The Role of Social Relationships in Children’s Active EFL Learning

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Our research aimed to investigate the relationship between the measures of satisfied need for relatedness (perceived academic and personal peer support and teacher-assessed social acceptance of the student) and measures of active English as a Foreign Language (EFL) (teacher-assessed and student self-assessed EFL engagement and EFL anxiety), as well as possible gender differences in an EFL setting. The research included 535 students and 11 teachers from rural primary schools in Slovenia. The predictive value of need for relatedness was the strongest for students’ emotional EFL engagement and teacher-assessed EFL engagement of the students, followed by students’ behavioral EFL engagement and EFL anxiety. Students who report higher peer support and are assessed as more socially accepted by their teachers experience higher engagement (self-assessed and teacher-assessed) and lower EFL anxiety. All measures of active learning, apart from anxiety, were higher for girls.

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