An investigation into the relationship among EFL teachers’ reflection, classroom management orientations, and perceptions of language learning strategies and students’ L2 achievement

Authors

1 Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran

2 Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran)

Abstract

The  present  study  was  conducted  to  investigate  the  relationship  among  three  important  teacher
variables and students’ L2 achievement. To this end, 105 high school EFL teachers from Shiraz and
Hamadan were asked to fill out three sets of instruments: the reflective teaching instrument, (Akbari,
Behzadpour  &  Dadvand,  2010),  the  Attitudes  and  Beliefs  on  Classroom  Control  Inventory  (Martin,
Yin,  &  Baldwin,  1998),  and  the  Strategy  Inventory  for  Language  Learning  (Ardasheva  &  Tretter,
2013).  Also,  the  scores  of  the  English  final  exams  of  2673  third-grade  high  school  students  were
collected. The  results  of  Pearson  Product  Moment  Correlations  revealed  that  there  was  a  significant
correlation  between  the  above-mentioned  three  teachers’  variables  and  their  students’  L2
achievement.  The  results  also  showed  a  significant  difference  between  male  and  female  teachers  in
the  degree  of  perceptions  of  LLSs,  while  no  significant  differences  were  found  between  the  two
genders  regarding  their  classroom  management  orientations  and  reflection.  Moreover,  running
multiple  regression  analysis,  it  was  revealed  that  among  the teachers’ variables, reflection was  the
strongest  predicator  of  students’ L2 achievement. Finally, based on the results of this study, some
practical implications for maximizing students’ L2 achievement in English language classrooms are
presented.

Keywords

Main Subjects


Introduction
Teachers  have  a  critical  role  in  learners’
achievement,  and  their  characteristics  can
influence  students’  performance  (Lasley,
Siedentop  &  Yinger,  2006;  Rockoff,  2004;
Sanders,  Wright,  &  Horn,  1997).  Freeman
and Richards (1996) claim that “teachers are
pivotal  in  the  enterprise  of  teaching  and
learning” (p. 1). In a similar vein, Griffiths
(2007)  states  that  “teacher  practices  and
perceptions  are  critically  important  since
they  have  the  potential  to  influence  the
effectiveness  of  the  teaching/learning
process” (p. 91).
 
In  order  to  understand  teachers,  we  need  to
consider  the  professional,  cultural,  political,
and  individual  identities  which  are  assigned
to  them  (Varghese,  Morgan,  Johnston  &
Johnson,  2005).  Teachers’  reflectivity  is  a
variable  which  can  be  considered  as  a  way
of dealing with the problems in the language
classrooms, such as students’ inefficiency in
learning  English.  Since  reflective  teachers
examine  their  own  values  and  beliefs  about
teaching  and  learning,  they  are  more
responsible for their actions in the classroom
(Korthagen,  1993).  Moreover,  Pennington
(1992)  asserted  that  a  reflective  orientation
improves  classroom  processes  and
outcomes.  Consequently,  teachers’
reflection  is  one  of  the  factors  which  might
have  a  positive  effect  on  students’
achievement.  Classroom  management  is
another  factor  which  might  have  a  critical
role in students’ success. In fact, “effective
teaching and learning cannot take place in a
poorly  managed  classroom”  (Marzano,  &
Pickering,  2003,  p.1).  Finally,  teachers’
perception  of  language  learning  strategies
which deals with the problems related to the
teaching practice, is another important factor
towards  students’  success  in  learning
English.  
 
In  recent  years,  a  great  number  of  studies
have  been  conducted  on  learning  strategies
and  their  positive  effect  on  language
learning  (Green  &  Oxford,  1995;  Griffiths,
2003;  Olivares-Cuhat,  2002).  Previous
studies  (e.g.  Ardasheva  &  Tretter,  2012;
Griffiths, 2007; Sen & Sen, 2012) reported a
high  accordance  between  the  most
frequently  used  language  learning  strategies
by  the  students  and  those  reported  by  the
teachers  as  highly  important.  Therefore,
teachers’  perceptions  seem  to  affect
students’ use of language learning strategies.
Based  on  the  above  mentioned  ideas,  three
teachers’  variables,  i.  e.  teachers'  reflection,
classroom  management  orientations,  and
perceptions  of  language  learning  strategies
are examined in the present study in order to
identify  their  potential  effects  on  students’
success  or  failure  in  learning  a  foreign
language.
 
Review of related literature
Reflective teaching
During  the  1980s,  reflective  teaching,
reflection  and  critical  thinking  became
popular  concepts  in  teaching  and  teacher
education (Farrell, 1999). Digging deep into
the  literature  indicated  that  the  history  of
reflection  goes  back  to  the  works  of  Greek
philosophers  such  as  Aristotle,  Plato  and
Socrates.  The  idea  of  reflective  teaching,
around  which  this  study  was  based,  started
from John Dewey’s (1933) book ‘How We
Think’.  He  established  the  notion  of
professional  development  through  reflection
by making a distinction between ‘routinized’
and ‘reflective’ teaching (Pollard, 2002).
 
