I Am Good at It Because I Like Its Teacher: To what Extent Does Teacher Behaviour Motivate Students to Learn?

Document Type: Original Article


Department of Foreign Languages, University of Isfahan, Iran


The teachers' behaviors sometimes have a more intense and long-lasting influence than the information being transmitted; meanwhile, the concentration of much of the curriculum of teacher education has just been on the course content or teaching methods. In this study, the relationship between students' motivation and teachers' behavior is investigated based on the Model for Interpersonal Teacher Behavior (MITB). The questionnaires were distributed to 211 students of eight classes of general English course at the University of Isfahan. Results indicated that among the eight scales of the model, students' motivation is significantly positively correlated with the friendly scale, and significantly negatively correlated with dissatisfied, and reprimanding scales. This may have cultural and psychological implications. Furthermore, some modifications on the graphical presentation of the MITB are proposed and a model for an ideal English teacher in Iran is obtained and compared cross-culturally.


Artino, Anthony R., JR. (2005).  Review of the motivated strategies for learning questionnaire. (ERIC Document Reproduction in Service No. ED499083).

den Brok, P. (2001). Teaching and student outcomes. A study on teachers' thoughts and actions from an interpersonal and a learning activities perspective. Utrecht: W.C.C.

den Brok, P., Berkelmans, D., & Wubbles, Th. (2004). Interpersonal Teacher Behaviour and Student Outcomes. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 15(3–4), 407–442.

den Brok, P., Berkelmans, D., & Wubbles, Th. (2005). The effect of teacher interpersonal behaviour on Students' subject-specific motivation. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 40(2), 20–33.

den Brok, P., Fisher, D., Brekelmans, M., Rickards, T., Wubbels, Th., Levy, J., & Waldrip, B. (2003). Students' perceptions of secondary teachers' interpersonal style in six countries: a study on the validity of the Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago. (ERIC document: ED475164)

den Brok, P., Levy, J., Wubbels, Th., & Rodriguez, M. (2003). Cultural influences on students’ perceptions of videotaped lessons. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 27, 355–374.

Den Brok, L., Taconis, R., & Fisher, D. (2010). How well do science teachers do? Differences in teacher-student interpersonal behaviour between science teachers and teachers of other (school) subjects. Open Education Journal, 3, 44-53

Brown, H. D. (2007). Principles of language learning and teaching. NY: Pearson Longman.

Charalampous, K. & Kokkinos, M.K. (2013). The model of interpersonal teacher behaviour: a qualitative cross-cultural validation within the Greek elementary education context. British educational research journal, 39(1). 182-205.

Dörnyei, Z. (1998). Motivation in second and foreign language learning. Language Teaching, 31 (3), 117-135.

Dörnyei, Z. (2005). The psychology of the language learner: Individual differences in second language acquisition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Dörnyei, Z. (2009). The psychology of second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dörnyei, Z., & Otto, I. (1998). Motivation in action: A process model of L2 motivation. Working papers in applied linguistics, 4, 43-69.

Dörnyei, Z., & Schmidt, R. (Eds). (2001). Motivation and second language acquisition. University of Hawaii Press, HI.

Dörnyei, Z., & Ushioda, E. (2013). Teaching and researching: Motivation. New York: Routledge.

Fisher, D. L., Henderson, D., & Fraser, B. J. (1995). Interpersonal behaviour in senior high school biology classes. Research in Science Education, 25, 125–133.

Fisher, D. & Rickards, T. (1998). Associations between teacher-student interpersonal behaviour and student attitude to mathematics. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 10(1), 3-15.

Fisher, D., Rickards, T. & Newby, M. (2001). A multi-level model of classroom interaction using teacher and student perceptions. Paper presented at Annual Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education, Perth, 2001.

Gardner, R. C., & Lambert, W. E. (1959). "Motivational variables in second-language acquisition". Canadian Journal of Psychology. 13: 266–272.

Gardner, R. C. (1985). Social psychology and second language learning: The role of attitudes and motivation. London: Edward Arnold.

