Mastery Self-talk

Mastery self-talk refers to that students try to increase their motivation by thinking about mastery-related goals such as satisfying their curiosity or becoming more competent about a topic. There were also differences in using this strategy between high and low achievers. Only high English achievers in the present study mentioned this type of strategy to sustain or increase their effort and persistence at the English learning tasks. Subject 2 stated that “I told myself that I should learn well what I should learn. This thought made me keep working on the tasks when I did not want to study”.

Subject 1 also mentioned this type of strategy in describing her thought to make herself keep studying on English in her diary:

What I should do today was still to finish one unit of reading comprehensions, two passages of error corrections, and one unit of listening test. I hope I could maintain or increase my English proficiency level, therefore, I kept working on it.


The strategy of self-reward refers to students’ identification and administration of extrinsic rewards for reaching particular goals associated with completing a task. Although the concrete ways they used were different, both high and low English achievers tried to sustain or increase their motivation by providing themselves with extrinsic rewards.

When was asked how he made himself keep working on English learning tasks when the motivation was low, Subject 3, a high English achiever, said that “Sometimes I convince myself to keep working on the task by promising myself that I can go to KTV if I do well in the examination"

Subject 2 also used self-reward to prompt herself to study hard. She said in the interview:

I also gave myselfsome rewards to make myselfstudy hard, but the rewards were given before finishing the tasks. For example, I bought myselfsome delicious food first, and then I told myself I should study hard since I have had delicious food.

Low achievers in the present study also referred to this strategy to convince themselves to work on English learning tasks when encountering motivational problems. Subject 4, a low achiever, mentioned in the interview “To prompt myself to keep studying hard, I put five Yuan before me and told myself that I would earn five Yuan if I made greater efforts on the tasks"

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