Schön  (1983)  was  another  significant
scholar in developing the theory and practice
of  reflective  teaching  in  the  twentieth
century.  Schön  (1987)  talked  about
reflective  teaching  and  described  two  major
processes  of  reflection:  reflection-in-action
and  reflection-on-action.  Farrell  (1998)
explained  the  term  ‘reflection-in-action’  as

thinking  about  what  we  are  doing,  while
‘reflection-on-action’  is  concerned  with
thinking back on what we have done to find
out  how  our  knowing-in-action  may  have
contributed  to  an  unexpected  action.  Farrell
(2007)  further  claimed  that  reflective
teachers  regularly  collect  information  about
their classroom happenings and then analyze
and evaluate this information and compare it
to  their  underlying  assumptions  and  beliefs
so  that  they  can  make  changes  and
improvements in their teaching.
 
In  recent  years,  teachers  have  been
encouraged  to  be  reflective  and  think  about
their  experiences  and  their  actions  in  their
classes.  Different  researchers  list  different
characteristics  for  a  reflective  teacher.  For
example,  Dewey  (1933)  stated  that  a
reflective  teacher  is  open-minded,
responsible,  and  whole-hearted.
Kumaravadivelu  (2002)  believed  that
reflective  teachers  use  ‘classroom-oriented
action  research’  and  ‘problem-solving
activities’ in order to enhance their learners’
learning.  Zeichner  and  Liston  (1996,  p.  6)
believed that a reflective teacher:
 
• examines, frames, and attempts to solve
the dilemmas of classroom practice;
•  is  aware  of  and  questions  the
assumptions  and  values  he  or  she  brings
to teaching;
•  is  attentive  to  the  institutional  and
cultural  contexts  in  which  he  or  she
teaches;
•  takes  part  in  curriculum  development
and is involved in school change efforts;  
• takes responsibility for his or her own
professional development.
 
Classroom management
Classroom  management  is  one  of  the  most
challenging aspects of teaching for new and
sometimes  experienced  teachers.  New
teachers fear students will not respect them,
and  for  experienced  teachers  establishing
management  is  a  primary  goal  in  the  first
few  weeks  of  the  year  (Good  &  Brophy,
2008).  Researchers  describe  classroom
management  as  a  complex  issue  in  which
many  external  and  internal  factors  are
interwoven.  For  example,  Martin,  Yin,  and
Baldwin  (1998)  believed  that  classroom
management is a broad umbrella term which
describes  the  teacher’s  efforts  to  oversee
classroom activities, such as learning, social
interaction, and student behaviour.
 
Classroom  management  problem  is  one  of
the  central  causes  of  burnout  and  job
dissatisfaction  for  most  of  teachers.
According  to  Landau  (2009),  the  status  of
classroom  management  has  been  looked
down because classroom management is not
included  in  most  of  teacher  preparation
courses. Advice to teachers about classroom
management  was  based  on  untested  theory
of “what works best for me” and little was
supported  by  solid  evidence  (Good  &
Brophy,  2008).  Most  teachers  have  their
own  approach  of  classroom  management
acquired  through  their  teaching  experience
or  their  own  school  years  as  learners
(Coetzee,  Niekerk  &  Wydeman,  2008).
Teachers  should  find  the  approach  that  best
fits  into  their  context,  learners,  and  style  of
teaching.  A  framework  offered  by  Evertson
and  Weinstein  (2006)  has  been  one  of  the
most  frequently  used  frameworks  in
classroom  management  studies.  Evertson
and  Weinstein  organized  classroom
management  strategies  into  six  distinct
approaches,  namely:  external  control  of
behaviour,  internal  control,  classroom
ecology,  discourse,  curriculum,  and
interpersonal relationships.
 
Perceptions of language learning strategies
Over  the  last  few  decades,  there  has  been
growing interest in studying the needs of the
individual  learners.  Language  teaching

researchers  moved  their  focus  from  various
teaching  methodologies  to  the  language
learner.  Aside  from  learning  aptitude,
gender, culture, age,  and other demographic
variables,  language  learners  differ  in
learning  styles,  learning  strategies,  and
affective  variables  (Ehrman,  Leaver,  &
Oxford,  2003).  Areas  of  research  on
language  learning  strategies  could  be
classified  into  three  categories:  studying
good  language  learners,  studying  the
definitions  and  lists  of  language  learning
strategies,  and  studying  various  factors  that
affect  learners’  language  learning  strategy
choices (Wenden & Rubin, 1987).
 
