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How can I develop students' self-confidence through respect and encouragement?

By Liu Xia

Guyuan Teachers' College June, 2004.


This paper shows the educational development in some students, members of my own family and myself through my action research enquiry into how I can promote learning through respect and encouragement. It follows one class of Medical Major students, whose English level is perceived by the college as poor, as they develop confidence in learning. I show how I help them to believe in themselves as learners and how I take this new pedagogical knowledge into my family to help my nephews and my own son in their English learning. I find some contradictions in this process of encouragement, and recognise the necessity of making constructively critical comments to students. My new educational knowledge enables me to make recommendations about conditions for teaching and learning a foreign language.

Why I chose this topic as my AR subject.

There are several reasons for me to choose this topic as my AR subject. Firstly, I believe that love and being respected are essential to human beings. And students aged between 11 and 20 are at an important stage of development. Lacking self-confidence when facing frustration and failure is also a characteristic of teenagers. I asked 70 students in three different classes of Guyuan Teachers' College at random about this issue. Almost 100% of them said that self-confidence was very important both for studying as well as in their lives. 80% of them said that they were lacking in confidence when they faced difficulties. When asked whether they could gain confidence from their teacher, only 20% of them said "yes". From my point of view, as a teacher, building the students' self confidence and helping them to surmount a variety of difficulties through encouragement and respect seemed therefore particularly important.

Secondly, in my teaching as well as in my life, I saw, heard and experienced many teaching methods, which were in opposition. For example, some people insist that teachers must be strict with their students. They think that beating and threats can make them study harder. They seemed to be saying that according to our Chinese tradition, only strict teachers can foster good students. Beating is a kind of love. Being strict with students is necessary.

I have a friend who is an English teacher in a middle School. Here is a conversation between us:
"Every time when I go to my classroom, I take a long stick in my hand", she said.
"What do you do with it?" I asked.
" To deal with the students who don't study hard," she answered.
"Do you really beat your students when they haven't done well?"
"Not really, I just threaten them by knocking my stick on the desk."
"Does this way work"?
"Sometimes it really works, but not always. The students will repeat their mistakes after ten days. I don't think this is a good way to educate, but I have no other better method." she said.

There are others who believe in modern teaching methods think that respect and encouragement will make the children well-developed. They think that a teacher should be kind enough to his students. I agree with this latter idea. Just as Rosentar's experiment showed:
If a teacher has a affectionate heart and embraces a good anticipation to his students, the anticipation will produce happy and optimistic feelings and raise their interests in study. So a teacher must treat his students equally with respect and encouragement. (Psychology Course by Hu Yuexin ).
I believe this idea and I want to help my students to develop their confidence through respect and encouragement.

Thirdly, The AR research group led by Dr. Moira Laidlaw in Guyuan Teachers' College provided me with great help both in theory and practice. In September of 2003, I was very lucky to attend an AR meeting led by Moira. At first, I didn't really know what action research meant. As time went by, I attended several AR meetings, and I gradually began to know that it means to design plans, and do something constructive in your teaching process, consulting with what has happened and making comments on it. Now, I have an AR meeting almost every week. At the meetings I am able to learn from other AR members, I can also get information through Moira's help and through the Internet Website she has offered us.

Also, I was greatly moved and encouraged by Dr. Laidlaw's words "I have been consciously influenced in my life by humanitarianism and liberalism, and most recently, by Christianity. I don’t believe life should be simple and without problems, however, because as far as I can see, striving to overcome problems is a way to grow" I am deeply influenced by these words. She has made me clearly aware that people need respect and encouragement. No matter what job he does, no matter how old he is. I think this is natural. Because we are human beings, we are eager to be respected and encouraged.

What did I do to strengthen this idea and use it in my teaching process?

