well-being theory, the study was designed to find answers to the following questions:

  1.  What components of well-being theory      appear in male versus female MA TEFL students' LLHs?
  2.  What are male versus female MA TEFL      students' coping strategies in negative circumstances in their LLHs?Do
  3.  What role do learner variables of LLS      use, MI, LLA, and resiliency play in shaping male versus female MA TEFL      students' well-being?

3. Method

3.1 Participants

For the first and the third research questions, 37 MA TEFL students were selected through intact group sampling. They were within the age range of 22 to 27 and studied at Kashan (N = 10; 3 males, 7 females), Tabriz (N = 12; 3 males, 9 females), and Urmia (N = 15; 7 males, 8 females) universities (in Iran). However, in order to answer the second research question, only ten students' negative circumstances and coping strategies in their LLHs were analyzed for space considerations. 

3.2 Instruments

The instruments that were used in this study included the following:

a) Some guiding questions were prepared to be given to students in order to be considered and contemplated on when they were writing their own LLHs. This tool also included a second part which was an example scenario of a student's language learning history. The researchers used students’ histories and narratives about their language learning experiences rather than journals or portfolios since as Martel (2011) states, "stories identify, unify, give meaning to [life]. Just as music is noise that makes sense, a painting is color that makes sense, so a story is life that makes sense" (p. 15, authors' insertion).

b) A test of LLA (adapted Modern Language Aptitude Test, Carrol & Sapon, 1983) consisting of five parts, namely, number learning, phonetic script, spelling clues, words in sentences, and paired associates that were representative of a number of constructs underlying LLA. Carrol (1965) identified four key constructs in the LLA test, namely phonemic coding ability, grammatical sensitivity, inductive language-learning ability, and rote-learning ability.

c) An MI test (McKenzie, 1999) that included 90 items measuring nine types of intelligence, namely, natural, musical, logical-mathematical, existential, interpersonal, bodily-kinesthetic, verbal-linguistic, intrapersonal, and visual-spatial intelligences. Ten items were used to measure each type of intelligence.

d) An LLS use test including 50 Likert-scale items and some open-ended questions (Strategy Inventory for Language Learning, Oxford, 1990). It measured both direct and indirect strategies. The direct LLSs included memory strategies, compensation strategies, and cognitive strategies. The indirect strategies included metacognitive strategies, social strategies, and affective strategies.

e) A tailor-made resiliency test to measure preparation through hardiness, navigating successfully, bouncing back and recovery, and the extent of being body wise, managing energy, and building optimism (Citrin, 2012).

The reliabilities of LLS use, MI, LLA, and resiliency tests for this research were estimated through Cronbach alpha and were found to be .93, .91, .83, and .96, respectively. As regards language learning history analyses or the qualitative part of the analyses, to ensure validity, constant comparisons were made wherein the themes were continually exposed with data to make sure the best fit was accomplished and for reliability insurance, the data were coded several times with some intervals between the coding sessions (i.e., intrarater reliability).

3.3 Procedure

The study was of both qualitative (descriptive) and quantitative (inferential) nature. The students were requested to write as much as they wished about their language learning experiences including anything about actions, events, positive/negative emotions, struggles, and achievements as well as institutions that fostered or hindered their second language learning, and teachers, family members or others who influenced them. Generally speaking, they voluntarily wrote about what they thought the important aspects of their language learning experiences were. They also wrote about their strategies in coping with difficult and problematic circumstances, and were allowed to pinpoint any questions or concerns they had about their own second language learning and any lessons they personally learnt or answers they found to these questions. Then they were invited to take part in a resiliency survey and were given LLA, MI and LLS use questionnaires.

At first, students were instructed how to write LLHs in detail using some guiding questions.  An example of a student's language learning history was also provided as a potential reference. Candidates were given a period of one week for this assignment. The LLS inventory was distributed among them during the same session that instructions were given on LLHs. The students studied the instructions provided in the test and were asked to read the 50 Likert-scale items and indicate the extent to which they use each of them. The completion of this test took nearly 30 minutes. With nearly a week interval, MI test was given where candidates were asked to read each statement and indicate the extent to which these statements happen to them. The candidates completed the test in nearly 30 minutes. Then, after a 15-minute break, the LLA test was taken following detailed instructions in the manual. The test took nearly 30 minutes. The resiliency test was distributed after a few days and students were requested to read the instructions first and then to think about the statements in the test and indicate whether they agreed or disagreed with them. The task took approximately 20 minutes.

3.4 Data Analysis

First, following a grounded theory approach (Corbin & Strauss, 2007) and VIA Institute of Character's (2014) theory of well-being, the researchers identified as many detailed well-being elements as possible in MA TEFL students' LLHs. Also, after finding negative circumstances in students' LLHs and their coping strategies, comparisons were made among the emerging themes against the dimensions of Oxford's (2014) framework of well-being theory and attempts were made to find any close fit. A t-test was used to compare the two genders in terms of the components of well-being (in LLHs). Finally, a hierarchical multiple-regression analysis was conducted to find the power of independent variables (LLS use, MI, LLA, and resiliency in addition to gender) on students' well-being.