Oxford (1990) stated that learning strategies
are  important  in  second  language  learning
and teaching for two main reasons. First, we
gain  insights  into  the  metacognitive,
cognitive,  and  social-affective  processes
involved in language learning by examining
the  strategies  used  by  successful  second
language  learners.  Second,  less  successful
language  learners  can  be  taught  new
strategies  and  become  better  language
learners.
 
Oxford (2003) specified three conditions for
the  usefulness  of  language  learning
strategies. She stated that the strategy should
(a) relate well to the L2  task at hand, (b) fit
the  particular  student’s  learning  style
preferences to one degree or another, and (c)
the  student  should  employ  the  strategy
effectively  and  link  it  with  other  relevant
strategies.  She  claimed  that  the  strategies
that achieve these conditions “make learning
easier,  faster,  more  enjoyable,  more  self-directed,  more  effective,  and  more
transferable  to  new  situations”  (Oxford,
1990, p. 8).
 
Since language teachers are often considered
as  experts  by  their  students,  their  beliefs
“could  have  a  strong  influence  on  the
students’  own  beliefs”  (Horwitz,  1988  p.
291).  Similarly,  Bedir  (2010)  believed  that
teacher  belief  about  LLS  is  one  of  the
important  factors  which  impacts  the
effectiveness  of  learning  strategies
instruction.  
 
Previous research findings
Since the above mentioned issues have been
appealing  to  many  scholars,  several
researchers  have  focused  on  the
investigation  and  evaluation  of  these
concepts.  Taghilou  (2007)  tried  to  explore
the relationship between "reflective teaching
practices"  and  "learning  outcomes"  of  the
Iranian  EFL  students.  In  this  study,  he  used
two  homogeneous  groups  of  pre-university
students.  Using  the  same  materials  and
similar pedagogical conditions, two different
teaching  practices  on  reflection  was  taught
to the participants. One of the teachers was a
strong  supporter  of  the  reflective  pedagogy,
and the other was a disbeliever in its use and
effect  on  students'  learning  potential.  The
results  of  this  study  showed  that  the
students’ mean score was significantly lower
(p<0.05)  in  the  disbeliever  teacher  category
(control group) in contrast to the mean score
of  students  in  the  believer  teacher  category
(experimental  group).  In  addition,  in  the
experimental  group,  the  students  were  more
satisfied.  He  believed  that  the  results  of  his
study  demonstrated  the  potential
contribution  of  reflection  and  reflective
teaching  to  the  ease  and  effectiveness  of
learning  on  the  part  of  the  Iranian  EFL
students.  
 
Another  study  on  reflective  teaching  was
conducted  by  Sim  (2005)  who  invited  a
group of seventeen ESL learners enrolled in
an  intensive  English  course  in  Singapore  to
reflect  on  their  English  language  learning
experience. The instrument of this study was
a summative diary administered towards the
end  of  the  course  on  how  the  students

approached  their  learning.  The  analysis  of
the entries was carried out with reference to
the  learners’  motivation,  beliefs,  attitudes,
strategies and affective factors. Sim reported
that  the  students’  motivation  was  mainly
instrumental  and  they  had  certain  clear
beliefs  about  language  learning.  They
evaluated  their  progress  though  not
regularly. He proposed that affective factors
had  a  strong  impact  on  their  English
learning  experience.  He  went  on  to  say  that
two important factors that surfaced were the
importance  of  social  support  and  the
emphasis on effort.
 
Hosseini Fatemi, Elahi Shirvan and Rezvani
(2011) explored the effect of EFL teacher’s
reflection  on  their  learners’  writing
achievement.  Participants  of  their  study
included  100  EFL  teachers  teaching  in
Mashhad  language  institutes  and  their  1000
EFL  learners.  They  used  the  Reflective
teaching instrument designed by Akbari and
Behzadpour  (2007).  Also,  they  calculated
the  EFL  learners’  Grade  Point  Averages
(GPAs)  of  their  writing  scores.  An
unstructured  interview  with  10  teachers  of
each  group  of  highly  reflective  and  low
reflective  teachers  was  also  done.  The
results  of  the  statistical  analysis  revealed
that teachers’ reflection significantly affects
EFL learners’ writing achievement. Learners
with  highly  reflective  teachers  had  higher
writing  achievement  scores  than  those  with
low reflective teachers.
 
Regarding  classroom  management,  Rahimi
and  Hosseini  (2012)  investigated  Iranian
EFL  teachers’  classroom  discipline
strategies  from  their  students’  perspective.
They  asked  1497  students  to  answer  the
classroom  discipline  strategy  questionnaire
that  assessed  their  perceptions  about
teachers’  classroom  management
disciplines. The results of this study showed
that  Iranian  EFL  teachers  appeared  to  use
recognition/rewarding  strategies  more  often
to  discipline  their  classes,  while  using
aggression  and  punishment  were  the  least
common  classroom  discipline  strategies.
Female  teachers  used  punishment,
discussion, and aggression strategies more in
contrast to male teachers.
 
