Performance Self-talk

Performance self-talk is also an important strategy that students use to regulate their motivation, that is, students would think about or remind themselves of their desire to do better than others or to do well in exams in order to overcome the motivational problems presented. This type of strategy was used by both high and low achievers, but high achievers used it more frequently than low achievers. in addition, there was qualitative difference between high and low achievers in using this strategy.

One of the high achievers mentioned that she would try to make herself study hard on English by thinking about getting better grades on exams and obtaining the scholarship. She said in the interview

Grade is also very important for a student. For instance, there is a requirement on CET scores to obtain the scholarship in our school. If I want to obtain the scholarship, I must achieve a high score in CET4 and CET6 (College English Test Band Six). Therefore, I convinced myself that I must keep studying English hard by thinking about getting a high score in CET to obtain the scholarship even though I did not feel like doing it. (Subject 1)

Apart from thinking about getting high grades in exams, high English achievers thought about various relative-ability reasons for convincing themselves to keep studying on the learning tasks. They thought about doing better than others or compared themselves with others as a way of making themselves determined to keep up. Subject 2, one of the high English achievers, mentioned that:

One of my classmates whose English proficiency is almost the same level as my English proficiency took the examination of Advanced Interpretation. I told myself I also should take the examination since my classmate has taken it. This kind of thought prompted me to keep working on the English learning tasks when I did not feel like doing it.

Another high English achiever claimed that “ When I thought that other students were studying hard, I told myself that I really should not fall behind others and I must study harder. (Subject 3)

The low English achievers also used performance self-talk to make themselves keep working on the tasks when they did not feel like doing it. However, only one of them mentioned this type of strategy and the strategies they used were mainly performance-avoidance goal related. One of low English achievers, mentioned that:

I would feel guilty if I did not spend some time learning English because the examination was coming. Furthermore, I would not feel afraid if I happened to have reviewed the part examined in the test. Therefore, I promoted myself to keep working on the English learning tasks. (Subject 4)

In addition, low achievers referred to the strategy of comparing themselves with others, but what they thought to make themselves study harder was to avoid doing too badly compared to others. Subject 4 stated that “ Other students were studying English, and I was afraid that I would do too poorly in English if I did not work on it as other students did, so I made myself keep studying on English"

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