Saying "thank you" to the students who answered my questions in the class. Showing my gratitude for their answers.
When I was still a student in the college ten years ago, I fortunately met my first foreign teacher, Susan, a warm-hearted English woman. She impressed me deeply because every time I answered her question, she always said "Thank You" to me. I was so moved by her simple words. I felt my answer was so important to her, and from then on, I struggled to answer her questions in class. Maybe one of the reasons was to obtain her sweet "Thank you". In my former study life, I had never heard any of my Chinese teachers saying "Thank you" to their students. Because for both teachers and students, answering the teacher’s question was so natural. There was no necessity for a teacher to say "Thank you" to his students.
When I became a teacher myself. I never forgot to say "Thank you" to every student who answered my questions. Every time I said so, I could feel their pride in answering my question. For after my words, he or she blushed a little, and next time willingly gave an answer to my question.
1) To say "thank you" is not very difficult. But to have such a sense in oneself to want to say this, when it is not the cultural norm, that is not easy. It shows your appreciation to another’s reply.
(2) Showing my respect and anticipation to the students by private conversation or praise words in the class. This is true especially for the students who are poorer in studying. Developing their confidence us crucial.
According to psychologists, personal interests are driving forces of creative ability”
"In the process of studying English, if a student is interested in English, want to be a skillful and technological person ,at the same time, he wants to get a wide range of knowledge by means of English. This motivation will create great function in his studying". (Zhang Zhengdong)
I also think that if one isn't interested in something, no matter what he does, it will be in vain. The psychologist has already testfied this point by many experiments.

I began my AR research in some of the non-English major classes. For example, in the class of the Mixture of Western and Chinese Medicine of 2003, I attempted to carry out my action research. My students mainly graduated from some counties' high schools. Their oral English was poor when they entered Guyuan Teachers' College in September 2003. They couldn't even say a complete English sentence. For example, some of then might say:
"Is you comes from Ningxia"? or "I isn't speak English." etc.
But I was not disappointed by such sentences. I have confidence in improving their oral English because I believed that encouragement would work wonders. In their first English class in the college, I encouraged every one of them to introduce themselves. As I thought, many of them couldn't say a word, only Xu Baifang, Ge Wenyan, and Li Min could introduce themselves. After their introductions, I gave them a very warm applause and praised each of them greatly. In addition, I expressed my gratitude for setting a good example to others. Then I said to other students:
"You can do as excellently as they did. What you need is confidence and encouragement. I will be grateful to every of you for helping me to accomplish our first oral English class".
Then Wangzhen, Wu Jiandong, and Su Zhixiong introduced themselves bravely. Although there were mistakes. I praised each of them. After class,
Wu Jiandong said to me:
"I was greatly encouraged by your words, I know I made many mistakes, you and my classmates didn't laugh at me. That's quite different from my experience in my high school. I feel my action earned your respect".
I was also encouraged by these words and decided to continue my plan and actions. Now, after a half term's exercises, almost all of the classmates can speak English actively in the English class.

I wrote in my journal:
18.2.04. Today, I had my first English class of the new year. I was very happy to see my dear students again. They seemed more active in the class. After warm greetings, I told them: "We haven't seen for a long time; there must be a lot of things we want to say. You are to be given enough time to say what you wanted in groups. After ten minutes, I'd like every of you to say something in front of us. OK?"
"OK. " they all answered happily.
After ten minutes' heated discussion. We began our individual speeches. I was so surprised and yet happy to find they spoke English more fluently than they did last term. And the topics were much more rich and deep. They covered the topics of:
_ Their colorful holiday life
_ Their interests in computer
_ Their active attitudes toward life
_ Their feelings for their friends and relatives
_ Their growth interests in English
_ Their encouragements when facing difficulties

They especially spoke of their confidence in studying English. Yu Li Bin said:
"when I was in my high school, I didn't like studying English. Just because I didn't like my English teacher. He always insulted me by saying that I was so stupid a student. I was so angry, but I dared not say a word. For he was a teacher. Of course, I didn't get high mark in English in the Entrance Examination. That resulted in my appearance in Guyuan Teacher's College. But I was lucky enough to meet you. It was you who let me realize that I was not so stupid. I could do what others did. Even I could do much better than them. Failure couldn't defeat a person. The most important thing is having confidence. I became a real student under your encouragement".