In  another  study,  Martin  and  Shoho  (2000)
investigated  the  relationship  between
teachers'  age  and  perceptions  of  classroom
management style. Data were collected from
a  total  of  388  participants  via  the  (ABCC)
Inventory  and  a  demographic  questionnaire.
They found a significant correlation between
subjects'  age  and  the  people  management
sub-scale.  They  stated  that  as  teachers
increase  in  age,  their  beliefs  and  attitudes
toward  this  dimension  of  classroom
management become more controlling.
 
In  order  to  explore  Iranian  EFL  teachers’
classroom  management  orientations  and  its
relationship  with  teaching  styles,  Rahimi
and  Asadollahi  (2012)  asked  three  hundred
EFL teachers to fill in the (ABCC) inventory
and  Teaching  Activities  Preference
questionnaire.  They  found  that  most  Iranian
EFL  teachers  were  interventionist  with
respect  to  their  classroom  management
approaches.  They  concluded  that  teachers
who  were  more  interventionist  in  their
classroom  management  used  more  teaching
activities  than  those  with  interactionalist
classroom management orientation.
 
Griffiths  (2007)  investigated  the  point  of
intersection  of  teachers’  and  learners’
perceptions  of  language  learning  strategies.
An  original  questionnaire  in  a  classroom
situation  based  on  student  input  was
developed  and  used.  The  study  examined
reported  frequency  of  strategy  use  by
international  students  and  teachers’
perceptions  regarding  the  importance  of
strategy  use.  The  results  showed  that

students’ and teachers’  perceptions did not
perfectly  match.  However,  there  was  a  high
level  of  accordance  between  strategies
which  students  reported  as  the  most
frequently  used  strategies  and  those  which
teachers reported as highly important.
 
Ardasheva  and  Tretter  (2012)  explored
perceptions  and  use  of  language  learning
strategies among ESL teachers and English-learning students. The subjects of their study
were  1,057  students  and  54  teachers.  The
results of the study showed that (a) the level
of  strategy  effectiveness  awareness  among
teachers  working  at  all  educational  levels
was  high;  (b)  teacher  and  student  strategy
ratings  differed  qualitatively,  with  most  of
the teacher scores being above the high-level
benchmark and most of the students’ scores
within the medium-level benchmark; and (c)
none of the correlations between teacher and
student  strategy  ratings  were  statistically
significant.
 
The  aforementioned  studies  demonstrated
the  importance  of  teachers’  reflectivity,
classroom  management  orientations,  and
perceptions  of  language  learning  strategies
in  the  language  learning  and  teaching
process.  However,  to  the  best  of  the
researchers’ current knowledge, none of the
above  studies  have  so  far  brought  these
variables  together  to  investigate  their
relationship  with,  and  their  contributions  to
Iranian  EFL  learners’  L2  achievement.
Thus,  it  is  potentially  worth  shedding  light
on  the  contribution  of  each  of  these
variables  to  students’  L2  achievement;
considering  the  fact  that  teachers’
reflectivity,  classroom  management
orientations,  and  perceptions  of  language
learning  strategies  might  lead  to  students’
higher  performance  and  help  L2  teachers  to
take better actions.
 
 
Research questions
The  present  study  was  conducted  to
investigate  the  relationship  among  three
important teacher variables and students’ L2
achievement.  To  achieve  the  goals  of  this
study, the following research questions were
posed:
 
1.  Is  there  any  significant  relationship
between  teachers’  degree  of
reflectivity  and  students’  L2
achievement?
2.  Is  there  any  significant  relationship
between  teachers’  classroom
management  orientations  and
students’ L2 achievement?
3.  Is  there  any  significant  relationship
between  teachers’  perceptions  of
language  learning  strategies  and
students’ L2 achievement?
4.  Is  there  any  significant  difference
among  Iranian  EFL  teachers’
classroom  management  orientations,
perceptions of  LLSs, and reflectivity
with respect to their gender?
5.  Among  teachers’  reflectivity,
classroom  management  orientations
and  perceptions  of  language  learning
strategies  which  one  is  the  best
predictor of students’ achievement?
 
Methodology
Participants
One  hundred  and  five  Iranian  EFL  teachers
(50  males  and  55  females)  from  Shiraz  and
Hamadan  participated  in  this  study.  They
were  all  high  school  teachers  of  third  grade
classes.  The  reason  for  selecting  this  level
was  due  to  the  fact  that  the  third-grade
English  language  final  exam  is  prepared  by
Iran Ministry of Education (Assessment and
Evaluation  Center),  and  is  held  throughout
the  country  each  year.  Thus,  it  can  be  used
as a sign of students’ overall achievement in
English.  All  of  the  teachers  had  degrees  in
TEFL,  English  literature  or  English

Translation  except  for  one  who  had  studied
Arabic  literature.  They  were  selected  based
on  convenience  sampling  procedure  and
their  age  ranged  from  25  to  53
(mean=39.52).  Moreover,  the  scores
obtained  by  the  third-grade  students  (N=
2673)  in  their  final  English  exam  were
collected from the schools registrars’ office
and were considered as the indication of the
students’ L2 achievement.  
 
