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Chinese EFL Students' Perceptions of Classroom Justice: The Impact of Teachers' Caring and Immediacy


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The correlation between students' perceptions of three dimensions of classroom justice, teacher immediacy, and teacher caring has been found important since it can provide a learning ambiance for students in which they can enthusiastically learn a new language. To find out this relationship, the present study has strived to probe into the interplay between the aforementioned variables and to see whether teacher caring and teacher immediacy can predict students' perception of justice. In so doing, the participants of this study were 1,178 Chinese EFL students of various ages and education levels. Three instruments were utilized in this study to perceive the students' perception of classroom justice, teacher immediacy, and teacher caring. To collect the data, these instruments were distributed through an online survey software called Wenjuanxing (Questionnaire Star). Results demonstrated that there was a positive association among these three variables, and utilizing SEM analyses, it was found that both teacher immediacy and teacher caring predict students' perception of classroom justice that implies teachers who are found to be more caring and give appropriate verbal and non-verbal immediacy where needed, are perceived to change the students' understanding of the classroom justice to a positive attitude. Finally, the results of this study were discussed regarding previous findings, and accordingly, some implications were put forward in the EFL context.
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published: 21 October 2021
doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.767008
Frontiers in Psychology | 1October 2021 | Volume 12 | Article 767008
Edited by:
Ali Derakhshan,
Golestan University, Iran
Reviewed by:
Ehsan Namaziandost,
Islamic Azad University of
Shahrekord, Iran
Jie Ding,
Luoyang Normal University, China
Ping Yan
Specialty section:
This article was submitted to
Educational Psychology,
a section of the journal
Frontiers in Psychology
Received: 30 August 2021
Accepted: 20 September 2021
Published: 21 October 2021
Yan P (2021) Chinese EFL Students’
Perceptions of Classroom Justice:
The Impact of Teachers’ Caring and
Front. Psychol. 12:767008.
doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.767008
Chinese EFL Students’ Perceptions
of Classroom Justice: The Impact of
Teachers’ Caring and Immediacy
Ping Yan*
School of Foreign Languages, Henan University, Kaifeng, China
The correlation between students’ perceptions of three dimensions of classroom justice,
teacher immediacy, and teacher caring has been found important since it can provide a
learning ambiance for students in which they can enthusiastically learn a new language.
To find out this relationship, the present study has strived to probe into the interplay
between the aforementioned variables and to see whether teacher caring and teacher
immediacy can predict students’ perception of justice. In so doing, the participants of
this study were 1,178 Chinese EFL students of various ages and education levels. Three
instruments were utilized in this study to perceive the students’ perception of classroom
justice, teacher immediacy, and teacher caring. To collect the data, these instruments
were distributed through an online survey software called Wenjuanxing (Questionnaire
Star). Results demonstrated that there was a positive association among these three
variables, and utilizing SEM analyses, it was found that both teacher immediacy
and teacher caring predict students’ perception of classroom justice that implies
teachers who are found to be more caring and give appropriate verbal and non-verbal
immediacy where needed, are perceived to change the students’ understanding of the
classroom justice to a positive attitude. Finally, the results of this study were discussed
regarding previous findings, and accordingly, some implications were put forward in the
EFL context.
Keywords: classroom justice, teachers’ caring, teachers’ immediacy, English as a foreign language (EFL),
students’ perception
Teachers without a shadow of a doubt are said to be one of the most important stakeholders
particularly in the English as foreign/second language contexts and by whom students’ perception
of justice and engagement are highly impacted (Pishghadam et al., 2019). It was positive psychology
that paves the way to think of the teacher-student relationship as a humanistic concept and it has
been claimed that the way students are treated in the classroom affects their learning process.
Furthermore, in order to enhance teacher quality, some strategies should be implemented to
heighten students’ passion and cause them to actively engage in the activities (MacIntyre and
Mercer, 2014). Students’ perception of classroom justice is of paramount importance as well.
As it was claimed by Ciuladiene and Raˇ
celyte (2016), three types of justice can be dealt with
considering the educational context. Distributive justice refers to the grades which are received
by the students and the amount to which students attract their teachers’ attention. The second
Yan Students’ Perceptions of Classroom Justice
category of justice is procedural justice which incorporates how
students’ homework is evaluated, what methods are used by the
teacher to manipulate the class, and the strategies applied in the
class for students’ behavior to be controlled. The third category
of justice in the classroom is instructional justice. It is concerned
with how much students are treated reverently and courteously
by the teachers, and if the information can be clearly conveyed to
the students by the teacher.
Another point that can be emphasized is teacher care and
teacher immediacy through which worthwhile engagement can
be created. Teacher care as a strategy falls under the category of
teacher clarity in that the clearer the teacher’s words, teaching
methods, and examples are, the higher the comprehension and
engagement would be and accordingly, it builds up an excellent
teacher-student rapport. Teacher immediacy is described as a
collection of non-verbal and verbal strategies and behaviors
that are given by the teachers to generate a sense of closeness
with the students (Cakir, 2015; Xie and Derakhshan, 2021).
Moreover, studies show that teacher clarity and immediacy
are interconnected; however, their functions are a bit different
(Titsworth et al., 2015). They are at alteration since teacher clarity
causes cognitive enthusiasm and teacher immediacy provokes
emotional passion (Mazer, 2013). Both teachers’ caring and
teachers’ immediacy are relevant to positive psychology in which
the focus puts on how individuals can thrive and be happier,
concentrating on positive emotions like hope, enthusiasm,
resilience, positivity, and so forth rather than negative feelings
(Dewaele, 2015; MacIntyre et al., 2019) which means when
students are behaved fairly in the class by their teachers through
being given care as well as verbal and non-verbal immediacy,
it boosts students’ spirits and makes them feel better about
themselves. The current study has stressed the predictive impact
of teachers’ caring and immediacy on students’ perception of
justice. It is of great importance that how students are treated
in the class shapes their viewpoints about the classroom and it
strongly impacts teachers themselves; therefore, the association
among these three variables has been dealt with in this study.
It differs from the previous studies in two aspects. Firstly, even
though knowing the correlation among students’ perception of
justice, teacher caring, and teacher immediacy reveals benefits
that can be practiced by teachers to have a nice learning
environment, reviewing the relevant studies presented that no
experimental study has tested the concurrent effects of these
three variables so far. For instance, a study carried out by Liu
(2021) showed that students’ motivation is positively impacted by
teacher immediacy. Despite the fact that it was a comprehensive
study, just one of the variables in the present study was used
there. Another example that can be taken into account is a
study carried out by Zheng (2021) in which five other variables
were dealt with: teachers’ clarity, immediacy, credibility, students’
motivation, and students’ engagement. Therefore, these three
variables in the current study have not been analyzed in previous
studies. Secondly, this study has been conducted in China which
is another factor that makes it different from the previous studies.
In an effort to find the relationship between these three variables,
the author in the present research made an endeavor to answer
the next two research questions:
1. Are there any significant relationships between Chinese EFL
teachers’ caring, immediacy, and their students’ perceptions of
classroom justice?
2. Do Chinese EFL teachers’ caring and immediacy significantly
predict their students’ perceptions of classroom justice?
Classroom Justice
The Importance of Justice in Life and in Educational
Justice is of great importance in life; it can be seen in political
sciences, social sciences, and organizational behaviors in society.
Other factors are related to justice in society and it is why it
attracted much attention (Cropanzano and Greenberg, 1997).