4. Results

4.1     Research Question 1: What components of well-being theory appear in male versus female MA TEFL students' LLHs?

Table 1 shows group statistics for the two genders on elements of well-being which were present in their LLHs. Out of a total of 48 cases, although both groups seemed to enjoy all the strengths, some differences were found. Males were above mean in creativity, zest, and prudence; females were above mean in critical thinking, love of learning, kindness, social intelligence, and hope; and both groups had high means in perseverance, self-regulation, appreciation of beauty and excellence, and gratitude. Both scored below mean in curiosity, perspective, bravery, authenticity, teamwork, fairness, leadership, forgiveness, humility, humor, and spirituality. The first row in the second, third, fifth, and sixth columns presents data for males (N = 13) and the second one indicates data for females (N = 24). A score of one was given if an element was evident in student’s history and zero if none was evident, with the mean being .5.

Table 1

 Group Statistics for The 24 Elements of Well-Being Across Gender

Group   statistics

 

 

 

 

Mean

Std.   Deviation

 

Mean

Std.   Deviation

Creativity

.77

.439

Team work

.31

.480

.42

.504

.29

.464

Curiosity

.38

.506

Fairness

.38

.506

.46

.509

.29

.464

Judgment

.38

.506

Leadership

.23

.439

.50

.511

.13

.338

Love of Learning

.46

.519

Forgiveness

.23

.439

.79

.415

.33

.482

Perspective

.23

.439

Humility

.08

.277

.25

.442

.29

.464

Bravery

.15

.376

Prudence

.54

.519

.25

.442

.25

.442

Perseverance

.77

.439

Self-regulation

.77

.439

.54

.509

.71

.464

Authenticity

.15

.376

Appreciation of beauty and excellence

.69

.480

.46

.509

.75

.442

Zest

.54

.519

Gratitude

.69

.480

.46

.509

.79

.415

Love

.15

.376

Hope

.31

.480

.46

.509

.50

.511

Kindness

.31

.480

Humor

.15

.376

.50

.511

.04

.204

Social Intelligence

.38

.506

Spirituality

.38

.506

.54

.509

.29

.464

 

The result of the t-test analysis is presented in Table 2. The comparison of males and females with regard to the elements of well-being in their LLHs revealed three significant differences in the strengths of 'creativity', 'authenticity', and 'love', with the first in favor of males (small effect size; eta squared = .05) and the other two in favor of females (large effect sizes; eta squared = .10). For space considerations, the Table includes statistics on elements with a significant difference only. 

Table 2

Independent Samples t-test of Well-Being Between Genders

Independent Samples   Test

 

Levene's Test for Equality   of Variances

t-test for Equality of   Means

F

Sig.

t

df

Sig.

Mean Difference

Std. Error Difference

95% Confidence Interval of   the Difference

Lower

Upper

Creativity

Equal   variances assumed

6.101

.019

2.123

35

.041

.353

.166

.015

.690

Equal   variances not assumed

 

 

2.214

27.85

.035

.353

.159

.026

.679

Authenticity

Equal   variances assumed

19.311

.000

-1.89

35

.067

-.304

.161

-.631

.022

Equal   variances not assumed

 

 

-2.07

31.49

.047

-.304

.147

-.604

-.005

Love

Equal   variances assumed

19.311

.000

-1.89

35

.067

-.304

.161

-.631

.022

Equal   variances not assumed

 

 

-2.07

31.49

.047

-.304

.147

-.604

-.005

 

4.2     Research Question 2: What are male versus female MA TEFL students' coping strategies in negative circumstances in their LLHs?Do

A snapshot of participants' coping strategies in negative circumstances is presented below, and for space considerations the whole histories are not provided. The statements are direct quotes taken from students' writings in their LLHs. In Table 3, the first column shows student’s codes, the second column indicates what the student believed was a problematic circumstance in the way of their language learning. The next column reveals student’s strategies in coping with the situation; and finally, the last column is the category of well-being which the researchers believed the student’s coping strategy belonged to.

 

Table 3

Problematic circumstances and students' coping strategies

Student   name

Negative   circumstance

strategy

Mr.   A.

Problems   in school with methods of teaching (just writing, structures, memorization   etc.);

So   attended institutions but found the only difference is the correct   pronunciation of institute teacher not the way of teaching.

Had   negative feelings towards learning English; was not motivated; the books had   not been revised for many years;

But   our teacher was more different from other teachers. He brought cassette player   to class, worked on listening, wanted students to give summaries of reading   sections. I got good scores and felt happy. THAT teacher motivated me to   learn English.

I   didn’t have time to change my bad habits before entrance exam

so   I used shortcuts to learn and to gain more; memorized lots of words and   studied English grammar

My   classmates from big cities who had attended institutions spoke English very   well, I got disappointed I couldn’t use my large vocabulary compass

It   was my strengths; I could understand sentences others couldn’t. I tried to   use them in my speaking.

Had   problems with words with wrong pronunciation;

tried   to work on my pronunciation; listened to different audio files and read   different materials and my favorite subjects

Mr.   B.

But   the biggest problem was communication with them (tourists), nobody knew   English.

Tried   to learn English and other languages

From   time to time, there was his continuation of our memories with those tourists.   And my dad’s memory inflating more and more.

In   reality I wanted to realize his dream, the only goal of my life in my day   dreams. I did it, I went for it and I worked hard and wholeheartedly.