Instruments
Reflective teaching questionnaire
The  reflective  teaching  questionnaire  was
developed  and  validated  by  Akbari,
Behzadpour  and  Dadvand  (2010)  and
contains  29  items  with  five-point  Likert
scale responses ranging from 1 (never), to 5
(always).
 
Attitudes  and  Beliefs  on  Classroom  Control
Inventory (ABCC Inventory)
The  ABCC  Inventory  was  developed  and
validated  by  Martin,  Yin,  and  Baldwin
(1998)  to  measure  teachers’  orientations
towards classroom management. The ABCC
Inventory  has  26  items  with  three  broad
dimensions  that  address  components  of
classroom  management:  instructional
management (14 items), people management
(8  items),  and  behavior  management  (4
items).  
 
Strategy  Inventory  for  Language  Learning
(SILL) –ELL Teacher Form
This questionnaire was originally developed
by  Oxford  (1990)  to  assess  students’
perceptions  of  language  learning  strategies.
It was modified and validated by Ardasheva
and  Tretter  (2013)  to  assess  teachers’
perceptions  of  language  learning  strategies.
This  questionnaire  is  based  on  Oxford’s
classification  of  strategies  and  contains  five
categories:  Memory  (7  items),  Cognitive  (5
items),  Compensation  (5  items),
Metacognitive (4 items), Affective strategies
(3 items) and Social (4 items). Reliability of
this  questionnaire  was  assessed  using
Cronbach's Alpha (α = .912).  
English Language Achievement Test
The  final  exam  of  third  grade  high  school
students  is  prepared  by  language  testing
experts  of  the  Ministry  of  Education
(Assessment  and  Evaluation  Center)  and
administered  under  the  supervision  of
Central  Offices  of  Education  across  the
nation.  According  to  Farhady  and  Sajadi
Hezaveh  (2010,  p.  12),  this  exam  is  a  high
stakes  test  and  has  high  level  of  reliability
and  validity.  The  Central  Office  of
Educational  Measurement  and  Evaluation
takes  all  necessary  measures  to  ensure  test
security,  similar  administration  across  the
country, and fair scoring of the test papers.  
 
Procedure
The data collection in this study was carried
out  in  two  phases.  First,  the  questionnaires
were  given  to  127  teachers  who  had
accepted to take part in the study. They were
allowed to take the questionnaires home, fill
them  out  and  give  them  back  to  the
researchers  one  week  later.  However,  only
105  teachers  returned  the  questionnaires.
Then,  the  final  English  exam  scores  of  the
students  were  collected  from  the registrars’
offices  of  the  high  schools  as  an  index  of
their English achievement score.  
 
Results and discussion
Testing the correlation between teachers’
variables and students’ L2 achievement
To  answer  this  research  question,  three
Pearson  Product  Moment  correlations  were
used, the results of which are summarized in
Tables 1 and 2.

Table  1  summarized  the  descriptive
statistics  for  the  teachers’  variables,  i.  e.
teachers’  reflection,  classroom
management, perceptions of LLSs and also
students’ L2 achievement.

Question  1:  As  indicated  in  Table  2,  a
significant  positive  correlation  was  found
between  teachers’  reflection  and  students’
L2  achievement,  r  (103)  =.69,  pN=105.  According  to  Cohen  (1988),  the
effect  size  of  0.47  is  medium.  A  possible
explanation  for  this  significant  relationship
could  best  be  justified  by  Waltermire’s
(1999)  opinion  regarding  the  fact  that
reflective  practice  pivots  around  student
learning  and  a  commitment  to  helping
students  succeed.  Reflective  teachers
examine the consequences of their actions in
the  classrooms  and  try  to  find  suitable
solutions  to  the  problems  that  occur  during
the  educational  year  (Farrell,  2007).  These
reflections  would  result  in  their  students’
higher  satisfaction  of  classrooms  and  the
teachers.  As  Dewey  (1933)  puts  it,
reflection  is  thought  to  be  a  purposeful
attempt  to  resolve  complex  classroom
dilemmas  into  educative  experiences
leading  to  further  student  and  teacher
growth and learning.
 