Regarding the educational contexts, many famous people have
established the social psychology theory of justice. It has
been discovered that many student variables are impacted by
students’ perception of classroom justice such as the students
level of motivation, academic aims, engagement, the teacher-
student relationship, both behavioral and emotional reactions,
showing enthusiasm in the subjects, the amount of willingness
to talk, how they feel about their teacher, and cognitive
learning. Positive equity, inspiration, and affective learning
are decidedly anticipated by perceptions (Chory-Assad, 2002),
and they positively affect accomplishment (Burns and DiPaola,
2013). Many studies of justice in the instructional context
have concentrated on the students’ perceptions of classroom
justice that are related to their behavioral/affective answers and
academic results (Rasooli et al., 2018). Nonetheless, how teachers
identify their own justice in different aspects of the classroom is
critical for creating and keeping a just classroom environment
(Grazia et al., 2020). Students’ perception of unfairness in the
context of the class can cause negative behavior, fight, dishonesty,
anger, and struggle increase as shown by Ciuladiene and Raˇ
(2016). This study discovered students who experience unjust
teacher behavior in the learning contexts. It was reported by
the students in the mentioned study that they experienced
interactional injustice more often than experiencing distributive
or procedural injustice.
Distributive Justice
Justice can be categorized into three categories: distributive,
procedural, and interactional justice. Distributive justice is
described as an understanding of fairness regarding distributing
outcomes. Three following principles can explicate this type
of justice more: need (how the outcome is distributed when
one expects or needs something), equity (how the outcome
is distributed according to one’s diligence, contribution, and
performance), and equality (how equally the outcome among
people are distributed) (Deutsch, 1975). School was portrayed
by Dalbert and Stoeber (2006) as a space where students
face significant distribution choices. Distributive equity can be
dissected regarding the grades which are gotten by various
students and with the point that who stands out enough to be
noticed by the teacher (Chory-Assad and Paulsel, 2004).
Frontiers in Psychology | 2October 2021 | Volume 12 | Article 767008
Yan Students’ Perceptions of Classroom Justice
Procedural Justice
Procedural justice refers to the understanding of fairness
in terms of utilized measures and policies so as to make
allocation decisions. This justice is perceived to be kept when
the measures are judged to be fair such as “bias dominance
principal,” recognized on satisfactory and accurate information
such as “accuracy principle,” engaged regularly across time and
individuals such as “consistency principle,” adaptable such as
“correctability principle,” considering all individuals’ concerns
who are engaged such as “voice principle,” resting on the
predominant ethical and moral values such as “ethicality
principle”, enacted clearly and with clarity such as “transparency
principle,” and are rational “reasonableness principle” (Leventhal,
1980; Kazemi and Törnblom, 2008; Rasooli et al., 2019).
Interactional and procedural fairness are inspected in the
instructive contexts as well. It was mentioned by Chory-Assad
(2007) that there are three cycles in the instructional contexts,
regarding procedural equity. The main cycle incorporates the
manners in which homework assignments are evaluated, the
second includes techniques utilized by the teacher to run the
class, and the third deals with the arrangements used to control
the students’ conduct. Fair techniques that can be used to lead
the class are clarified in Horan et al. (2010). Nine classifications
were grouped thinking about procedural unfairness. Just as
evaluating techniques, it is additionally worried about different
issues, for example, cosmetics/late arrangements, planning, data
for tests, criticism, teachers’ mistakes, not finishing promises,
class methods, and not upholding strategies. This idea was upheld
by Houston and Bettencourt (1999) that upheld the idea that
justice manages activities in regards to the clearness and precision
of the information offered to the students with respect to the class
and tests.
Interactional Justice
Interactional justice that is the third classification of
organizational justice, pertains to the understanding of fairness
in conveying information and interpersonal relationships,
when individuals perceive to be in a friendly atmosphere such as
“caring principle,” behaved reverentially such as respect principle,
and with dignity such as “propriety principle,” and when
information is transferred to them in an appropriate manner
such as “timeliness principle,” sincerely such as “truthfulness
principle,” and according to sufficient and rational clarifications
such as “adequacy/justification principle” (Greenberg, 1993;
Colquitt, 2001; Rasooli et al., 2019). Out of the three dimensions,
distributive justice was the one which was said to be the most
crucially important from the teacher’s point of view which can be
seen in different forms, from grading, giving feedback to praising
and providing students with opportunities. Interactional equity
alludes to the justice and quality of interpersonal treatment that
people are given when strategies are cultivated.
As indicated by Chory-Assad (2002), interactional equity
incorporates two elements. The principal thing is passing on data
obviously. The subsequent one is concerned with dignity and
reverence. In the classroom, interactional equity is concerned
with the degree to which educators connect with their students
politely, honorably, and straightforwardly. Assessments of the
teacher’s interactional equity concern when the educator care
about students’ perspectives, pays attention to their interests and
interacts in a decent way with them Chory-Assad and Paulsel
(2004). Horan and associates’ examination recommended that
interactional equity issues included harshness/discourteousness,
expressing or suggesting ineptitude, racist and biased comments,
singling out understudies, blaming students for bad behavior, and
teacher affecting intellectually (Estaji and Zhaleh, 2021).
Teacher Caring
Teacher care was first introduced by Noddings (1984) which
refers to the amount of empathy shared and the openness in
face of other people’s needs. Likewise, the same goes for the
educational contexts (Gasser et al., 2018). Students’ well-being,
feeling revered, the amount of being engaged during the class,
the level of self-esteem, and their performance are stimulated
when teachers show care (Derakhshan et al., 2019). In a study
conducted by Liu et al. (2021), the relationship between teacher
support, which can be regarded as a part of teachers’ caring,
and creative self-efficacy with students’ autonomous motivation
and achievement motivation was studied in China. It has been
found that students’ motivation in academic contexts was affected
by teachers’ support; however, no considerable association was
discovered between teachers’ support and students’ creative self-
efficacy. Although this study was of great importance due to
the variables analyzed, the present study can be noticeable since
it has put forward three main variables, especially teachers’
caring which can be perceived as an umbrella term for teacher
support. Teachers’ caring is a substantial part of the educational
context since it causes students to feel revered and they are
more inclined to accept the classroom values in this way. When
classroom values are respected by the students, they are more
likely to learn the materials in a better way. It was claimed
that caring about others makes one care about himself as well
(Ryan and Deci, 2000; Ware, 2006). As indicated by Mayeroff
(1971), caring is an interaction through which one becomes more
acquainted with someone else, thinking about earlier conduct,
patience, truthfulness, quietude, and dependence. Mayeroff
(1971) suggests that caring is not necessarily a reciprocal
act. Similarly, Bluestein (1991) perceives that a relationship
comprises of specific jobs that may not include corresponding
practices. For example, the relationship between instructors and
students can be characterized by a role that the instructor should
really focus on students as his responsibility in his expert work.
Albeit caring has been related to progress, secondary school
students’ understanding is restricted, and it is perhaps because
of the way that their theoretical reasoning has not been formed at
this point. It was accentuated in past examinations that students
were almost certain to remain in school when they saw educators
as just (Knesting, 2008). Instructor caring was shown by practices
that worked on students’ gifts, support their confidence, value
their thoughts, and revere them as people. Likewise, Geary
(1988) suggested that school achievement was facilitated by an
instructor who is caring, approachable, compatible, encouraging,
considerate, a decent audience, and funny. In a thorough report,
Coburn and Nelson (1989) studied around 300 Native-American
secondary school students in Washington, Montana, Oregon,
Frontiers in Psychology | 3October 2021 | Volume 12 | Article 767008
Yan Students’ Perceptions of Classroom Justice
and Idaho. These students portrayed efficacious teachers as
gracious, mindful, listening altogether, showing an uplifting
perspective, giving assistance promptly, reassuring, agreeable,
having the students engaged in activities, and giving students
positive feedback.
