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Students’ perception and use of English in higher education institutions: Links with academic self-efficacy

Ida Fatimawati Adi Badiozaman (Swinburne University of Technology, Kuching, Malaysia)
Hugh John Leong (Swinburne University of Technology, Kuching, Malaysia)
Olivia Jikus (Swinburne University of Technology, Kuching, Malaysia)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Article publication date: 25 January 2019

Issue publication date: 25 January 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore students’ perception and use of English in higher education (HE) institutions in Malaysia. In doing so, it aims to better understand the relationship between students’ perception of English and academic self-efficacy, particularly since English is used as a medium of instruction in HE institutions.

Design/methodology/approach

Approximately, 980 questionnaires were distributed to four HE institutions to explore relationships and patterns of students perceived English language proficiency and academic self-efficacy as potential variables shaping their academic performance. About 838 students participated.

Findings

The findings revealed that although students did not rate their English proficiency very highly, they placed high value on English in regards to their academic performance and job prospects upon graduation. More importantly, the findings also show that the majority of the students had high academic self-efficacy beliefs in L2, and were more accurate at calibrating their efficacy beliefs with subsequent performance in academic settings, unlike typical research findings on Asian students as generally holding lower self-efficacy beliefs. This finding was evidenced by the strong and positive relationship between perceived English language competence and academic self-efficacy in L2.

Practical implications

It is imperative that students’ academic self-efficacy beliefs be enhanced as it has been revealed to mobilise motivation and cognitive resources. It is also necessary to offer targeted support services specifically designed to further help students to improve their English academic skills.

Originality/value

In this study, rewards offered by instrumental motivation in terms of increased academic literacy and career appear to supersede the motive of identification with the L2 language community. It is likely that students in Malaysian HE institutions are becoming increasingly motivated to study due to their own visions and desires, rather than as a result of external requirements. Such findings should be capitalised since self-efficacy is predictive of academic performance.

Keywords

Citation

Adi Badiozaman, I.F., Leong, H.J. and Jikus, O. (2019), "Students’ perception and use of English in higher education institutions: Links with academic self-efficacy", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 36-49. https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-07-2018-0113

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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