Some students as Huang Caili, Li Yu, Zhangzhen and Zhao Zengying were really interested in English. They often asked my questions voluntarily in the class and asked me to help them in studying English after class. Just as Liyu wrote in her composition:
"Now, I really become interested in studying English. I can express my thoughts and feelings in English rather than in Chinese. I wrote down my secrets in English, it seems much easier to express my feelings by English than by Chinese. Although we have to pay more attention to our medicine subjects. We will not give up studying English. It is so much a marvelous subject. We like studying it. I want to try to speak English as much as I can."
Four of them are going to attend the National Proficiency English Examination which will be held in June of 2004.They are in the second term of their first grade. No matter what kind of results they obtain, such action is really exciting.
(3) Writing praise words in their exercise books
I tried this way in my teaching process. It can testify to it as a very useful method. In a non-major English class of 2002, a boy named Ming Liang was once the monitor of his class. However, because of his excessive wrongdoings such as constant absence from class, or tardiness, the teacher who is in charge of his class suspended him from the position of monitor. From then on, he was absent from class and late for school more frequently. He showed no interest in any subjects at all.
In one English lesson, I asked every student to do exercises and hand them in at a specified time. The boy did his homework unwillingly but handed it in. After checking his exercises, I found that he was not so poor in English. At the end of his composition I wrote down this in his exercise book: "You are very clever. Don't waste your intelligence".
And then, wonder of wonders. He was no longer absent from English class. Every time when I assigned homework, he handed it in before all the others. When I asked questions in the class, he answered them actively. In the second term of 2003-2004, his score of English was improved from 20th to 2nd place in his class. I never praised him in the class, because I know such a "bad boy" will feel awkward when praised in the public. However, I encouraged him by writing of my pleasure in his exercise- book continuously:
"You really made great progress".
"Well done, clever boy" etc.
(4) Criticize some good students properly both in public and in private. Here, there is a significant point worth mentioning. In the conversations between my students and myself, I got to know that not every of them always wanted to be praised publicly. Especially those who studied comparatively well. Mu Feng Xia (in TVU class of 2003) said:
"If I am always praised by the teacher, I will asked myself: "Am I really so excellent? I am not really worthy of such praise, whether the teacher really know me well? Maybe the teacher just made a mistake.'"
Such words reminded me to be careful in praising students. I looked into some materials (see bibliography) with such questions. I finally found the answer:
Students who were always successful are much confident than those who were not always successful. Boys are much more confident than girls.
I began to realize that not all the praise was helpful. Some students who always felt superior to others have arrogant ideas. Such ideas may not only make them look down upon others but can also make them neglect their study. Thus they would fall behind. So proper warnings or even critiques of them would help them get rid of their arrogant ideas and let them know themselves more consciously. To these students, critique is also a kind of encouragement. But such critiques should be used very carefully. It doesn't mean that you can satirise them arbitrarily. I often criticized them with the kindest of attitudes and showed my strong belief in their potential. For example: After an examination of the students who major in medicine, I found Xu Baifang who was always first in her class had fallen behind to fifth place. I checked her examination paper and was surprised to see that she had made several obvious mistakes through carelessness. So after giving out the exam paper, I said in the class:
"From this exam, I am very glad to find that most of you have got a great progress. Such as Zhangzhen, Wang Xiaoyan etc. However, It is a pity that someone falls behind just because of some careless mistakes. Although she is still in the first five, she really hasn't done well. This is a danger sign for her. I am sure she will be aware of her mistakes clearly and get more progress".
Without mentioning her name, her face already turned red and with her head lower and lower. After a few days, she came to me and said:
"I know you referred to me that day. I really have arrogant ideas in my mind recently. Because I received much more praise than others. I think no one will be competed with me. But just as the exam result showed, I am not the best one in the class. I got your critique which seldom came to me. This shocked me deeply. I regard your words as encouragement rather than critique. Thank you for your kind 'critique'. It woke me up from my arrogant dream. I will try my best to study hard and do as you say."
After that, in the last-term exam. She succeeded as she did before.
(5) Widen my educational scope both in context and to education objects. In my conversations with the students, when I asked them:
" Do you think it is important to get confidence when you were still children?"
Almost all of them responded with YES definitely. Such answers resulted me in my personal life action research, and it is to this area of my enquiry as an educator that the next part of this report takes us.
From my point of view, education exists not only in the classroom. Education is also not only the teachers' responsibility. I cherish this idea, I use this idea everywhere, to every person I meet. To my family members, relatives, friends, colleagues and so on. For example, during the winter holiday of 2004, my two sisters asked me to help their sons to study English. One is 15 years old (named Song Chenwei), and another is 13 years old (named Bai Chenguang). My elder sister said:
"I am worried about my son. Most of their classmates have already learned English with the help of a private English teacher. My son is really a beginner . I am afraid he will be the last of his class. So I bought him a radio and tapes, forced him to recite the English words after class, but all of these efforts didn't work. He doesn't like studying English. He has no interest in English at all. You must help me."