In addition, Coley (1995) investigated information from the
National Center for Education Statistics to perceive factors that
brought about the drop-out rate in the United States. It was
accounted for that about 43% of students surrendered school
since they loathed school; under 40% told that getting grades that
were not palatable was the reason; over 25% expressed there was a
phony connection between their instructors and them, and about
25% could not feel a sense of having a place at school.
Teacher Immediacy
Teacher Immediacy is conceptualized as a range of behaviors
such as giving a smile, making eye contact, and close premixes
which help the communicators to form a sense of physical
and psychological closeness (Richmond et al., 2008). Verbal
immediacy can be exemplified in this way: when students are
asked about their ideas, they are asked to be involved in a friendly
conversation, and teachers use a great sense of humor. Non-
verbal immediacy, on the other hand, refers to teachers smiling,
making eye contact, and using relaxing postures (Wendt and
Courduff, 2018). It has been shown that students’ empowerment
and engagement can be enhanced through teacher immediacy,
their anxiety decreases, and their attention is sustained (Bolkan,
2017). In a study conducted by Derakhshan (2021) both language
teachers’ non-verbal immediacy and credibility have been found
to be predictors of Turkman students’ academic engagement.
Gholamrezaee and Ghanizadeh (2018) also tested how students’
self-actualization, self-esteem, stress-control, cognitive learning,
and emotional exhaustion have been affected by EFL teachers’
immediacy. It has been discovered through the SEM analysis that
all the constructs relevant to the students, particularly students’
self-actualization were positively impacted by teacher immediacy.
Similarly, according to Sheybani (2019), students’ willingness
to communicate was significantly and positively influenced by
teachers’ verbal and non-verbal immediacy.
Teacher immediacy can be exemplified in different forms
such as using out-of-the class examples and experiences so as
to create a sense of closeness and cause students to fit in with a
new language which is actually viewed as a new culture. Asking
questions and encouraging students to talk that causes them to
start talking in a foreign/second language regardless of all the
language barriers which can be experienced while learning a new
one. Using humor in class brings about many advantages, out
of which is establishing a friendly atmosphere in which students
are not horrified by speaking even if they are panic-stricken.
Addressing students by name is another behavior that can be
used by the teacher to increase a sense of value in students and
as a result, they may feel they have the bravery to start talking
due to the fact that they may make some mistakes. Parsing
students’ work, actions, or comments falls under the category
of verbal immediacy that has been found to play a paramount
role in students’ well-being and their academic achievements.
Considering both types of teacher immediacy, the following
examples are perceived as non-verbal immediacy. Sitting behind
the desk while teaching is said to be monotonous for students
and they may lose concentration while their teacher gets stuck
at his desk. Smiling at individual students in the class is another
construct that can be practiced by teachers if they are inclined
to build up a nice rapport with the students. Having a very tense
body position, additionally, causes a stressful situation and makes
students feel fearful to be engaged in the activities.
Positive Psychology
A new era of positive psychology happened in the educational
context when MacIntyre and Gregersen (2012) put emphasis
on it. Therefore, researchers’ concentration was shifted from
negative emotions such as anxiety and boredom (Marcos-Llinás
and Garau, 2009; Pawlak et al., 2020; Derakhshan et al., 2021)
to both negative and positive emotions (Kruk, 2021) that can be
found in the learning and teaching process. It was highlighted
in applied positive psychology that both negative and positive
emotions are interwoven, and they cannot be separated from each
other in many contexts and sometimes they are complementary
(MacIntyre and Gregersen, 2012; Wang et al., 2021). Positive
emotions have been said to add more meaning and enjoyment to
the process of learning, and it causes students to be more resilient
when encountering challenging issues in the instructional context
(Gregersen, 2013).
Positive psychology dramatically throve in 2016 after a
thorough book published by MacIntyre et al. (2016). In their
book, the authors noted that four main contributions have been
made by positive psychology that impacted L2 education. The
first one emphasized the movement from negative emotions to
positive emotions which means emotions will play a pivotal role
in L2 educational contexts, and both teachers and the educational
achievements of the students (Li, 2020). The second noticeable
influence of positive psychology in instructional contexts is
the model which was entitled as “model of character strength”
(Park et al., 2004). Six categories of characters are found to
have a paramount impact on personal development: fairness,
superiority, humanity, moderation, bravery, and wisdom. When
it comes to an educational concept, provided that these
characteristics are strengthened by teachers and learners, they
can thrive (MacIntyre, 2021). The third influence is the
movement from PERMA to EMPATICS to perceive well-
being within positive psychology (Oxford, 2016). It was
Seligman (2011) who devised the PERMA model l, which is a
controversial concept, stands for Positive emotions, Engagement,
Relationships, Meaning in life, and Accomplishment. According
to the model raised, in order to find meaning in life, a strong
positive connection should be among these factors resulting
in individuals’ well-being (Mercer and Gregersen, 2020). After
that, this model was expanded by Oxford (2016, p. 10) which
was called: EMPATHICS, incorporating the nine components
of “(1) Emotion and empathy, (2) Meaning and motivation,
(3) Perseverance, including hope, resilience, and optimism, (4)
Agency and autonomy, (5) Time, (6) Hardiness and habits
of mind, (7) Intelligences, (8) Character strengths, and (9)
Self factors self-verification, self-esteem, self-concept, and self-
efficacy.” As indicated by Oxford (2016) many of these factors
Frontiers in Psychology | 4October 2021 | Volume 12 | Article 767008
Yan Students’ Perceptions of Classroom Justice
such as empathy and resilience have not been studied by
researchers yet which means they can be utilized for further
research. The fourth influence of positive psychology in L2
contexts is flow theory (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990) that is the extent
to which one is so immersed in doing tasks that he forgets about
time. Reference as a result, students’ L2 learning attainments, and
success are highly influenced by students’ experiencing flow.
It has been said that students’ perceptions of classroom justice
have a positive correlation with both teacher caring and teacher
immediacy. It is perceived by the students as fair when they
are treated as follows: being given enough attention by their
teachers, being provided with feedback on one’s individual work,
using comments on papers or oral discussions, being addressed
by their first name, and being asked some questions, and being
encouraged to talk which fall under the category of verbal
immediacy. On the other hand, using a dull voice when talking
to class, sitting on a desk or in a chair while teaching, and having
a very tense body position while talking to the class that falls
under the category of non-verbal teacher immediacy are viewed
as unfair by the students. In terms of teacher caring, when a
teacher is understanding and sympathetic, they are viewed as
fair teachers by the students. As has been revealed by Greenier
et al. (2021), there is a positive correlation between teachers’
psychological well-being and their work engagement. Therefore,
when a teacher feels good about his personal and working life, he
can be actively engaged in what he does and as a consequence,
they energize students to be involved in the activities.
Participants’ Demographic Information
In this study, the final 1,178 participants were from four
universities in Henan province, namely Henan University,
Henan Polytechnic University, Zhengzhou University of
Aeronautics and Huanghuai University. To maximize the
variation of the sample that enhances the generalizability of
the outcomes, participants were from more than 15 majors
including Chinese literature, French language, Law, Philosophy,
Chemistry, Biological Sciences, Accounting, etc. They were
heterogeneous in terms of gender, with 342 (29.03%) male and
830 (70.46%) female, six participants (0.51%) preferred not to
reveal their gender identity. In the sample, participants were
of different levels of education, with 266 (22.58%) freshmen,
838 (71.14%) sophomores, 56 (4.75%) juniors, and 18 (1.53)
seniors. They were opted for based on random sampling. The
respondents who were reassured that their information would
be kept secret and be utilized only for research purposes signed
their consent agreement before they participated in this survey.
