TEACHER EMOTIONAL SUPPORT AND COOPERATIVE LEARNING: THE IMPACT ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

K. Yeung

Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HONG KONG)
Most undergraduate and postgraduate social science programs require one or more compulsory statistics courses so that the students can conduct their own research projects and evaluate real-world concepts. The motivation and statistics achievement of university students must be understood within not only specific learning contexts but also the broader psychological setting in which they function. However, there is a paucity of research to examine how teacher emotional support, directly and indirectly, affects university students’ statistics performance in a non-western context. This study examined whether university first-year students’ perceptions of the classroom contextual characteristics were related to their psychological climate perceptions and psychological mediators, which, in turn, their statistics scores in one study. Students reported on their perceptions of teacher emotional support, cooperative learning environment, statistics self-concept, self-efficacy and anxiety. Students’ statistics scores were obtained and converted from their final statistics grades. Consistent with the Self-Determination Theory (SDT), teacher emotional support is significantly and positively related to cooperative learning and statistics self-concept, which, in turn, statistics self-efficacy. Consistent with expectation, significant and negative correlations existed between statistics anxiety and statistics self-concept.

Relationships between statistics anxiety and:
(1) cooperative learning; and
(2) statistics scores, both were not significant though in expected direction.

Importantly, statistics self-concept was found to have a higher correlation with statistics scores than statistics self-efficacy. We suggest that teacher emotional support can create a psychologically calm and satisfied learning environment for university students, which in turn, improve their statistics performances.