A review of the previous literature indicated
that teacher’s reflection is one of  the  most
important  factors  influencing  students’
achievement  (Akbari,  2007;  Goldhaber,
2002;  Pacheco,  2005;  Sanders,  2000).  The
result of the present study, in this regard, is
in  line  with  what  has  been  echoed  in  the
previous  literature.  As  Kumaravadivelu
(2002),  Korthagen  (1993)  and  Pennington
(1992)  noted,  reflective  teaching  has  a
significant effect on students’ learning. In a
similar vein, Hosseini Fatemi, Elahi Shirvan
and  Rezvani  (2011)  stated  that  highly
reflective  teachers  believed  that  they  were
responsible to take control of their teaching
and  tried  harder  than  those  with  lower
levels  of  reflection.  This  finding  also
supports  previous  research  on  teachers’
reflection in Iranian settings (e.g.  Akbari &
Karimi  Allvar,  2010;  Hosseini  Fatemi,
Elahi  Shirvan  &  Rezvani,  2011;  Taghilou,

2007).  However,  this  finding  is  contrary  to
Braun and Crumpler (2004) and Griffiths’s
(2000)  study  which  indicated  that  engaging
teachers  in  reflective  teaching  will  not
necessarily  lead  to  higher  student
achievement or better learning outcomes.
 
Question  2:  The  second  research  question
was  concerned  with  the  possible  correlation
between  teachers’  attitudes  toward
classroom  management  and  their  student
achievement.  As  shown  in  Table  2,  a
significant  negative  relationship  was  found
between  teachers’  attitudes  toward
classroom  management  and  their  students
achievement, r (103) = -.31, pThis  indicated  that  the  higher  the  level  of
control  exerted  by  the  teachers  in  the
classroom,  the  lower  the  students’  L2
achievement.  This  finding  might  have  been
due  to  the  fact  that  from  elementary  levels,
Iranian  students are  not  involved  in
classroom  management.  Therefore,  they
might  not  accept  this  style  of  classroom
management  at  higher  levels.  Therefore,
from  the  beginning  levels,  teachers  should
involve  students  in  issues  related  to
classroom  management,  such  as  classroom
behavior,  interruptions  and  transitions,
group  work  and  independent  work,  and  the
use  of  materials  and  equipments.  The
findings  of  the  study,  in  this  regard,  are  in
contrast with the results of a great number of
studies  which  reported  a  significant
relationship between classroom management
and  students’  achievement  (Djigic  &
Stojiljkovic, 2011; Edwards, Green & Lyons
2002; Griffiths, 2002; Milner, 2002; Poulou,
2007).  Djigic  and  Stojiljkovic  (2011)
investigating  the  correlation  between
teachers’  management  styles  and  students’
achievement,  found  that  students’
achievement  was  at  its  highest  when
teachers practiced interactionist style, and at
its  lowest  when  the  teachers  were
interventionists.  The  previous  findings
indicated  that  teachers  who  use  effective
management  strategies  tend  to  reduce
custodial  control  and  increase  students’
autonomy (Woolfolk, Rosoff, & Hoy, 1990).
Further,  teachers’  classroom  management
practices  can  influence  students’  behavior
and  direct  it  in  a  constructivist  manner,
which  in  turn,  would  set  the  stage  for
instruction  and  increased  learning  (Marzano
&  Pickering,  2003).  Rahimi  and  Asadollahi
(2012)  stated  that  Iranian  students  are
obedient and dependent on authority figures
in  the  class,  and  conform  to  the  rules.  They
further  stated  that  this  is  the  product  of
traditional  book-centred  approach  and
teacher-centred  methodology  in  the  Iranian
EFL curriculum.  
 
Question  3:  Another  correlation  was  also
run to answer the third research question. As
presented  in  Table  5.1,  a  moderate  positive
relationship  was  found  between  teachers’
perceptions  of  LLSs  and  their  students’
achievement,  r  (103)  =  .36,  pwhich  implied  that  by  increasing  the
teachers’ awareness of LLSs, their students’
achievement was also raised.  
 
To  make  the  language  learning  process
successful, L2 teachers need to focus on the
needs of the individual learners and provide
them with appropriate strategy training. LLS
researchers  believe  that  teachers’
perceptions  of  LLSs  are  among  the  most
significant  factors  that  may  directly  impact
the  learning  experiences  and  achievements
of  the  students  (Ian  &  Oxford,  2003;
Oxford,  1990;  Oxford,  Ehrman,  &  Lavine,
1991;  Riazi  &  Rahimi,  2003).  Teachers’
awareness  of  LLS  is  likely  to  encourage
explicit  LLS  instruction,  which  in  turn,
increase  students’  strategy  knowledge  and
use  and  may  ultimately  lead  to  higher
achievement  and  performance  (Oxford,
1990;  Chamot,  2007).  The  findings  of  this
study implied that teachers who are aware of

their  students’  LLSs  are  more  likely  to
adapt  appropriate  teaching  methods
compatible  with  their  students’  way  of
learning,  help  their  students  develop  an
awareness  of  learning  strategies,  and  enable
them  to  use  a  wider  range  of  appropriate
strategies.   
 