Students’ Perceptions of Classroom Justice
The present study drew on Chory-Assad and Paulsel’s (2004)
scale to evaluate students’ comprehension of classroom justice. It
includes distributive justice that contains two parts with 14 items
on which students were expected to evaluate the fairness of the
grades given in a course. It also encompasses procedural justice
including 17 items on which students were supposed to evaluate
teachers’ policies and schedules, and it also contains interactional
justice including 8 items on which students were expected to
evaluate teachers’ interpersonal relationship with their students.
Three examples for the above instruments are, respectively, as
follows: students’ grades on the last exam were compared to the
ones of their classmates; how the teacher coordinates the class
discussions, and the way students are treated by their teachers.
All the aforementioned instruments were supposed to be rated
on a 5-point Likert Scale ranging from extremely unfair (1) to
extremely fair (5).
Teachers’ Caring
The other instrument used in this study was teacher caring
developed and validated by Koehn and Crowell (1996). The items
were introduced in a standard way and each item included a
seven-step continuum for the response. Students were supposed
to rate the items and indicate their feeling about their current
teacher in the following way: Numbers 1 and 7 showing a very
strong feeling, numbers 2 and 6 indicating a strong feeling,
numbers 3 and 5 expressing a fairly weak feeling, and number
4 showing the students are undecided.
Teachers’ Immediacy
The subsequent instrument estimated students’ impression of
teacher immediacy developed by Richmond et al. (1987), featured
two parts, the first part that evaluated teachers’ verbal immediacy
includes 17 items, and the second part that evaluated teachers’
non-verbal immediacy consists of five items. Students were
supposed to rate the items on a 5-point Likert Scale ranging from
Never (0) to almost always (4).
Data Collection Procedure
The questionnaires mentioned above consists of three sections
and 71 items in total. To assure the accurate understanding of
the questions and credibility of responses, all the instructions and
items were conducted in Chinese. A free online survey platform
called Wenjuanxing (Questionnaire Star) was utilized to generate
the electronic questionnaire.
The link of questionnaire was sent to English teachers and
tutors of above mentioned four universities through Wechat, and
then was sent to class Wechat group. Students may feel free to fill
the questionnaire if they were willing to participate in the survey.
The survey was conducted between July 21 and July 22. The
final 1,178 participants were of different levels of education, with
266 (22.58%) freshman, 838 (71.14%) sophomore, 56(4.75%)
junior, and 18 (1.53) senior. They were from different colleges,
covering more than 15 majors. The respondents who were
reassured that their information would be kept secret and be
utilized only for research purposes gave consent as the first item
of electronic questionnaire. Their personal information would
remain confidential.
Data Analysis
In the present study, to find the relationship between the students’
perception of classroom justice, teacher caring, and teacher
immediacy, Pearson correlation was utilized which showed
that all the sub-constructs of classroom justice are positively
Frontiers in Psychology | 5October 2021 | Volume 12 | Article 767008
Yan Students’ Perceptions of Classroom Justice
correlated with both teachers’ caring and immediacy. Likewise,
SEM analysis was used to find if Chinese EFL teachers’ caring
and immediacy significantly predict their students’ perceptions
of classroom justice. It has been shown that students’ perceptions
of classroom justice are significantly predicted by both Chinese
EFL teachers’ caring and immediacy.
Table 1 illuminates the normality of the data, utilizing
Kolmogorov-Smirnov test.
The results of the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test indicated that
the data are normally distributed across all variables and
parametric statistics can be utilized. Table 2 displays descriptive
statistics of Chinese EFL teachers’ caring, immediacy, and their
students’ perceptions of classroom justice including the number
of participants, the mean, and the standard deviation.
As Table 2 shows, 1,178 students participated in the present
study. Besides, it was found that classroom justice has a
mean score of 170.96, teachers’ caring has a mean score of
52.10, and teachers’ immediacy has a mean score of 60.16.
Table 3 summarizes the information obtained from Cronbach
alpha analyses.
TABLE 1 | The results of K-S test.
Statistic df Sig.
Classroom justice 0.08 1,178 0.09
Teachers’ caring 0.09 1,178 0.08
Teachers’ immediacy 0.06 1,178 0.11
aLilliefors significance correction.
TABLE 2 | Descriptive statistics of the variables of the study.
NMinimum Maximum Mean SD
Classroom justice 1,178 66 195 170.96 15.50
Teachers’ caring 1,178 31 70 52.10 8.08
Teachers’ immediacy 1,178 13 88 60.16 10.35
TABLE 3 | Results of Cronbach alpha indexes.
Scale Subscales Cronbach alpha
Teachers’ caring 0.82
Distributive1 0.85
Classroom justice Distributive2 0.91
Procedural 0.95
Interactional 0.89
Overall justice 0.96
Verbal 0.94
Teachers’ immediacy Non-verbal 0.70
Overall immediacy 0.94
As can be seen, the utilized questionnaires gained acceptable
indexes of Cronbach alpha as a whole as well as in their subscales.
To answer the first research question, Pearson correlation
was employed. Table 4 shows the results of Pearson correlation
between overall EFL teachers’ caring, immediacy, and their
students’ perceptions of classroom justice.
As it can be seen in Table 4, there are positive significant
relationships between overall teachers’ caring and students
perceptions of classroom justice (r=0.56, n=1,178, p=0.000,
α=0.01) and their immediacy (r=0.48, n=1,178, p=0.000,
α=0.01). Moreover, there is a positive significant relationship
between overall teacher immediacy and students’ perceptions of
classroom justice (r=0.50, n=1,178, p=0.000, α=0.01).
Table 5 shows the results of the Pearson correlation between
all sub-constructs students’ perceptions of classroom justice and
overall teachers’ caring.
As Table 5 demonstrates, there are positive significant
relationships between all sub-constructs students’ perceptions
of classroom justice and overall teachers’ caring: Distributive1
(r=0.47, n=1,178, p=0.000, α=0.01), Distributive2 (r=0.50,
n=1,178, p=0.000, α=0.01), Procedural (r=0.55, n=1,178,
p=0.000, α=0.01), Interactional (r=0.56, n=1,178, p=0.000,
Table 6 shows the results of Pearson correlation between all
sub-constructs students’ perceptions of classroom justice and
overall teachers’ immediacy.
As Table 6 demonstrates, there are positive significant
relationships between all sub-constructs students’ perceptions of
classroom justice and verbal immediacy: Distributive1 (r=0.42,
n=1,178, p=0.000, α=0.01), Distributive2 (r=0.44, n=1,178,
p=0.000, α=0.01), Procedural (r=0.49, n=1,178, p=0.000,
TABLE 4 | Results of Pearson correlation between overall EFL teachers’ caring,
immediacy, and their students’ perceptions of classroom justice.
Justice Caring Immediacy
Justice Pearson correlation 1
Sig. (2-tailed)
Caring Pearson correlation 0.56** 1
Sig. (2-tailed) 0.000
N1,178 1,178
Immediacy Pearson correlation 0.50** 0.48** 1
Sig. (2-tailed) 0.000 0.000
N1,178 1,178 1,178
**Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
TABLE 5 | Results of Pearson correlation between all sub-constructs students’
perceptions of classroom justice and overall teachers’ caring.