In   the third term, due to lack of educational facilities always those teaches   and changing teachers from time to time and thinking of them in my room; At   that time as a ‘waste of time’ and because of ‘to a less degree’ my boyhood   playfulness, my motivation for it dropped.

Quickly,   however, it didn’t last long, only a two-year interval interest and motivation   revived I had an English teacher in my middle school, an old gentleman, he   always repeated me, me too, so I started looking up at him and the course   also. One day, I woke up, I looked for that ‘English on trip’ book in the   attic. I opened it, took a look and then immediately enrolled in a nice   institute under the supervision of a great conscientious man, I worked hard   with the help of great teachers there.

If   it weren’t to reach my goal, I would say I tolerated all those difficulties

by   maintaining my love, motivations, my dreams, perseverance

Mr.   C.

I   were so lazy and didn’t pay attention to my home works. My marks were so too   bad to be mentioned in English course. I had a friend that we together have   challenge with, he were in a little higher level than me with a high quality   of marks in English. He was always clicking on me and making a fool of me.

Once   upon a time, I have decided to practice well just to pass the test, all my   attention was given to dictation course, so nothing could help me. Finally I   invented my personal strategy of how to overcome in learning English.

Nobody   believed that I lonely gave 20 in dictation course. Even my teacher didn’t   believe and said that this mark is not acceptable. He said if for the next   term that we have dictation course I repeat this mark again; it will be   counted on my list marks. If I cannot repeat that I will face a lot of   tortures. This made my attitude a little weaken to English.

I   did all my best to prove that I personally had done that. I were in dilemma,   one with teacher and one with my friend. This gave me more stress of how to   pass this conquer. I did repeat that best.

Ms.   D.

It   was really important for me to improve my listening comprehension

Had   problems with listening.

I   was stressful about listening comprehension task in class but I liked reading   and writing tasks.

I   started doing different tasks, sometimes it was stressful but I pushed myself   to do it and now I think it worked/ works.

By   asking my friend’s strategies;

I   usually talk with my friends who were my classmates in language school. It   was full of funny learning events.

about   strange or different language structures and vocabulary

I   tried to create different stories and even funny theories to persuade myself

About   difficult and problematic circumstances in general

And   emotionally I used to repeat positive points and statements about my learning   and my future and I used to think that after hard days of studying there   would be good days of success.

Ms.   E.

But   the condition was not very suitable (for studying) because God gave me   a baby

 

But   when my boy was 4 years old, I decided to go to university;

I   have studied for THE conquer about 4 months then I was accepted in university   of X.

Ms.   F.

In   that class I was not so friendly with the students and that was a problem.

What   helped me the most in language learning was reading short stories and input   from teachers and professors at university in BA and M.A.

My   accent and my speaking was OK up to starting my job as a teacher.

After   that because I had to teach English to elementary learners and exposed with   them and I had to spend much time preparing myself for their classes and   speaking simplified, my English got worst, my accent disappeared, my speaking   got worst, most of the words I knew I forgot because I didn’t use them.

But   now I have intermediate classes and I have to speak more and use more   complicated structures and I attend university classes which is a great input   for me, my English improved a little bit

In   a short period, I watched BBC world news which was great but after a while I   didn’t have enough time to do that because of my university courses and   institute classes

 

No   speaking opportunity;

I   just used English classes and university classes

Ms.   G.

At   that time I hated too much homework or not having much time to play with my   friends.                                               

 

At   the first session of my English class I was frightened, because my classmates   were 15, 16 years old and I was only 7.

 

My   dictation was very bad,

 

At   the end of the term, my father encouraged me to listen to the course tapes   more than 10 times, it was right and my score was 100 and that was an   unforgettable experience for me.

Generally speaking

And   about my behavior and personality, I became more tolerant of unknown things   in every area and even I can say it increases my emotions toward literature   and poetry

Sometimes I cannot really make others   understand my aim and intention

I   use English words and sometimes it is the same about Persian.

Ms.   H.

So   I did so, and I went to these classes without even knowing what was its use   but

I   learnt English as a process of time passing

In   high school I became more proficient in digesting English, so I get more   feedback from my English teachers and I became more motivated

In   the time when my university admission exam arrived, I just wanted to study   for the medicine but I got known that I have no interest to study that course

But   my brother came to me and said that you can be more successful if you   continue in your own course and continue your English courses in a higher   level of academic

At first I got somehow disappointed   why to choose these courses that has lots of volunteers

but   later, I got used to these situation and I soon find myself and my talents to   overcome those obstacles,

Ms.   I.

When   I was at high school I didn’t like my English teacher, so I hated English

She   didn’t encourage me to study more

 

On   that time we just remembered a list of words and conversations and repeated   them

It   was meaningless to me and I was wondering about its use and benefit

 

At   the age of 18 I got married and stopped my studies

 

As   I was a good student, my family stated that you are clever why you stopped   your studies especially my mother.

My   emotions become passionate when she persisted me

I   decided to attend university entrance exam,

I   accepted and started to learn English.

But   I was working and studying at the same time

I   wasn’t interested in English enough.

Also   I didn’t make much effort to learn English. It was for the sake of grade

As a result, it took a long time for   me to become graduate

After   two years I became familiar with Mr. X who was the dean of an institute

I   liked his way of speaking English. He spoke like native English and very   fluent

I   decided to become similar to him

 

It   was an arduous task.

