"I am just shy and timid": Student teachers’ explanations for their performances of their presentations

As part of the research on motivation, causal attribution studies have an important role in predicting and improving academic performance since controllable and uncontrollable attributions have an effect on learners’ future actions. Following this path, the present qualitative study investigates the attributions of students in an English Language Teaching (ELT) program for the performances of their presentations as part of an oral communication skills course. Upon the completion of the course, a total of 83 second year ELT students scored their performances out of 10 and provided explanations for their performances. This data set illustrated their attributions and estimated future achievements. Data analysis consisted of two phases: first, the students were divided into two groups based on the perceived successes of their performances, and secondly, their explanations were examined with content analysis. The initial analysis showed that 20 students scored themselves as less successful and 63 students scored themselves as successful. It revealed that the less successful group attributed their performances mostly to their mood and lack of effort, both of which are categorized in the internal attributions. In contrast, the successful students attributed their performances to effort, mood, and strategy use, all of which fell into the internal category as well. From these results, it can be concluded that the learners had a higher locus of control in that they attributed their performances to mostly internal attributions. In addition, providing immediate teacher feedback and creating a classroom environment for vicarious learning were effective for increasing learners’ effort and motivation for their presentations. These findings may imply that teachers focus on providing immediate feedback and create an effective classroom atmosphere that will probably lead to vicarious learning.

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