Distributive1 Distributive2 Procedural Interactional
Teachers’ caring 0.47** 0.50** 0.55** 0.56**
**Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
Frontiers in Psychology | 6October 2021 | Volume 12 | Article 767008
Yan Students’ Perceptions of Classroom Justice
TABLE 6 | Results of Pearson correlation between all sub-constructs students’
perceptions of classroom justice and overall teachers’ immediacy.
Distributive1 Distributive2 Procedural Interactional
Verbal 0.42** 0.44** 0.49** 0.50**
Non-verbal 0.36 0.36 0.40 0.41
**Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
α=0.01), Interactional (r=0.50, n=1,178, p=0.000, α=0.01).
Furthermore, there are positive significant relationship between
all sub-constructs students’ perceptions of classroom justice and
non-verbal immediacy: Distributive1 (r=0.36, n=1,178, p=
0.000, α=0.01), Distributive2 (r=0.36, n=1,178, p=0.000, α
=0.01), Procedural (r=0.40, n=1,178, p=0.000, α=0.01),
Interactional (r=0.41, n=1,178, p=0.000, α=0.01).
To address the second research question, SEM was used
through Amos 24. For the qualities of the causal connections
among the segments to be checked, the normalized estimates
were analyzed. As shown in Figure 1, the model of the
interrelationships among factors.
As indicated in Figure 1, both teachers’ immediacy (β=
0.30, p<0.05) and teachers’ caring (β=0.42, p<0.05)
are positive significant predictors of students’ perceptions
of classroom justice. Finally, teachers’ immediacy correlated
positively and significantly with their caring (β=0.41,
For the model fit to be checked, goodness of fit indices was
utilized. Goodness of fit indices can be visible in Table 7. In
this study, χ2/df, GFI, CFI, and RMSEA were employed. In
order to have a fit model, χ2/df is required to be <3, GFI CFI,
and NFI is required to be above 0.90, and RMSEA is required
to be <0.08.
Table 7 delineates that all the integrity of fit indices can run
inside the satisfactory level. Thus, the model had a reasonable
level of validity.
The current study aimed to probe into a predictive role of
EFL teachers’ caring and teachers’ immediacy in students’
perception of classroom justice that was done in China. Some
important findings were put forward through this research.
Among the variables, classroom justice has the highest mean,
while teachers’ caring obtained the lowest mean. As can be
implied, the highest correlation is ascribed to teachers’ caring
and students’ perception of classroom justice. The second
highest correlation can be seen between teachers’ immediacy
and students’ perception of classroom justice. It is also found
that the relationship between all the sub-constructs of classroom
justice is positive and out of which interactional justice reached
the highest (r=0.56, p=0.000). Considering all the sub-
factors of classroom justice, it can be perceived that all the sub-
constructs including distributive, procedural, and instructional
justice are positively correlated with the sub-constructs of
teachers’ immediacy including verbal immediacy and non-
verbal immediacy, among which the highest relationship can
be found between instructional justice and verbal immediacy.
It implies that teachers’ caring and teachers’ immediacy have
a pivotal impact on how students perceive classroom justice.
If the students are supported and are given verbal and non-
verbal immediacy, their perception of classroom justice will
meaningfully enhance. Last but not least, the SEM analysis
clearly showed that both teachers’ immediacy and teachers’ caring
are positive significant predictors of students’ perceptions of
classroom justice.
The current study aimed to test a predictive role of teacher
immediacy and teacher care in Chinese students’ perception of
justice. The importance of three variables, students’ perception
of classroom justice, teacher immediacy, and teacher caring as
well as the relationship among the variables have been discussed.
As indicted by Pishghadam et al. (2019) productive language
teaching is something beyond just teaching the subject-matter
and conveying information, yet, the psychological aspect of
teaching in the educational area should be emphasized. Since
teachers and students communicate well in a friendly learning
ambiance, it seems essential that a nice rapport be shaped
(Xie and Derakhshan, 2021). The results revealed that these
three variables were positively correlated. Classroom justice is
perceived as positive through students’ eyes provided that they
are treated with care and also with appropriate verbal and non-
verbal immediacy by their teachers.
With regard to the first research question of this study,
the results of correlational analyses showed that there is a
significant positive correlation, first, between teacher immediacy
and students’ perception of classroom justice, second, between
teacher caring and students’ perception of classroom justice.
Likewise, regarding the second research question, both teachers’
immediacy and teachers’ caring have been found to be the
predictors of students’ perception of classroom justice by
employing SEM analysis. It can be noted that this finding was
in line with the outcomes of Liu (2021) study underscoring the
considerable role of teacher verbal and non-verbal immediacy
on students’ motivation and it was also consistent with Zheng
(2021) emphasizing the impact of teacher clarity, immediacy, and
credibility on students’ motivation and classroom engagement
even though students’ perception of justice was not a variable
in the above studies and instead, students’ motivation and
engagement were analyzed. Additionally, the findings of the
current research are somewhat consistent with the following
Derakhshan’s (2021) in which it has been found that Turkman
students’ academic engagement is highly impacted by teachers
verbal and non-verbal immediacy. Alternatively, Gholamrezaee
and Ghanizadeh (2018) found that students’ constructs such
as self-esteem and self-actualization are influenced by teachers’
immediacy. Knesting’s (2008) findings provide support for the
present study in that it highlights how students’ confidence,
talent, and values are affected positively when they are treated
justly by their teachers. Besides, in line with what Estaji
and Zhaleh (2021) reported, the results of the present study
corroborate that classroom justice plays a crucial role in the
teachers’ instructional practice.
Frontiers in Psychology | 7October 2021 | Volume 12 | Article 767008
Yan Students’ Perceptions of Classroom Justice
FIGURE 1 | The model of the interrelationships among variables.
As it has been shown in the current study, teacher caring,
teacher immediacy, and students’ perception of classroom justice
are positively correlated. Another result that was revealed in
this study was that teacher caring and teacher immediacy
predict students’ perception of classroom justice. Two groups
incorporating teacher educators and teachers themselves can
be impacted by the results of this study. Without a shadow
of a doubt, teachers should be equipped with theoretical and
pedagogical knowledge as it empathetically affects teachers’
physical and mental well-being (Dewaele and Dewaele, 2020).
Therefore, in this regard, the results of this study give credence
to teacher educators who are supposed to provide teachers
with such knowledge discussed above. Moreover, teaching is
not a one-dimensional job that is not demanding; it is a
multidimensional career that takes perseverance and mental
energy to create a learning context in which students can reach
Frontiers in Psychology | 8October 2021 | Volume 12 | Article 767008
Yan Students’ Perceptions of Classroom Justice
TABLE 7 | Goodness of fit indices.
Acceptable fit <3>0.90 >0.90 >0.90 <0.08
Model 2.15 0.94 0.95 0.93 0.07
their pinnacle and high academic achievements can be achieved.
Thus, teachers themselves are the second group that can benefit
from this study since they deserve to feel good both about
themselves and about their jobs. Working with students and
having struggled to make them feel satisfied with what they have
been taught and a learning context causes the teachers to feel
tension and stressed. To relieve the tension, teachers should feel
valued in order to boost their spirits, and it is not attainable
unless teachers will come to the belief that their class and the
way they teach and treat the students is perceived as fair in the
eye of the students. The following examples are the actions that
can be done by a teacher in the classroom so as to cause students
to have a positive perception of classroom justice; however, it
should be kept in mind that care should be taken to apply such
activities in class because students’ well-being in the class to a
great extent rests on the following activities that can be utilized
by the teachers:
when a teacher makes a timely communication of his
expectations with students at the beginning of the semester;
when he provides the students with sufficient and honest
information regarding the criteria that are employed in
grading them;
when the students are graded based on their achievements;
when equal attention and help are provided to both high and
low achievers in the class;
when a teacher has a caring and supportive relationship
with students;
when a teacher is sensitive to his students’ feelings, opinions,
ad rights;
when students are adequately informed of the class attendance
policy if a topic has been taught incorrectly;
when the teacher attempts to provide correct
information subsequently;
when equal opportunities and time are set for the students to
participate in classroom discussions;
when there is no favorite student in class to be treated
differently from others in class;
when students are allowed to express their concerns about the
learning process.