I   encountered countless difficulties in studying English by myself

But   I was constantly and strongly encouraged by my mother

Ms.   J.

There   were also some negative points in my language learning experience like I   remember my English teacher in junior high school (guidance school) who had   terrible pronunciation (I can dare to say that some of the students’   pronunciations were much better than her).

The   only way to teach English was by memorizing vocabularies and grammar rules   and translating to Farsi and (you know better like GTM).

Despite   this funny (to me it was funny but to other students it was OK) method, I   tried to have my own way: I used to make sentences with the new vocabularies   and grammatical points and use them in writing and speaking (I gave myself a   topic and then started to use as many new words and grammars as possible)

 

We   had a video player but the American actors talked so fast that I couldn’t   follow them

But   at least I could check my listening and pronunciation with simple words. I could   watch some English cartoons

I   felt really happy because they spoke slower and used simple words that I   could understand almost many of them

Based on above data, the problems and students' coping strategies can be categorized as followings:

 

  1. Problems with teacher: Teaching methods (course content)/; Teacher's terrible pronunciation/Teacher's threat; did not know the use and benefit of this way of learning English; Did not know the use of English classes etc.: Meaningful engagement/ Accomplishment
  1.  Problems with the educational system:      Books were not revised for many years; Lack of educational facilities: (Relying      on teachers' creative teaching techniques)/Meaningful engagement
  2.  Problems in learning: Difficulty with      listening; Strange or difficult language components; No speaking      opportunity; Bad dictation; Couldn't follow native speakers' speaking      speed; did not try much; didn’t pay attention to home works/ bad marks;      learnt it as a process of passing time, so on: Accomplishment/      Meaningful engagement/ positive emotions
  3.  Problems with peers: Comparing themselves      with more capable peers; Had challenge with a friend; Being smaller than      classmates frightened her etc.: Meaningful engagement
  4.  Problems with social-communication      skills: Difficulties in communicating in English; No friendly      relationship; Difficulties in conveying messages to others, so on.:  Positive emotions/ Accomplishment
  5.  Negative emotions: Hated too much home      work; Negative feelings towards learning/ no motivation/ no time to change      bad habits; His father’s negative reminders; Negative change in attitude      towards English etc.: Positive emotions/ Meaningful engagement
  6.  Difficult circumstances in general: positive      emotions

 

The four elements of Oxford's (2014) framework derived from students' histories included the following items:

  1.  Positive emotions: Motivation from teacher/ knowledge of one's strength; Tried to learn English and other languages/ got help under the supervision of a great conscientious man/ maintaining love, motivation, dreams, and perseverance; decided to practice well; input from teachers helped her; father's encouragements; got more feedback from teachers; became passionate/Mr. X's way of speaking; felt happy etc.
  2.  Accomplishments: Got good scores; Pushed herself to do different tasks/create different stories or funny theories to persuade herself; watched BBC world news; gaining good dictation score; became more proficient; Tried to have her own way of learning (used to make sentences with new words and grammatical points in writing and speaking/ checked her listening and pronunciation with simple words etc.
  1.  Meaningful engagement: Attending      institutions/using alternate ways of learning like shortcuts; wanted to      realize his father's dreams/ worked hard; invented a personal strategy;      became more motivated etc.
  2.  Relationships: Asking friends' strategies      etc.

 

As the data in Table 3 showed, in the first place, all the students had experienced negative circumstances in their LLHs so far which may be quite understandable as the result of the first question showed they had scores below mean on some elements of well-being. These negative conditions would be more severe for some and less severe for others. In coping with these difficult circumstances, the students used a variety of strategies, all of which were explainable by Oxford's framework of well-being. It is also clear that most of the time, students used more than one strategy in dealing with a problem. The participating students mainly used accomplishment, meaningful engagement, and positive emotions in dealing with negative circumstances in their LLHs while relationships had a small chance of being applied.

In addition, males' and females' frequency of use of coping strategies was as follows: Accomplishment as a coping strategy was used 11 times by females and 5 times by males. Positive emotions had a frequency of 14 for females and 7 for males. Meaningful engagement was favored 8 times by males and 7 times by females. Finally, relationships were used twice by females and only once by one male. So it can be concluded that females favored using accomplishment, positive emotion nearly twice more than males but in the other two elements (meaningful engagement & relationships), the difference between frequencies was only 1 with higher frequencies among males and females, respectively.

 

4.3   Research Question 3: Do learner variables of LLS use, LLA, MI, and resiliency play any significant role in shaping male versus female MA TEFL students' well-being?

Before running the regression analysis, a series of Pearson Product-moment correlations were carried out to check for the potential associations among the six virtues of well-being and the parts of LLS, MI, LLA, and resiliency, whose results are presented in Tables 4, 5, 6, and 7, respectively. As the tables show, some cases of significant correlations were found among virtues and parts of LLS, MI, and LLA, and all virtues were found to be correlated with resiliency. For space considerations, the tables include statistics on elements with significant correlations only. 

