Student engagement in foreign language education: a multi-method investigation of personal and social facilitators in a higher education context

Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Sciences, Turkey

Approval Date: 2019

Student: Şermin Vardal Ocaklı

Supervisor: AHMET OK


Inspired by the theoretical predictions of Skinner and Pitzer (2012), this study aimed to investigate personal and social facilitators of student engagement in foreign language education by adopting a multi-method concurrent research design. Under the title of personal facilitators, how well students’ sense of belongingness, self-efficacy, language learning strategy use, and language learning autonomy would predict their English language performance was questioned. In this part, the correlational method was utilized and the responses were analysed through the hierarchical regression method. With regard to the social facilitators, students were asked to express their opinions concerning teacher practices and school practices that were likely to promote their engagement. This part of the investigation was conducted in the form of a descriptive survey, so the descriptive analysis method was utilized. 165 students studying in the prep school of a private university contributed to this quantitative research. The results pointed at a significant relationship of students’ sense of belongingness with their success in the structure and written expression part, their self-efficacy with their scores in the listening and reading comprehension parts, and their language learning strategy use with their success in the reading comprehension part of the TOEFL ITP exam; nevertheless, language learner autonomy did not contribute to student success in any parts of the TOEFL ITP exam. Moreover, the results indicated that need-supportive teacher practices and school activities such as organizing language learning resource centers and extra-curricular activities were essential for student engagement in foreign language education environments.