My eldest sister said to me:
"Now that you are going to teach Bai Chenguang, teach my son also."
"OK", I answered, "this is a good opportunity for me to perform my Action Research."
Next morning, I called my nephews and my son:
"Gentlemen, get up! We are going to play basketball on the school playground"
They were so happy to hear that .the three of them got ready in a surprisingly short time. We ran to the playground. Before playing, I said:
"Anyone who can speak basketball in English will get a chance to choose his partner."
The three of them answered my question loudly and correctly.
"What a surprise. All of you speak English so well." I encouraged. "Another word. Who knows the word 'Cao Chang' in English?"
"Playground" Only Song Chenwei knew the answer.
"Do you two want to know this word?" I asked the two disappointed boys.
"Yes , of course, what is it?" They asked eagerly.
"Read it, Follow me"...
In this way, I taught them at least 15 words and five simple sentences.

"Tomorrow, we are going to play football, those who know more about football will get priority in the game. Those who can repeat the words and sentences we learned today will get a gift from me", I said.
The next day, the three boys got up very early without being asked. They all prepared their sentences and phrases. I checked them satisfactorily, and then distributed my prepared gifts like rubbers, rulers, pencils etc to them. After ten days, we became intimate friends.
Bai Chenguang said:
"Aunt, you are the person I most respect. My mother and my teachers never play games with us. They never use such active methods teaching us. My mother often forces me to learn. She sometimes beats me when I don't obey her. You never scold me. But I become interested in English now. Next time, we are going to take part in the English Competition you designed for us, OK?"
Song Chenwei said:
"If only you were my mother. My mother is so indifferent to me. She never knows what I think. But you are quite different."
Since leaving them, I have often phoned them and asked them about their lives, study and interests. They all willingly told me their troubles, their happiness and their progress. Bai Chengguang already begins writing to me in English. I wrote to him in response:
"It is so marvellous that you can write letters in English. Your handwriting is so beautiful. Also the sentences you wrote are correct and fluent. I can't believe my eyes when I opened the letter. I read it repeatedly. You have got a surprising progress recently. Congratulations! I am so proud to have a nephew like you .You are such a excellent boy. Thank you for your letter. Wish you make progress every day..."
My Son
In my family, My six-year-old son was often willing to talk with me. But I was sometimes busy with my work and neglected his wishes. One day, he looked very sad and said to me seriously:
"Mother, can you spare me a little time to have a talk ?"
I was shocked by his sadness and seriousness and began to notice him with the same seriousness.
"Of course, my dear, you are my sunshine, I am willing to talk with you " I said.
"Thank you, mother. Can you talk with me everyday?" He became happy at once and looked hopeful.
"Sure. How about beginning our talk before we go to sleep?" I said.
"It's a great pleasure. Thank you, mother," he said happily.
Our conversation produced unexpected effects. Not only did I get to know his thoughts and feelings but also these conversations encouraged both of us greatly. Here is a conversation between us one night:
My son: Mother, will everyone die some day?
I: Yes, It's natural. All beings will die some day.
My son: Will you also die?
I: Yes.
My son: What will I do if you die?
I: You will grow up and become a real man. You will need less and less care from me.
My son: I need your care forever. (Said with a cry)
I: Maybe you can do something to delay my life and others .
My son: How can I do? (asked eagerly)