Table 4

Correlations Among Virtues and LLS Categories

Correlations

 

Wisdom-and-knowledge

Courage

Authenticity

Justice

Temperance

Transcendence

Memory

Pearson Correlation

.332*

.132

.098

.322

.215

.063

Sig. (2-tailed)

.045

.435

.565

.052

.201

.709

N

37

37

37

37

37

37

Cognitive

Pearson Correlation

.387*

.160

.093

.253

.455**

.256

Sig. (2-tailed)

.018

.343

.583

.131

.005

.126

N

37

37

37

37

37

37

Compensation

Pearson Correlation

.312

.092

.136

.353*

.284

.199

Sig. (2-tailed)

.060

.589

.422

.032

.089

.238

N

37

37

37

37

37

37

Metacognitive

Pearson Correlation

.240

.154

.031

.195

.340*

.048

Sig. (2-tailed)

.153

.361

.857

.248

.039

.777

N

37

37

37

37

37

37

Social

Pearson Correlation

.408*

.125

.242

.354*

.336*

.259

Sig. (2-tailed)

.012

.459

.149

.032

.042

.121

N

37

37

37

37

37

37

 

 

 

Table 5

Correlations among virtues and MI types

Correlations

 

Wisdom-and-knowledge

Courage

Authenticity

Justice

Temperance

Transcendence

Logical-mathematical

Pearson Correlation

.107

.236

.250

.100

.374*

.193

Sig. (2-tailed)

.530

.160

.136

.555

.023

.252

N

37

37

37

37

37

37

Existential

Pearson Correlation

.222

.298

.310

.162

.381*

.238

Sig. (2-tailed)

.187

.073

.062

.337

.020

.156

N

37

37

37

37

37

37

Interpersonal

Pearson Correlation

.156

.180

.328*

.312

.255

.173

Sig. (2-tailed)

.356

.285

.047

.060

.128

.306

N

37

37

37

37

37

37

Bodily-kinesthetic

Pearson Correlation

.362*

.295

.207

.249

.326*

.243

Sig. (2-tailed)

.027

.077

.218

.138

.049

.148

N

37

37

37

37

37

37

Verbal-linguistic

Pearson Correlation

.335*

.152

.225

.316

.305

.265

Sig. (2-tailed)

.043

.370

.180

.057

.067

.113

N

37

37

37

37

37

37

Intra-personal

Pearson Correlation

.292

.009

.278

.293

.442**

.180

Sig. (2-tailed)

.080

.957

.095

.078

.006

.286

N

37

37

37

37

37

37

Visual-spatial

Pearson Correlation

.425**

.227

.433**

.225

.469**

.309

Sig. (2-tailed)

.009

.177

.007

.180

.003

.063

N

37

37

37

37

37

37

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 6

Correlations Among Virtues and LLA Parts

Correlations

 

Wisdom-and-knowledge

Courage

Authenticity

Justice

Temperance

Transcendence

Number-learning

Pearson Correlation

.254

.185

.404*

.419**

.254

.315

Sig. (2-tailed)

.129

.272

.013

.010

.129

.057

N

37

37

37

37

37

37

Spelling-clues

Pearson Correlation

.334*

-.042

-.043

.245

-.140

.133

Sig. (2-tailed)

.043

.805

.800

.144

.408

.432

N

37

37

37

37

37

37

Words-in-sentences

Pearson Correlation

.397*

.331*

.284

.198

.115

.330*

Sig. (2-tailed)

.015

.045

.089

.241

.497

.046

N

37

37

37

37

37

37

 

Table 7

 Correlations Between Virtues and Resiliency

 

Wisdom-and-knowledge

Courage

Authenticity

Justice

Temperance

Transcendence

Resiliency

Pearson Correlation

.517**

.381*

.388*

.361*

.508**

.341*

Sig. (2-tailed)

.001

.020

.018

.028

.001

.039

N

37

37

37

37

37

37

 

As for the third research question, hierarchical multiple regression was carried out to assess the power of four control measures (i.e., the tests of LLS use, MI, LLA, and resiliency to affect students’ well-being) after controlling for the influence of students' gender. Preliminary analyses showed no violation of assumptions of normality, linearity, multicollinearity, and homoscendasticity.

LLS use, MI, LLA, and resiliency were entered at Step 1, explaining 69% of the variance in students' well-being. After entry of the gender variable at Step 2, the total variance explained by the model as a whole was 72% of the variance in students' well-being, F (5,31) = 6.72, P < .01. The two control measures explained an additional 3% of the variance in students’ well-being, after controlling for gender, R square change = .03, F change (1, 31) = .2.35, P>.05. In the final model, only the four control measures were statistically significant, with resiliency (beta = 35, P > .05), language learning aptitude (beta = .33, P < .05), multiple intelligences (beta = .22, P > .05), and language learning strategy use (beta = .17, P > .05), recording the highest to the lowest beta values, respectively. The following three tables are the results of this stage of analysis.

Table 8

 Model Summary for the Two Models of LLS Use, MI, LLA, And Resiliency as Well as Gender and Well-being

Model   Summaryc

Model

R

R   Square

Adjusted   R Square

Std.   Error of the Estimate

Change   Statistics

R   Square Change

F   Change

df1

df2

Sig.   F Change

1

.696a

.484

.419

3.664

.484

7.498

4

32

.000

2

.721b

.520

.443

3.588

.036

2.356

1

31

.135

a. Predictors: (Constant), Resiliency, LLA, MI, LLS use

b. Predictors: (Constant), Resiliency, LLA, MI, LLS use, Gender

c. Dependent Variable: WELL-BEING

 

Table 9

 ANOVA Results for the two Models of LLS Use, MI, LLA, and Resiliency, as Well as Gender, and Well-being

ANOVAa

Model

Sum   of Squares

df

Mean   Square

F

Sig.