Gardner, R. C. (2004). Attitude/motivation test battery: International AMTB research project. Canada: The University of Western Ontario.

Gardner, R. C. (2008). Individual differences in second and foreign language learning. In Nelleke Van Deusen-Scholl & Nancy H. Hornberger (Eds.), Encyclopaedia of language and education (Vol. 4). New York: Springer, 29-40.

Higgins, C. S. (2011). Teacher-student relationship development: a qualitative study of interpersonal connections in an early childhood classroom (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). College of education and human ecology, the Ohio State University.

Falls, HL. (1999). Teachers' perceptions of their roles as generalist: a study of the interpersonal skills necessary for effective leadership and counseling (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Matsumoto, H. (2010). Students’ perceptions about teacher talk in Japanese as a second language classes. Arizona Working Papers in SLA & Teaching, 17, 53-74.

Maulanaa, R., Opdenakkera, M.C., den Brokb P., & Bosker, R. (2011). Teacher–student interpersonal relationships in Indonesia: profiles and importance to student motivation. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 31(1), 33–49.

Nugent, T. (2009). The impact of teacher-student interaction on student motivation and achievement (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). College of Education, the University of Central Florida.

Oxford, R.L. (Ed). (1996). Language learning motivation: Pathways to the new century. University of Hawaii Press, HI.

Passini, S., Molinari, L., & Speltini, G. (2015). A validation of the questionnaire on teacher interaction in Italian secondary school students: the effect of positive relations on motivation and academic achievement. Social psychological education, 18, 547–559.

Pintrich, P. R., Smith, D. A., Garcia, T., & McKeachie, W. J. (1991). A manual for the use of the motivated strategies for learning questionnaire (MSLQ) (Report No. NCRIPTAL-91-B-004). Washington DC: Office of Educational Research and Improvement. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED338122).

Stipek, D. (2002). Motivation to learn: Integrating theory and practice. Boston, Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon.

Tuckman, Bruce W. (1995). The interpersonal teacher model. The educational forum, 59.

Urhahne, D. (2015). Teacher behaviour as a mediator of the relationship between teacher judgment and students' motivation and emotion. Teaching and Teacher Education, 45, 73-82.

Walsh, S. (2002). Construction or obstruction: Teacher talk and learner involvement in the EFL classroom. Language Teaching Research, 6(1), 3-23.

Wei, M., & Onsawad, A. (2007). English teachers' actual and ideal interpersonal behaviour and student's outcome in secondary schools of Thailand. The Journal of Asia TEFL, 4(2), 95-121.

Wei, M, Zhou, Y., Barber, C., & Den Brok, P. (2015). Chinese students' perceptions of teacher-student interpersonal behavior and implications. System, 55, 134-144.

Whitaker, T. (2004). What great principals do differently. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education, Inc.

Williams, M., & Burden, R. L. (1997). Psychology for teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wubbels, T., Brekelmans, M., den Brok, P., Levy, J., Mainhard, T., and van Tartwijk, J. (2012). Let's make things better. In P. J. den Brok, J. van Tartwijk, J. Levy, & T. Wubbels (Eds.), Interpersonal relationships in education: An overview of contemporary research (pp. 225–249). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Wubbels, Th., Brekelmans, M. (2005). Two decades of research on teacher-student relationships in class. Journal of educational research, 43, 6-24.

Wubbels, Th., Brekelmans, M., & Hooymayers, H. (1991). Interpersonal teacher behaviour in the classroom. In B. J. Fraser & H. J. Walberg (Eds.), Educational environments: Evaluation, antecedents and consequences (pp. 141-160). Oxford, England: Pergamon Press.

Wubbels, Th., Créton, H. A. & Hooymayers, H. P. (1985). Discipline problems of beginning teachers, interactional teacher behaviour mapped out. Abstracted in Resources in Education, 20(12), 153. (ERIC document 260040)

Wubbles, Th. & Levy, J. (1991). A comparison of interpersonal behaviour of Dutch and American teachers. International journal of intercultural behaviour, 15, 1-18.