I: If you study hard and obtain a lot of knowledge, you may develop a kind of medicine which can delay one's death. Some experts who have the same ideas with you are also devoting themselves to such studies. In addition to studying the subjects you having now, you'd better study English a little earlier because you can get a lot of benefits from it.
My son: Why?
I: Because many advanced scientific results are demonstrated in English. You will not understand them without learning English.
My son: Mother, is English very difficult to study?
I: Not at all. You are so clever and such a lovable person, I am sure you will succeed. We can learn it at any time and anywhere if only you have interest and confidence.
My son: I want to learn English. Can you help me?
I: With Pleasure. Let's begin our learning process by saying "Let's have a good sleep" and do as it means."
Our conversations are still going on. He tells me what he has experienced everyday and what his attitudes are on things. I tell him my experiences and feelings. We often have discussion on profound topics. It is understandable that his ideas are quite simple. But such conversations have enriched his thoughts and comprehensive abilities. It has also developed his confidence in expressing himself.
One day, I told my son:
"Your Chinese teacher told me that she liked you very much, because you could answer questions actively in the class. That is quite different from what you have performed last term. She was very happy to find that you have got a great progress".
On hearing such words, my son feels proud at once. He studies even harder than before. The other day, he asked me:
''Why didn't our teacher tell me such things herself " ?
"They are not used to praising in the face of students", I answered.
Yes, In China, some teachers are not used to expressing their real feelings in front of students, they think if they do so, they will lose their dignity as a teacher. These ideas are partly due to the long period of our feudalistic society. But from my point of view, humanitarianism and liberalism have gradually seeped into the Chinese mind. More and more teachers have accepted these ideas and use them in their teaching processes. Chinese governments have paid more attention to education both in theory and practice.
The local education departments have organized several training-courses for teachers every year to help them with modern educational ideas. Furthermore, we are getting more and more advanced education methods from America and England by face to face contact or through broadcasts on TV and the Internet.

What are my assessments on my AR research?

"The Teaching process isn't an aimless one". (English Classroom Assessment and Reflection by Luo Shaoqian). Assessments on the teaching process will not only show us the students' knowledge and skills they have learned but also give us new teaching effects. I made some assessments on my AR research in three ways.
(1) Through my Observation
I mainly observed my students in the class. Generally speaking, most students' behavior in the class changed greatly. In the class of the Mixture of Western and Chinese Medicine, students like Su Zhixiong, Hai Tianjie, Zhang Xiaoyan, Cao Guangkui, Zhu Zhiyan, Zhu Qin etc all became active in answering questions. They become more active in the role-play performance. Also in the pair-work and group-work practice, they speak more English and didn't, they said, feel as shy as before.
(2) Through the students' own assessments
I asked them to assess themselves in the class or at the break time. For example, I might ask some of them: "Are you still afraid of making mistakes or do you have confidence in answering this difficult question?" Their positive answers increased.
(3) Through tests
Tests can't give me a whole assessment on the students. But I was able to get some outinformation about the knowledge they have mastered. I could find out whether they had progressed or not.