1

Regression

402.518

4

100.630

7.498

.000b

Residual

429.482

32

13.421

 

 

Total

832.000

36

 

 

 

2

Regression

432.859

5

86.572

6.724

.000c

Residual

399.141

31

12.876

 

 

Total

832.000

36

 

 

 

a. Dependent Variable: WELL-BEING

b. Predictors: (Constant), Resiliency, LLA , MI, LLS use

c. Predictors: (Constant), Resiliency, LLA, MI, LLS use, Gender

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 10

Coefficients for LLS Use, MI, LLA, And Resiliency as Well as Gender

Coefficientsa

Model

Unstandardized   Coefficients

Standardized   Coefficients

t

Sig.

Correlations

Collinearity   Statistics

B

Std.   Error

Beta

Zero-order

Partial

Part

Tolerance

VIF

1

(Constant)

-31.090

7.878

 

-3.946

.000

 

 

 

 

 

LLS use

.029

.040

.137

.736

.467

.360

.129

.094

.466

2.145

MI

.045

.027

.288

1.661

.106

.498

.282

.211

.538

1.859

LLA

.070

.025

.392

2.755

.010

.396

.438

.350

.796

1.257

Resiliency

.041

.029

.244

1.400

.171

.557

.240

.178

.531

1.885

2

(Constant)

-35.335

8.197

 

-4.311

.000

 

 

 

 

 

LLS use

.037

.039

.172

.935

.357

.360

.166

.116

.459

2.178

MI

.035

.028

.221

1.263

.216

.498

.221

.157

.505

1.980

LLA

.060

.026

.337

2.335

.026

.396

.387

.291

.745

1.342

resiliency

.060

.031

.353

1.909

.066

.557

.324

.238

.452

2.211

Gender

2.189

1.426

.220

1.535

.135

.084

.266

.191

.751

1.332

a. Dependent Variable: WELL-BEING

5. Discussion

The present study which was an investigation into MA TEFL students' LLHs through the perspective of well-being theory found that the participating students used the 24 character strengths in their language learning experiences. Males enjoyed significantly more creativity but females experienced more authenticity and love; however, since in some cases they scored below the mean (curiosity, perspective, bravery, teamwork, fairness, leadership, forgiveness, humility, & spirituality), the total mean revealed to be low showing the students did not in general enjoy the characteristics of a good quality life which indicates they had low well-being in their learning experiences. It was also found that all of the participating students had problematic situations in their histories lending support to Oxford's framework of well-being in coping with these situations in that all of them used accomplishment, almost all of them used meaningful engagement and positive emotions, and to a lesser degree they experienced relationships. Finally, the results of the study showed correlations among the parts of LLSs, MI, LLA, and resiliency and the virtues comprising well-being and found that these four learner variables, but not gender, could contribute to MA TEFL students' well-being.

As far as this study focused on students' LLHs rather than their life histories, it can be said that the low well-being may be due to some academic pressure. University, the curriculum, or at least some courses might be threatening to students' well-being. A large number of studies which looked at language difficulties and cultural challenges faced by the students highlight a number of issues such as second or foreign language problems (e.g., Park & Son, 2011), different learning styles (Biggs, 2003) and socio-cultural problems and adjustments (Purdie, O'Donoghue, & Rosa, 1998) to be sources of reduced well-being. In a study on Chinese students’ well-being, Zhang (2016) also found students suffer from low general well-being. Further, the study found males to be more capable of creativity perhaps since naturally, males from childhood are more interested in manipulating objects and using more of their left brain capacities than females, so this strength may have a place devoted to the left hemisphere of the brain. Additionally, the last part of the analysis showed males were higher users of cognitive strategies and resiliency so it may happen cognitive strategies have something to do with creativity or that cognitive LLS use, resiliency, and creativity might be in some ways interrelated.

Because students' well-being was found to be low, it is expected that they experienced negative circumstances in their learning histories; however, they were able to cope with them and their coping strategies can be explained by Oxford's framework indicating that they were high strategic students. However, accomplishments, meaningful engagement, and positive emotions were more often used than relationships. It may be related to the personality of participants where they preferred to solve the problems with more work, self-determination, self-regulated behavior, and then achievements inserting more positive emotions and again in a chain-like model, these three elements were practiced rather than using healthy relationships with others. Furthermore, the participating students in general might have valued more self-managed strategies for improvement rather than relying on relationships or asking help from others. Intrinsically-motivated learners are well-directed and tend to work hard and make effort to improve themselves with the help of their own interior reasons: they have self-knowledge and awareness, enjoy energy, vitality, and activity, and have active life with meaningful work (e.g., Keyes, 2007). This may also be related to external factors like environment, educational context, even the contribution of religious matters, so on. As Larsen-Freeman and Cameron (2008) claim, in any complex dynamic system, just like language learning, context is not separate from other elements but part of the system and its complexity. Dewaele and MacIntyre (2014) resonate a similar claim that cultural background affects scores on enjoyment and anxiety measures of students. In line with Dörnyei's (2009) and Merce's (2011) claim about the complex dynamic nature of the entire language learning process or any kind of learning for that matter, the results of the study clearly confirm the idea of complex dynamic systems, since learner variables are quite complex systems which are shaped by the influence of many underlying variables interacting with each other in complex ways that are dynamic  with their influences, relationships, and interactions within and among themselves changing over time (e.g., Ellis & Larsen-Freeman, 2009). 