The first limitation of this study that can be taken into
consideration is that this study was cross-sectional and
correlational; therefore, a longitudinal study can be implemented
to provide teachers with more examples in detail since these
characteristics for teachers help them create a living-learning
environment for students in which students are encouraged to
express themselves better and have a better understanding of
justice. Moreover, the collected data in this study drawn from
four comprehensive universities located in different cities in
Henan Province. Great proportion of the sample students were
from local areas and belonged to Han ethic group. The results of
this study were applicable to central part of China, but cannot be
blindly generalized to coastal areas or autonomous regions like
Tibet or Ningxia. Future studies may be conducted to include
more regions.
The second limitation is the amount of care and immediacy
may differ considering the time. When it is at the beginning
of the semester, students are more curious both about teachers
characteristics and about the subject-matter. As time goes by,
they may get conditioned and habituated to the situation in
which they are engaged to do the activities, their perception
of classroom justice may change, and they may feel reluctant
to consider teachers’ caring and immediacy as positive since
they need to be given a variety of activities so as to feel
passionate about the learning process as time passes throughout
the semester. Thus, there is a difference between how students
feel about the class and their teacher at the beginning of the
semester and the one which will be felt throughout the semester.
In this regard, a longitudinal study appears of great importance.
Student caring and teachers’ willingness to teach better would
be the title of another future study in which the focus will be
shifted to students rather than teachers. The teacher-student
relationship is reciprocal where both teachers and students
should have enough enthusiasm to enhance this relationship
although it is said that students are more impacted by their
teachers and the way they are treated by their teachers in
the classroom is of paramount significance especially when it
comes to students’ progress. Because teachers are in need of
being cared for and being valued, students who are caring are
perceived as encouraging for their teachers since they cause them
to teach in an effective way. Another limitation of this study
is the age through which justice is perceived by students is of
great importance. It has been said that the older the students
are, the wider their horizon would be which leads to students
perceiving more and more about justice around them in the
teaching context. Therefore, the definition of justice is different,
from the prospect of various aging groups of students. Teenagers,
for instance, may consider not running eyes over all the students
equally as unfair, while adult students expect to be given enough
care, otherwise, it makes them feel humiliated. Another concern
can be the amount to which students are supposed to be given
both verbal and non-verbal immediacy and caring. It is not
proven that the more caring a teacher is, the more satisfied the
students are regarding the learning process. So, more studies can
be conducted in the future to find out the interplay of these
variables with other teacher-student interpersonal factors (see Xie
and Derakhshan, 2021).
The raw data supporting the conclusions of this article will be
made available by the authors, without undue reservation.
The studies involving human participants were reviewed
and approved by Henan University Ethics Division. The
Frontiers in Psychology | 9October 2021 | Volume 12 | Article 767008
Yan Students’ Perceptions of Classroom Justice
patients/participants provided their written informed consent to
participate in this study.
PY conceptualized, designed research methodology, collected
data, analyzed data, and as well as independently drafted
the manuscript.
This study was supported by the Postgraduate Education
Innovation Project of Henan University: Xenophobia—A
discourse historical approach (Grant No. SYL20060127) and
the Young Scholar Program of Henan Province: Foreign
Language Education based on Virtual Reality Technology (Grant
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Conflict of Interest: The author declares that the research was conducted in the
absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a
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the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in
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Copyright © 2021 Yan. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms
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Frontiers in Psychology | 11 October 2021 | Volume 12 | Article 767008
... Accordingly, identifying which teacher behaviors learners find fair seems to be crucial. Notwithstanding, a few empirical and review studies in language education have been dedicated to this issue (Kerssen-Griep and Witt, 2012;Argon and Kepekcioglu, 2016;Yan, 2021;Yang, 2021). That is, which teacher personal and interpersonal behaviors may positively influence language learners' perceptions of classroom justice is an open question. ...
... Nonetheless, the potential effects of these communication behaviors on learners' perceptions of classroom justice have remained elusive. Simply put, limited empirical investigations have been performed in this respect (Kerssen-Griep and Witt, 2012;Argon and Kepekcioglu, 2016;Yan, 2021;Yang, 2021). Further, to the authors' knowledge, no review study has delved into the consequences of teacher immediacy and credibility for learners' perceptions of classroom justice. ...
... To date, a few investigations have been conducted into the role of teacher immediacy and credibility in learners' perceptions of classroom justice (Kerssen-Griep and Witt, 2012;Argon and Kepekcioglu, 2016;Yan, 2021;Yang, 2021). In their study, Kerssen-Griep and Witt (2012) examined the extent to which learners' fairness perceptions can be predicted by teachers' immediacy behaviors. ...
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Because learners' perceptions of classroom justice are highly influential on their academic performance, recognizing personal and interpersonal factors that may modify these perceptions seems necessary. Notwithstanding this necessity, a scant number of inquiries have focused on the role of interpersonal factors such as credibility and immediacy in learners' perceptions of classroom justice. In fact, the function of these factors has been overlooked by previous studies. Furthermore, no theoretical review has been performed in this area. To make a stride toward narrowing this lacuna, this theoretical review intends to clarify the role of two interpersonal factors, namely immediacy and credibility, in EFL learners' perceptions of classroom justice. To accomplish this, the previous inquiries were meticulously reviewed. The findings of the review disclosed that EFL learners' perceptions of classroom justice can be considerably influenced by teacher immediacy and credibility. The findings' implications are further discussed.
... Teacher care, a crucial variable in this study, plays a pivotal role in the context of L2 education, where instructors profoundly influence students' perceptions of equality and engagement (Gkonou and Miller, 2019;Pishghadam et al., 2019;Lavy and Naama-Ghanayim, 2020;Yan, 2021). The concept of care, originally introduced by Noddings (1984), revolves around the relationship between the caregiver and the one receiving care. ...
... Moskowitz's (1978) study illustrates how caring actions by language instructors can catalyze L2 improvement, emotional growth, and well-being among students within the framework of positive psychology. The concept of "teacher clarity" further aligns with teacher care, promoting enhanced communication between instructors and students, which leads to improved comprehension and engagement, thereby fostering a strong teacher-student connection (Yan, 2021). Additionally, researchers like Cakir (2015) and Xie and Derakhshan (2021) have defined teacher immediacy as a collection of verbal and nonverbal strategies employed by instructors to establish a sense of connection with their students. ...
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Introduction This study delves into the influence of perceived teacher caring on the wellbeing of Chinese English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students, with a specific focus on the potential mediating effect of grit. With a sample size of 748 EFL students hailing from diverse Chinese universities, we aimed to shed light on the connections between perceived teacher caring, student wellbeing, and the mediating factor of grit. Methods To address our research questions, we collected data through self-report questionnaires that gauged perceived teacher caring, student wellbeing, and levels of grit. By utilizing structural equation modeling, we were able to rigorously assess both the direct and indirect impacts of teacher caring on student wellbeing. Results Our analysis uncovered a noteworthy and positive correlation between perceived teacher caring and student wellbeing. Furthermore, our findings indicated that grit plays a significant mediating role in this relationship. This suggests that students who exhibit higher levels of grit are more inclined to experience heightened levels of wellbeing. Discussion The outcomes of this study underscore the significance of nurturing positive teacher-student relationships within the EFL context. The identification of grit as a mediator emphasizes its role in fostering enhanced student wellbeing. These findings collectively emphasize the intertwined nature of teacher caring, grit, and student wellbeing. Educators should consider these insights for their teaching practices, while researchers can use this study as a foundation for further investigations in this domain.