Who Can Help Me

(1) Dr Moira Laidlaw
Moira gives me a lot of help in my AR work. First, she introduced AR to me in a very patient and efficient way. I got to know something about AR while others as Zhao Xiaohong Li Peidong Ling Yiwen and other colleagues were at a more advanced stage. I was allowed to attend the meetings. But I was so confused with some terms, which I had never heard before. Moira helped me a lot by dividing the AR members into two groups. One group comprises beginners such as Ma Xia, Zhang Lina, He Lina, Yu Lili, Li Jun, Ma Hong, Liu Binyou, and myself. Another group contains Dean Tian Fengjun, Zhao Xiaohong, Li Peidong as well as other colleagues. This settled the problem. We have obtained corresponding knowledge about AR without further confusion. Now the two groups develop well in their separate ways.
Second, Moira encourages me greatly in my writing of AR report. In Feb. 26, 2004. I finished a piece of paper concerned with AR, which contained only 4 pages in all. I handed it in to Moira and asked her to give me some comments. Unexpectedly, she praised my paper highly by saying that she had never read such a new idea in China before in terms of combining family and classroom research. She said my report is "groundbreaking". And immediately she convened a meeting and invited Dean Tian Fengjun, Zhao Xiaohong, Li Peidong and other beginners to discuss my paper. At the meeting, they gave me a lot of helpful advice on doing AR and Writing AR reports. For example, Zhao Xiaohong said:
"As an AR report , it lacks of evidence. It should be written in a systematic way."
Others comments on its lack of references and substantial evidences for the claims I made. Those are very useful pieces of advice and I accepted them seriously. Following such helpful advice, I expanded my writing into the document you are now reading with the working out of its five action planning points.
When I secondly finished my draft, Moira corrected every mistake, even including all wrong punctuation. I am so impressed by her sincere attitude towards my work.
Third, I invited Moira to my class. She gave me very helpful comments on my teaching. She encouraged me by saying that just as I showed in my AR report, my students were co-operating well with me and other students. She also said, however, that my students weren’t showing me and other students enough respect because some of them were busy with preparing their conversations whilst others were presenting. I told these comments to my students, and they guaranteed they would never make such a mistakes again. I also began to pay more attention to my awareness of organizing students in a proper way. I also learned from Moira's methods in encouraging students. I really saw that my encouragement and respect to students were not enough in themselves. I still need to improve my teaching methods.
(2) Dean Tian Fengjun and other colleagues.
Dean Tian Fengjun and other colleagues helped me a lot in my work. Dean Tian often encourages us to read more books on AR and other subjects so that we can widen my minds and obtain more knowledge. He often reminds us of forming the habit of collecting data and evidence. He told us to respect Moira as she is so knowledgeable a woman and gives us such a lot of help. Shi Xingli, for example, she was also invited to my class and gave me some comments. She said:
"I think your students are very active in the class. That's due to your efforts. But I don't think you arranged time properly. The students should be given enough time to prepare their conversations..."
These are all very helpful comments. I 'd like to show my thankfulness to those who helped me a lot.

What are the problems and corresponding recommendations from my AR research?