The  findings  of  the  present  study
corroborate  theoretical  postulates  about  the
effect  of  LLSs  on  learners’  achievement,
and the role of teachers’ perceptions in their
students’  beliefs.  This  finding  is  in
agreement with Kern’s (1995) study which
showed  that  teachers'  beliefs  were  effective
on  students'  beliefs  about  language
learning. Review  of  the  previous  research
indicates  that  teachers  are  the  principal
components  of  any  pedagogical  program.
Consequently,  their  perceptions  and  beliefs
have  considerable  influence  on  their
instructional  practices  and  classroom
behavior  as  well  as  their  students'
achievement (Eslami & Fatahi, 2008).  
 
Testing the relationship between teachers’
variables and gender
Question  4:  An  independent-samples  t-test
was  run  to  determine  the  possible
significant  differences  between  male  and
female  teachers  regarding  their  degree  of
reflection (Tables 3 and 4).

As  indicated  in  Table  4,  no  statistically
significant  difference  was  found  between
male  and  female  teachers  regarding  their
degree  of  reflection,  t  (82.22)  =.86,  p  =.
38>.05.  The  results  are  in  line  with  the
recent studies in Iranian context in which no
significant difference was found between the
two  genders  with  regard  to  teachers’
reflectivity (Aghaei & Jadidi, 2013; Bagheri
&  Abdolrahimzadeh,  2015;  Khany  &
Ghoreyshi, 2014; Mousapour & Beiranvand,
2013).  This  result  is  in  contradiction  to
Ansarin,  Farrokhi,  and  Rahmani’s  (2015)
study  in  which  female  teachers  were  found
to be more reflective than male teachers.
 In  the  same  way,  the  result  of  teachers’
classroom  management  orientations
questionnaire  and  their  gender  were
compared  to  determine  the  existence  of  any
significant  difference  between  male  and
female  teachers.  The  results  are  shown  in
Tables 5 and 6.

As  illustrated  in  Table  6,  no  statistically
significant  difference  was  found  between
male  and  female  teachers  on  levels  of
classroom  management  orientations  t  (103)
= .15, p= .87>.05. The result of this study, in
this  regard,  is  in  line  with  Martin’s  study
(1997)  who  found  no  significant  difference
between  male  and  female  teachers’
classroom  management  orientations.  The
results  are  in  contrast  to  the  studies  by
Sridhar  and  Javan  (2011),  and  Martin  and
Yin  (1997)  who  found  that  male  teachers
selected interventionist style more than other
styles.  Moreover,  regarding  the  approaches
to  instruction,  male  teachers  preferred  more
controlling  instruction  in  a  number  of
studies (Chen, 2000; Lam, Tse, Lam, & Loh,
2010;  Martin  &  Baldwin,  1996).  However,
in  another  study,  Martin,  Yin,  and  Baldwin
(1998)  found  no  gender  differences  related

to  any  of  the  classroom  management
orientations.
 
An  independent-samples  t-test  was  also  run
to determine the existence of any significant
difference  between  male  and  female
teachers  regarding  their  Perceptions  of
Language  Learning  Strategies.  The  results
are shown in Tables 7 and 8.

As  shown  in  Table  8,  a  statistically
significant  difference  was  found  between
male  and  female  teachers’  perceptions  of
LLSs  (t  (66.84)  =  2.90,  p=  .00<.05).
Previous studies on the relationship between
gender and strategy use have come to mixed
conclusions.  Some  studies  discovered
significant gender differences in strategy use
(Ehrman & Oxford, 1989; Green & Oxford,
1995; Oxford & Nyikos, 1989) while others

failed  to  discover  any  evidence  of  differing
language  learning  strategy  use  between  the
genders  (Ehrman  &  Oxford,  1990;
Vandergrift,  1997).  The  results  of  the
present  research  are  in  line  with  Wharton’s
(2000)  study  which  indicated  that  males
used  more  LLSs  than  females.  However,
Gu’s  (2002)  study  suggested  that  female
learners  generally  make  better  use  of  the
learner  strategies,  particularly  those  helping
enlarging  vocabulary  size,  compared  with
their male counterparts.
 
Multiple  regressions  between  the
independent  variables  of  the  study  and
students’ achievement
Question  5:  In  order  to  determine  which
one of the teachers’ variables were the best
predictor  of  students’  L2  achievement,  a
multiple  regression  analysis  was  run.  The
results are shown in Tables 9, 10, and 11.

