Self Confidence In Language Learning English Language Essay

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In recent years finding factors that affect language learning have caused many scholars to try to seek for psychologic factors that can help students to facilitate their language learning. Between so many features that can affect language learning, it seems that self confidence can have an important role. Because of this issue, researchers did many studies to find that if there is any relationship between self confidence and language learning. I reviewed some of these studies and found that all of them believed that self confidence has a positive effect on language learning. As a result of these studies, they found that language teachers should try to increase students’ self confidence in the classroom in order to increase their achievements.


Teachers always confront students who always sit in front of the room and are easily recognizable in the class. Their body language, specially their posture indicates positive attitudes, and they often respond quickly to questions in the class. These behavior are sign of their self confidence. Self confidence based on a definition by Perara (2007) means “we feel good about our self”, and we feel sure of our abilities. I reviewed the literature on this topic to find if there is any relationship between students’ self confidence and their language learning. According to these studies there is a close relationship between self confidence and language learning.

Based on the studies on this issue, there are important ways in which self confidence affect language learning. There are self talk, internal locus of control, and tendency to commu- nication.

3-Self talk:

One way in which self confident students can be more successful in their language learning is that they have self talk. When you tell yourself that you can learn something, you will be more capable to learn. Students who are self confident feel sure of their abilities to learn English and always tell theirself they can speak, and they can comprehend others’ speech, and they can improve. Hellyer Robinson and, Sherwood(1998) stated that self talk can affect learning in two ways:”self – Fulfilling” and “mental visualization”.

3-1-Self fulfilling prophesy:

One form of positive self talk is full filling prophesy. “In this positive self-talk, telling yourself that you can achieve your goals, should greatly increase your chance of success” (P.103). There is power in words, specially the words you speak to your self. Your mind knows only what you tell it.

3-2-Mental visualization:

According to Hellyer, Robin, and Sherwood, another form of positive self talk is “mental visualization”(P.103). It means someone picturing himself as a successful person. If learners have mental Visualization, they visualize themsellf oa good speakers or as people who can communicate in second language. This picture unconsciously leads them to be successful learners of second language and to be good speakers.

4. Locus of control:

Another reason that self confident students are better in their language learning is their locus of control. A psychologist named Rotter introduced the term ” Locus of control ” in 1966(Boone.2000). He categorized locus of control in two groups: ” external locus ” of control and ” internal locus of control”, if you place responsibility for your life within yourself, then you are said to have internal locus of control . on the other hand , if you are place responsibility for your life on others and on circumstance out said yourself , then you are said to have external locus of control . Willams an Burden (1997) said :

Locuse of control refers to a person’s belief about control over life events. Some people feel personally responsible for everything that happens to them in their lives. These people are termed ” internalizers” in locus theory. Other people feel that events in their lives are all determined by forces group are termed ” externalizers” (p. 101).

William and Burden (1997) also believed that locus of control can affect learning ” it appears that learners who believe they can influence their own learning are named likely to success … than those who believe is controlled by other ” (p. 102). Researchers believe that locus of control can affect language learning in several ways. Because of internal locus of control language learners feel responsible about their weakness or power , they are excited about learning , and learners have self mediation.

4.1. felling responsible:

In relating internal locus of control to second language learning, we can say that a person can be capable of learning second language more successfully because they take responsibility for their own learning. For example students who have external locus of control, and cannot comprehend a dialog from an audio task, grumble that it’s not may fault; speed of research was too fast, But who have internal locus of control except that there is no excuse to their weakness and acknowledge that their listening is weak and they should improve this skill . Williams and Buden (1997) cited that ” when learners feel responsible for their learning they don’t blame others for their weakness” (p. 100). They continued that ” they accept that their success and their failure is under their control” (p.100). because of this they try to find out reasons of their weakness and power and ” they show strong tendencies to seek information and use it appropriately in problem salving tasks” (p.102). and they can be excited about their learning.

4.2. learner’s excitement:

Another aspect of internal locus of control is excitement about learning Williams and Buden (1997) stated ” those with high internal locus of control show strong then denies to … be active and assertive and to exhibit a high degree of … excitement about learning ” (p.102). If you feel self confident and have external locus of control, you will be sure about yourself and you will believe that you can learn and will be sure about yourself , and you will believe that you can learn, and because of this fact you achieve self motivation. As Hellyer , Robinson , and Sherwood said ” you don’t need to be pushed by other people” (p.100) . we can say that the extent to which learners are in control of their own learning of a language will have a great effect upon their motivation and their excitement to be continually involved in learning that language.

4.3.learner’s self mediation:

It is important to state that another aspect of internal locus of control is inner mediating function in the learning process. When you feel responsible for your learning and you are sure that you can control your own learning , you will become autonomous and problem solver , and you will be able to set your goal and to seek information about how to achieve your goal and how to break a problem down by yourself. Researchers believe that feeling competent and responsible about learning have a direct relation with self management and inner mediation in the learning process. Researchers claimed this notion is related to the notion of learner training, in the field of language . in all research about learners training , researchers recommend that for teaching learners how to learn, it’s very important that they feel self confident and self competent and accept their ability to control their learning.

5. Tendency to communicate:

Another way in which self confidence affects language learning is self confidence student’s tendency to communication. Macintyre et. al.(1998) saw the significance of self confidence in their model of ” Willingness to communicate” in a foreign language ( cited in Brown, 2000) . Brown(2000) also believed that self confidence factors have important roles in one’s tendency to communicate . It’s clear that there is a close relationship between language learning and communication. Students who have tendency toward communication can be more successful in their language learning . Long (1981) claimed ” that interaction in which communication problems are negotiated between participants promote comprehension and production , ultimately facilitating L2 development ” (cited in Kumara, (2005), p. 34). Subsequent studies have shown that learners who maintained high levels of interaction and communication in the L2, progressed at a faster rate than learners who interacted and communicated little in the classroom ( seliger, 1983). These studies and several interaction create learning opportunities and it constitute learning itself.


In this paper I reviewed some studies to find the ways in which self confidence affect language learning. There are some many studies about this issue, But most of them focus on three improvement reasons in which self confident students are more capable of learning than students without enough self confidence: their positive mental visualization; their internal locus of control which deals with issues of feeling responsibility and their tendency to communicate. It is obvious that all of these factors are essential in language learning and lack of them and negative form of them can interrupt language learning. So teachers should try to increase their student’s self confidence in order to facilitate their learning.


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