As an interesting finding, two females did not respond to two of their negative circumstances and one male and one female used negative emotions as coping strategies: for example, they felt stress but this stress helped them try harder. This shows that even negative emotions may be one element for the development of well-being rather than an obstacle to it. This is what Oxford (2014) and Truebridge (2014) agree with saying that particularly in resilient learners occasionally a negative emotion serves as a wake-up call. Oxford’s classification worked well in distinguishing coping strategies in negative circumstances, yet in most of the cases, students applied more than one strategy to cope with the problematic circumstances, an issue which cannot be explained by Oxford's framework. The research also found a few new categories not included in Oxford’s classification, like, (students D's third problem) hope or positive indoctrinate, or feeling of hatred (like G's and I’s first problems), or tolerance (G's fourth problem), or even getting used to something (H's third problem's coping strategy), and finally, feelings of hardship (I's last problem). Likewise, Oxford et al. (2015) found factors like hope, bilingual identity, and hardiness in six Costa Rican university language students’ histories which are not stated in Oxford's (2014) framework. Researchers in this study also found it difficult to separate feelings of failure (negative emotions) from problems with development (accomplishment). These are one issue in a sense, but Oxford has included them in separate categories (G's and I's third problems and J's last problem whose positive experience is concerned, in which case, we might say these are examples of feelings of success, but real academic achievements can be called accomplishments). The study also found Oxford's framework did not describe what should be said when students used two categories of one element for coping with problematic situations (e.g., once effort and feelings of success, and once gratitude both in dealing with one problem as is the case for F's second problem, or another case would be G's third problem and so on).

Some previous studies also found EFL student' LLHs is a journey tied to positive emotions, meaning and engagement, relationships, and accomplishment (e.g., Oxford & Cuéllar, 2014). In line with Oxford, et al. (2015), who in an in-depth investigation of LLHs of bilingual students found interrelated themes in their participants' histories, this study found meaningful engagement, accomplishment, positive emotions, but to a lesser degree relationships to exist in students' language learning experiences especially because they used them as coping strategies in difficult circumstances.

As far as many EFL students were found to use LLSs, to have different MI profiles and to gain good scores on their LLA tests, it can be concluded that some of the elements of well-being may be more correlated to learner variables, especially when these two separate categories are found to be related to academic achievement and success. As stated in the definitions of resiliency, it is quite understandable that it may have direct contributions to well-being. So, taking into account the complexity theory, when well-being envisages as being made of 15 types (Psychological, Subjective, Educational, Emotional, Affective, Cognitive, Mental, Physical, Eudaimonic, Hedonic, Personal, Individual, Social, Material, and Narcissistic), there should be some more moderating variables affecting the influence of learner variables on well-being framework proposed by VIA institute of character (2014). Furthermore, as students' nonacademic forms of competence such as social competence could positively influence academic success, positive relations have been found between well-being and academic success (e.g., Wentzel, 2007; Elias & Haynes, 2008). Various studies have also shown that learner variables also have such an effect. So learner variables and well-being may be related in some ways, an understanding which this small scale study realized. This issue signifies that the theory of flow and complex dynamic systems truly applies to second or foreign language learning process. Further on the relationship of learner variable and well-being, recently Oxford (2016) proposed a model for investigating the well-being of language learners which she calls EMPATHICS, standing for, a) emotion and empathy, b) meaning and motivation, c) perseverance, including resilience and hope, d) agency and autonomy, e) time, f) habits of mind, g) intelligences, h) character strengths, and i) self-factors, especially, self-efficacy. Also resiliency as defined bouncing back and recovery or preparation through hardiness (e.g. Citrin, 2012), would more be related to students' coping strategies in negative circumstances rather than their general well-being. Kumar et al. (2010) found a relationship between resiliency and well-being even if their participants were children with disorders; and other studies conducted on well-being, identity and self-esteem (Ushioda, 2009), well-being and locus of control (White, 1959), well-being and anxiety (Marcos-Llinas & Juan Garau, 2009), well-being and motivation (Csíkszentmihályi, 2013), well-being and social relationships (MacIntyre & Mercer, 2014) have found relationships between their variables of study. Similarly, Neethu and Snathosh (2014) in a comparison of spiritual well-being between teachers who implement multiple intelligences in their classrooms and those who do not found teachers who adopt MI rank higher both in their job satisfaction and their spiritual well-being and indeed there is a positive relationship between these two elements. Positive relationships were also found between critical thinking ability and spiritual intelligence and indeed the former is found to predict the latter between Iranian EFL teachers (Azizi & Azizi, 2015).