The  Standardized  Beta  Coefficients  is  a  measure
of how strongly each predictor variable influences
the  dependent  variable.  The  Beta  is  measured  in
units of standard deviation. As shown in Table 11,
teachers’  reflection  beta  value  is  .68  which
indicates  that  a  change  of  one  standard  deviation
in teachers’ reflection will result in change of .68
standard  deviations  in  students’  achievement.
Thus,  the  higher  the  beta  value  the  greater  the
impact  of  teachers’  variable  on  students’  L2
achievement.  As  can  be  seen  in  Table  11,  the
results  showed  that  teachers’  reflection  is  the
strongest  predictor  of  the  students’  L2
achievement  compared  with  the  other  variables.
Tolerance  and  VIF  give  the  same  information.  In
this  table,  since  Tolerance  value  is  high  (>  1-R
2)
,
there is no problem with multicollinearity.
 
 Unlike  classroom  management  orientations  and
perceptions of LLSs, teachers’ reflection made a
significantly unique contribution to predicting the
students’ achievement. This finding supports the
aforementioned  result  obtained  from  Pearson
correlation  between  reflection  and  L2
achievement, and serves to highlight the principal
role  that  teachers’  reflection  might  play  in
predicting  Iranian  EFL  students’  achievement
(Akbari, 2007; Goldhaber, 2002; Sanders, 2000).  
 
As  mentioned  above,  reflective  teachers  collect
information  about  their  classrooms,  examine
and  evaluate  it,  and  consider  the  consequences
of  their  actions,  which  in  turn  lead  to  higher
student  achievement  (Bainer  &  Cantrell,  1991).

his finding corroborates the idea of Akbari and
Karimi  Allvar  (2010)  who  suggested  that
“reflection is a passionate desire on the part of
teachers  to  transform  problematic  classroom
situations into opportunities for students to learn
and  grow”  (p.  13).  Thus,  reflective  teachers
attempt  to  increase  students’  learning  and
provide effective classroom situations.  
 
Conclusion and implications
The  aim  of  the  present  study  was  to
investigate the contributions of three teacher
variables (i.e., reflective teaching, classroom
management orientations, and perceptions of
LLSs)  to  students’  L2  achievement.  The
study  further  aimed  at  identifying  gender
differences  in  each  of  the  three  teacher
variables.  The  results  led  to  the  conclusion
that  teachers’ reflection and perceptions of
LLSs  had  a  significant  positive  correlation
with students’ achievement, suggesting that
developing teachers’ awareness of reflective
teaching  and  LLSs  are deemed necessary in
enhancing  students’  L2  achievement.
However,  classroom  management
orientations  were  found  to  have  a  negative
relationship  with  students’  achievement.
That is to say, the higher the level of control
exerted by the teachers in the classroom, the
lower  the  students’  L2  achievement.  From
among  three  teacher  variables,  teachers’
reflection  was  found  to  be  the  best
predicator  of  students’  achievement  which
reinforced  the  significant  role  of  reflective
practice in  EFL classes.  Another conclusion
derived  from  the  findings  of  the  study
proved  that  gender  differences  did  not  have
any  effects  on  teachers’  reflection  and
classroom  management;  while,  a  significant
difference  was  found  between  the  male  and
female  teachers  with  regards  to  their
perception of LLSs. Since the results of this
study  indicated  a  significant  relationship
between teachers’ perceptions of LLSs and
students’  L2  achievement,  it  seems
reasonable  to  recommend  that  during  pre-service  and  in-service  teacher  education
programs,  teachers  become  aware  of  the
importance  of  LLSs  and  get  familiar  with
the  ways  through  which  such  strategies  can
be  taught.  Moreover,  since  the  results
indicated reflection as the best predicator of
students’ achievement, it is deemed essential
for  EFL/ESL  teachers  to  enhance  their
awareness  of  reflection  and  apply  reflective
practice  in  their  classes  to  improve  the
quality  of  their  teaching.  Also,  teacher
trainers  should  make  teachers  familiar  with
efficient  classroom  management  skills  in
order  to  create  a  safe  learning  environment
that  ultimately  results  in  students’
achievement and success.
 
Limitations of the study
Although  efforts  have  been  made  to
guarantee  reliability  and  ensure  validity  in
the  present  study,  some  limitations  exist.  
First,  the  data  were  collected  using  self-report  questionnaires;  therefore,  there  might
be some discrepancies between the teachers’
actual  practices  in  their  classes  and  their
answers  to  the  questionnaires.  Next,  the
sample was extracted from two cities, Shiraz
and  Hamadan,  and  it  might  not  yield  a  true
picture  of  the  effect  of  EFL  teachers’
variables on students’ achievement in Iran.
Thereby, the results cannot be generalized to
all EFL teachers. Finally, the students’ score
on  their  final  English  exam  was  selected  as
an  index  of  their  English  achievement.
Despite all the necessary measures taken by
the  Central  Office  of  Educational
Measurement to ensure test security, similar
administration  across  the  country,  and  fair
scoring  of  the  test  papers;  still  some
unsystematic  variations  might  exist  which
are out of the researchers’ control.

 

 

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