... Since the introduction of classroom justice theory and research in the USA, scholars across the world have contributed to the body of knowledge on fairness in the classroom. Classroom justice has been investigated in Australia (Lizzio, Wilson, & Hadaway, 2007), Italy (DiBattista, Pivetti, & Berti, 2014), Poland (Lankiewicz, 2014), Serbia (Kovačević, Zunić, & Mihailović, 2013), Lithuania (Čiuladienė & Račelytė, 2016), Russia (Bempechat et al., 2013), Turkey (Argon & Kepekcioglu, 2016), Cyprus (Uludag, 2014), Iran (Estaji & Zhaleh, 2021a, 2021b, China (Tata, 2005;Yan, 2021), Nigeria (Kura, Shamsudina, & Chauhan, 2014), and other countries. In some cases, results are consistent with work in the USA. ...
... In some cases, results are consistent with work in the USA. For example, perceptions of fairness were related to Italian (DiBattista et al., 2014) and Australian (Lizzio et al., 2007) university students' engagement, Serbian college students' achievement (Kovačević et al., 2013), Turkish college students' perceptions of instructor trustworthiness (Argon & Kepekcioglu, 2016), and Chinese university students' perceptions of instructor credibility and immediacy (Yan, 2021). In contrast with US-based work, Nigerian undergraduates' perceptions of procedural justice were not related to deviant behavior or honor codes (Kura et al., 2014). ...
Conference Paper
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Fairness in the higher education instructional context, i.e., classroom justice, is fast becoming a salient and widespread concern among scholars, instructors, and students alike. Drawing on research conducted in North America, Europe, Asia, and other world regions, the present article describes university students’ beliefs about what constitutes unfair instructor behavior, and it explores the relationships between classroom justice and student behavioral responses. Results of this work indicate that university students identify grading procedures, instructor feedback, and instructor affect, attention, and caring as key factors in determining classroom justice. In addition, university students’ perceptions of (un)fairness are associated with student learning, engagement, and antisocial classroom behavior. In short, classroom justice in higher education is integral to student learning and instruction. Classroom justice matters.
... Their findings demonstrated teachers' diverse levels of professional responsibility ranging from resistance and rejection to social justice empowerment in their teaching. In the Chinese context, Yan (2021) examined the correlation between teachers' classroom practices and students' perceptions of classroom justice and concluded that teachers' discourse and actions strongly correlated with students' levels of justice. ...
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This chapter presents a reflective account of two practitioners, doctoral students from Vietnam learning to teach, teaching and assessing students in teritary EFL context for interculturality. Informed by King and Kasun's social justice framework, the researchers employed a duo-ethnographic approach to exploring their transnational process of co-constructing knowledge of social justice and transforming into responsible educators for interculturality. Data revealed that the researched participants' educational backgrounds, overseas engagement, and research-to-pedagogy perspectives have facilitated their sense of intercultural communication, which in turn shaped their socially-just personal, academic, and professional decisions.
... Emerging from positive psychology (PP), this formulation scrutinize how individuals prosper and grow through lifeenhancing strong points and virtuousness (Csikszentmihalyi and Nakamura, 2011;Wang et al., 2021). It was PP that sheds the light to develop the educator-learner association as a humanistic notion and it has been declared that the way learners are preserved in the teaching space influences their learning development (Wang and Guan, 2020;Yan, 2021). Undoubtedly, an important research topic in the field of PP and educational discourse refers to the ways educators could actively help the success of their teaching and learners' education through discourse (Myers, 2010) because one of the most significant shareholders in all institutional environments are educators and they have a decisive impact on the frequency and nature of success (Pishghadam et al., 2021). ...
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The students’ silence in the classroom has lately become an area of attention of educators and scholars similarly; however, the factors influencing students’ classroom silence are not mainly scrutinized. This construct has been regarded as a problem of the communication between the educator and the learners that not only impact completing the teaching objectives in the classroom but also affect the nurturing of learners’ achievement. In addition, teachers positively have a noteworthy function in learners’ growth and progress and its behavior such as their immediacy remains a significant issue toward stimulating effective educational methods. Whilst teacher immediacy in a classroom setting is important, there is growing awareness about its important effect on learners’ silence and hopelessness. This review tries to provide some considerations about the relationship between teacher immediacy, both verbal and non-verbal, and students’ active silence and hopelessness. Successively, some suggestions are offered to lighten the practice of educators, learners, and teacher instructors.
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In addressing the recent special issue in Frontiers in Psychology, namely “Positive Psychology in Foreign and Second Language Education: Approaches and Applications,” calling language education researchers around the globe to study positive emotions, positive personality traits, and positive institutional tendencies and their implications for language education systems, stakeholders, and policy practices, the present conceptual review paper aims to acquaint language education researchers, practitioners, instructors, and learners with the main tenets of positive psychology and their application in second/foreign language (L2) education research. Accordingly, by drawing on the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions, we explain how individuals' positivity can result in their flourishment and development in any aspect of life, including L2 learning and teaching. Then, we introduce and conceptualize seven instances of positive psychology variables, namely academic engagement, emotion regulation, enjoyment, grit, loving pedagogy, resilience, and well-being and explain how these positive factors contribute to desirable L2 learning and teaching experiences. Subsequently, potential theoretical and pedagogical implications are drawn to enhance the quality and effectiveness of language education systems and their respective stakeholders. In the end, the limitations of the studies in this area are explicated, and suggestions for future research are provided to expand the extant literature on positive psychology in the domain of L2 education.
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The interpersonal communication behaviors of teachers have been substantiated to affect motivation, engagement, and success of students in the academic arena. Aiming to provide a systematic review of some teacher-related constructs in this domain, the present article was a bid to explain the crucial pillars of clarity, credibility, and immediacy of teachers in juxtaposition with theories and models of motivation and engagement of students. More particularly, this article presents some theoretical underpinnings to justify its claims using the ideas of positive psychology, the broaden-and-build theory, the rhetorical/relational goal theory, social cognitive theory, the attachment theory, some popular motivational theories, and the engagement theory. These theories signify the importance of clarity, credibility, and immediacy of teachers in the classroom and depict their association and impact on motivation and engagement of students. Later, the arguments are defended through a quick glance at the available empirical studies on each of the constructs. Afterward, the findings and implications of this review article are discussed. Finally, research gaps and future directions are presented for avid researchers to make new explorations.
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In instructional-learning contexts, the relationship between teacher verbal and non-verbal immediacy and student motivation has gained increasing attention. However, no systematic research has been done to review the empirical studies conducted on the impact of teacher immediacy on students' motivation. Hence, the aim of the present study was to systematically review the available literature on different types of teacher immediacy and student motivation. Some common databases were searched and 30 eligible manuscripts were identified. With regard to the key features of the included studies, the review's findings were categorized into different sections, namely “the measures of teacher immediacy employed,” “the measures of student motivation employed,” “designs,” and “educational contexts”. The main findings of the studies were also discussed. The reviewed studies pointed to positive associations between teacher immediacy and student motivation. Finally, limitations of the included studies are discussed and some practical directions for further research are offered, accordingly.