Things are not always smooth . So it is with my AR research. By assessment, I found some problems:
(1) Encouragement and respect sometimes don't work when a student is developing their self- confidence.
There is a student who is sixteen years old. He is often absent from class. I have talked with his classmates and the teacher who is in charge of his class. I knew that his parents had divorced recently. According to the law, he must live with his father. This issue upset him a lot. It is said he felt looked down upon by others because of his broken family. He doesn't like his stepmother. He doesn't want to stay at home. He also doesn't want to go to school. He chooses the Internet Bar as his "safe" place to idle his time in this unreal world. I tried my best to persuade him to study hard instead of idling away his life. What he offered me was just a hopeless smile, without any words. Such a smile on the face of a teenager stings me deeply. I had a private conversation with him and told him:
"Everyone has the power to choose his own life. So do your parents. Maybe others will have their bias on this thing. You should have your own ideas. Every of us should live a free and happy life. This is a basic tenet of humanity. You also have a right to choose a hopeful future. I can give you special help in studying as well as in other aspects. You can obtain my help whenever you want".
After hearing my words, he only gave me an indifferent and distrustful smile. He was then absent from class as usual. I talked with some leaders about him. They said they had persuaded him, warned him, punished him. All their efforts were in vain. I had no better idea too. So this also led to my conviction that I AR should involve itself in all aspects of society.
From my point of view, AR research in education doesn't mean it is only limited to teachers and students. It has the potential to concern itself with different sections of society, such as parents, friends, relatives, communities, even governments. Just as the indifferent boy I mentioned in the former part. I could only see him in the class by chance (because he seldom attended classes). During that time, I had to carry out my teaching process, because other students were waiting for me to explain the difficulties in the text. I had no other time to talk with him. But he had already felt that he was unworthy of others’ concern. If all the people neglected him, he would neglect himself. This would result in the boy's tragedy. We have already seen so many tragedies, shall we continue to see more children going onward to their hopeless future? I call for the concern of all those people around him. What these children need is little: only respect and encouragement. We can satisfy them easily. If only everyone of us has such an idea.
(2) Large classes make the AR research much more difficult to do
This maybe a serious and common problem in the schools of Guyuan and in China as a whole. I have had a class with 108 students in it. To carry out AR successfully is very difficult. I couldn't always make sufficient contact with every student. I couldn’t even recall their names correctly. Such things may have discouraged the students greatly. Because some of them might have thought that the teacher just paid attention to these "special" students.
Here is an example of my son again, to illustrate what I am saying about large clases in China. One day, he said to me despondently:
"Mother, in order to answer the questions, I have raised my hands five times in the class. But the teacher didn't let me to answer the questions. I will no longer raise my hand ".
I replied:
"It isn't because the teacher didn't let you to answer questions, there are 98 students in your class. If the teacher always let you answer questions, other students may have the same feeling as you". I encouraged him. Large class may make the students feel they are neglected. I explained.
But how can we explain that truth to all the students? Can all the students understand such thing? I have no positive ideas about this.


In all, in the class, I believe the students’ attitudes changed greatly from the beginning of the year through my encouragement and respect. The whole class were able to take part in teaching activities voluntarily. I no longer needed to call out their names one by one to answer questions. Now after I asked a question, there were already several students prepared and competing to answer the question. They not only had courage to answer questions in the class, but also took part in extra-curricular activities organized by the English department. From April to the end of May of 2004, many of them participated in all kinds of activities such as the Speech Competition in English, Writing Competition in English, American and English Cultural Knowledge competition etc. No matter what results they achieved, such courage is worth praising to my mind. In my personal life, my two nephews are also greatly encouraged and respected. They can not only write to me in English, but also can make simple conversation with me. And the most important thing, they have more confidence both in me and in themselves.

Through doing AR, I developed the idea that if you want to be successful, you must make sure that everything is well-prepared, carefully-carried out and assessments achieved promptly. Through doing AR on my topic, I have learned even more that everyone needs respect and encouragement. Once people feel they are being respected and encouraged, their potential and potential ability will be brought out. Respect and encouragement can work wonders. It can make a coward into a hero. In addition, one who respects and encourages others also earns himself respect and encouragement. As for me, my students now regard me as their friend. They sometimes invite me to take part in their parties. Some of them may call me to have a chat with them. There is not a definite line between us. My performance also earned myself confidence in doing AR research continuously.

I am so grateful to Moira's help. Without her kindest encouragement, I would not have carried out my action research so fully. Also, I would not have written down this report. Adults need encouragement too.


1. Psychology Course, by Hu Yuexin.
2. Pedagogy in Foreign Language by Zhang Zhengdong. Science Press
3. English Classroom Assessment and Reflection by Luo Shaoqian



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