One limitation of our study which hinders generalizing results with utmost certainty is its small number of participants. Future research may be conducted to find any pattern between the problematic circumstance and the coping strategy used by the student. Similar studies can be conducted with BA or PhD students, or institute learners of English or even among students of other majors, since humans develop through several stages (Erikson, 1950). Perhaps the distribution of males versus females could be more proportionate in future studies where the role of gender would be better examined. Experimental designs could be developed where one group would receive well-being-based instruction and the other a placebo and then comparisons could be made. Future researchers may conduct experiments on the effect of learner variables such as language and cultural background, prior knowledge, LLS, MI, LLA, resiliency, rate of learning or instructional time, and attitudes towards their technical field on their coping strategies in negative circumstances. Insightful results may be revealed through distributing ready-made well-being questionnaires or measures and then investigate the impact of learner variables on students' well-being. Observation-based longitudinal studies on students' histories may produce more reliable results than following self-report procedures. Program evaluations can also be carried out in terms of the 24 character strengths comprising well-being to see whether they are encouraged in the field or not while the results of this study found variables which could influence learning and indeed considered in most of TEFL programs have the power to contribute to well-being.

As to the implications, the results of the study may be applied in designing ways in which students in a single class learn better perhaps through direct teaching of well-being skills. For instance, with the use of recent technologies in language classrooms, the character strengths can be encouraged either directly by requiring students to use them for their learning or indirectly by teachers as possible teaching techniques. Indeed, students should learn and be taught the way they need though teaching more learning strategies. To reduce academic pressure, well-being skills can also be explicitly taught to language students by adding some short-term courses with an emphasis on teaching them interpersonal, positive thinking, and resilience skills which could enable students to adjust their own expectations on academic achievement or reach out for help if needed (e.g., Chi, 2009). Training courses for students can generally promote human potential and specifically deal with self-exploration strategies and coping-skills like eager-management, conflict-resolution, communication techniques, and so on. Qian (2012) suggested that the system should respect students' individuality, so student-appropriate teaching strategies could be adapted instead of examinations to accommodate students' needs and language learning styles in that students should be given a leading role in their learning and experience success in language learning. Parent education on whole-person development can also be carried out wherein parents would be requested to adjust their expectations and to avoid over-stressing the importance of academic achievement (Gao, 2009). To fully consider these, it is the responsibility of authorities to consider the combination of these factors and propose a language curriculum which offers the best kind of teaching in terms of flourishing students' talents and helping them access their full capacities and potentials. For this goal, managing instructional programs and developing staff potentially through related training seminars and workshops could assist educational authorities in implementing well-being-based instruction. The topics which can be covered in these activities may include education for the well-being of students, co-teaching and cooperative learning, and even effective strategies for teaching in small classes, action research, peer observation of lessons, and lesson analysis. Teaching should be more related to real-life situations to make learning more meaningful, so it could be extended to real-life situations and a healthy and positive mind could be cultivated with alternative ways of learning, such as moral, aesthetic, and psychological health education (e.g., Chi, 2009). As far as it has been found that psychology is an important area in education, the study hopes to suggest a practice-based, interested-oriented, and whole-language approach to pedagogy which recognizes students' psychological needs especially through raising issues concerning programming for students with special needs, multicultural education, and second language learning. To put it in a nutshell, the results of this research are applicable in managing language learning/teaching programs, wherein the well-being of students would be considered in all aspects of teaching and assessment and wherein teaching would not follow the one-size-fits-all metaphor. In establishing visions and setting directions from the first step of developing such a program (i.e., needs analysis) to syllabus design to administration to time tabling to classroom practice to student involvement to grading to assessment of students' learning and to the evaluation of the program, the well-being principles should all be taken into account. The analyses of students' language learning histories could also provide insights for facilitating decisions regarding programme development, implementation, and evaluation. For example, all-round assessment techniques can be provided instead of merely judging a student’s performance based on academic achievement (Sha, 2005). The society and government can also be educated about how the universities can implement well-being-based instructions and more support can be sought from them. It is believed that if psychology in the form of a relaxing and positive university environment for students is considered in all areas of education including TEFL, curriculum developers will be able to provide more beneficial programs to students which will best help them achieve their full potentials and which will improve teachers' well-being as well.

6. Conclusion

When research meets practice in values education (Lovat, Toomey, & Clement, 2010), this study emphasizes the importance of integrating well-being education to the curriculum to create safe environments to improve all aspects of student learning. As the results of the research showed, participating students enjoyed well-being in their language learning histories, however, differences were found. Problematic circumstances had also been observed in students' histories where students' coping strategies proved efficient. Learner variables of LLS use, MI, LLA, and resiliency were found of significance in shaping students' well-being. Just like the idea of spider's web proposed by Morris (2011), this study found multiple variables interacting at different layers in the learning history of a student and that life cannot be divided neatly into categories is the claim which well explains the results of the study. As to the importance of well-being and learner variables in students' histories, it is recommended that in order to provide really effective instruction it may be appropriate to mobilize a school-based team where some specialists, including professors, technology experts, programme developers, administrators among others would have advanced training in how to use recent trends in technology, psychology, and education to design, administer, and apply relevant educational curriculum and how to help professors, parents, and others validly interpret the results of such programmes.

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Volume 10, Issue 2
Summer and Autumn 2016
Page 151-185
  • Receive Date: 01 June 2016
  • Revise Date: 01 November 2016
  • Accept Date: 14 December 2016