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In any education context, teachers are mainly responsible for enacting the core values of classroom justice and equality. To address this notion, this qualitative study went through the exploration of the perceptions that Iranian EFL teachers had of classroom justice and its main dimensions. To this end, 31 EFL teachers, chosen through purposive sampling, filled out an open-ended questionnaire, and a subgroup of them participated in a semi-structured interview. The major findings, resulting from the content and thematic analyses of the data done both manually and through the MAXQDA software (Version 2020), revealed that first, all the participants, except one, regarded classroom justice as a crucial element of their instructional practice; second, interactional, procedural, and distributive dimensions of justice were reflected in the definitions that the teachers provided for classroom justice; and third, in line with the theoretical and empirical underpinnings of the study, the teachers conceptualized the classroom justice dimensions through their unique principles in relation to the various domains of classroom learning, teaching, assessment, and interactions. A pedagogical implication based on the findings is that by becoming aware of how they perceive justice in their instructional practice, teachers may take the initial strides toward enhancing their just treatment of students, and consequently, increase their professional effectiveness.
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Following the recent special issue in Frontiers in Psychology, entitled “The Role of Teacher Interpersonal Variables in Students’ Academic Engagement, Success, and Motivation”, calling educational researchers worldwide to examine different teacher interpersonal communication behaviors that contribute to student-related academic outcomes, this conceptual review article is written to familiarize educational researchers, teachers, and students with main concepts in instructional communication and their role as the main pillar of successful teaching and learning processes. To this aim, by drawing on the positive psychology movement and the rhetorical and relational goal theory in instructional communication, we argue that positive teacher interpersonal communication behaviors are facilitators of a wide range of desirable student-related academic outcomes. Then, to support our argument, we provide empirical evidence. In doing so, we introduce and define seven instances of positive teacher interpersonal communication behaviors, namely teacher care, clarity, credibility, rapport with students, stroke, immediacy, and confirmation, and expound how they positively predict academic outcomes such as motivation, learning, engagement, involvement, class attendance, willingness to communicate, performance, and success in students. Subsequently, we highlight the critical role of teacher interpersonal variables in the foreign/second language classroom context. Next, we suggest some pedagogical implications with the potential to enlighten the practice of key educational stakeholders (i.e., teachers, students, teacher educators, materials developers, administrators, and teacher recruiters). At the end, the limitations in this line of research are identified, and avenues for future research on teacher interpersonal communication in both general education and language education domains are put forward for interested researchers.
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Despite the growing body of research on boredom in traditional, in-person English classes, little is known about how this silent, aversive emotion is experienced by students learning English in online classes prompted by the current COVID-19 health crisis. To fill this gap, the present study explores causes of and solutions to boredom as well as the time of class deemed more/less boring by 208 English major students in Iran. Drawing on maximum variation sampling, the data, collected through a written, open-ended questionnaire and semi-structured interviews, were thematically analyzed through MAXQDA (Version 2020) to derive themes relating to the issues under investigation. Findings revealed that (1) teachers’ long, monotonous monologues, lack of student participation, logistical problems, and carelessly chosen, repetitive tasks were the main sources of boredom; (2) most of the suggested solutions revolved around making the class livelier through more teacher-student interaction, improving inter-personal relationships, and solving technological problems; and (3) although boredom may be experienced throughout online English classes, even at the outset, it tends to reach its apex towards the end. The findings are discussed in terms of lessons for teachers and teacher educators to improve the experience of online English education during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Due to the crucial role of student academic engagement in learning a second language, teacher interpersonal variables which affect second language learners' engagement have gained momentum. To keep up with this line of inquiry, this study attempted to probe the role of Persian language teachers' nonverbal immediacy and credibility in their Turkman students' academic engagement. To do this, 503 Turkman students with different educational grades (i.e., 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12) voluntarily took part in this study from different regions of Golestan province. The sample included 282 females and 221 males ranging in age from 12 to 18. To obtain the data, Nonverbal Immediacy Scale (NIS), Source Credibility Scale (SCS), and Utrecht Work Engagement Scale for Students (UWES-S) were distributed among participants. Pearson correlation coefficient tests were run to analyze the gathered data. The results exhibited that there were significant positive correlations among Persian language teachers' nonverbal immediacy, credibility, and Turkman students' academic engagement. The findings were also approved by structural equation modeling (SEM) results: Turkman students' academic engagement was predicted significantly and positively by their Persian language teachers' nonverbal immediacy and credibility. The outcomes of the present study posit that Turkman students' academic engagement can be remarkably enhanced by their Persian language teachers' credibility and nonverbal immediacy. Finally, the pedagogical implications for teaching Persian to speakers of other languages are also discussed.
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Employing a sequential explanatory mixed-methods approach, this study investigated the role of emotion regulation and psychological well-being (PWB) as predictors of work engagement through using 108 British and 255 Iranian English language teachers as a sample. A multi-group structural equation modelling was performed to identify differences and similarities in the way emotion regulation and PWB could predict work engagement among British and Iranian English teachers. The valid measuring instruments of the three constructs were administered to collect the data in the two contexts. The results demonstrated measurement invariance, including both metric and scalar invariance, revealing that the constructs underlying the three scales scale possessed the same theoretical structure across two groups (i.e., British vs. Iranian). It was also revealed that both emotion regulation and PWB significantly predicted work engagement for the whole sample of British and Iranian teachers. However, PWB appeared to be a stronger predictor of work engagement. Moreover, some cross-cultural differences were identified in the regression coefficients. On the whole, the association of the PWB and work engagement was stronger for British teachers. The qualitative data analysis uncovered a number of categories and themes contributing to explaining differences between British and Iranian teachers. The results and implications are further discussed.
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In this study, we adopted a person-oriented approach to (a) identify latent profiles of adolescents characterized by unique patterns of perceived teacher autonomy support and student agency, (b) investigate whether perceived interpersonal justice can predict profile membership and (c) compare different profiles in relation to personal responsibility. Participants were 545 Italian secondary school students (55% boys, 94% born in Italy, M age = 14.24, SD age = .53). Five adolescents’ profiles emerged: disengaged (24%), average students (34%) and committed (28%), with low, mean and high scores, respectively, in both teacher autonomy support and agency; resistant (5%), with low scores in teacher autonomy support and high scores in agency; compliant (9%), with high scores in teacher autonomy support and low scores in agency. Perceptions of interpersonal justice significantly predicted profile membership in the comparison of almost all profiles. Several significant differences in responsibility among profiles also emerged. Implications of the findings for practices and policies are discussed.
Teacher support plays a role in promoting students’ motivations in the academic settings, but little is known about how teacher support impacts students’ creative self-efficacy. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between perceived teacher support and students’ creative self- efficacy, taking into account the possible mediating effects of autonomous motivation and achievement emotions. A total of 512 junior high school students (age M = 12.58, SD = 0.74) completed the Perceived Teacher Support Questionnaire, Adolescent Achievement Emotions Questionnaire, Self-Regulation Style Questionnaire-Academic and Students’ Creative Self-Efficacy Scale. Results showed that: (1) junior high school students’ autonomous motivation and positive achievement emotions (enjoyment and relaxation) mediated the relationship between perceived teacher support and creative self-efficacy, but the mediating effects of negative achievement emotions (anxiety and boredom) were not significant. (2) perceived teacher support also affected creative self-efficacy through the chain mediation of students’ autonomous motivation and relaxation, but the chain mediation of students’ autonomous motivation and other achievement emotions was not significant. The present study has implications for educators and researchers interested in enhancing students’ creativity.