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发布时间:2013-09-24 16:31:15  

The Effect of Non-intellectual Factors on

Middle School English Teaching

Abstract: The psychological structure is constituted by the intellectual factors and non-intellectual factors. While the intellectual factors are directly involved in the learning process of students, non-

intellectual factors, such as motivation, interest, emotion, will, and personality etc. Though not directly involved in the learning process can guide and inspire intellectual factors. They have many functions, such as, power, orientation, guidance, creativity, which interconnect each other to promote the process of

learning, and the effectiveness of students' learning. This article systematically elaborates the connotation and role of non-intellectual factors and puts forward some strategies to foster non-intellectual factors of middle school students so as to promote their learning English.

Key words: non-intellectual factors; functions; strategies





The psychological structure is constituted by the intellectual factors and non-intellectual factors. While the intellectual factors are directly involved in the learning process of students, non-intellectual

factors, such as motivation, interest, emotion, will, and personality etc. Though not directly involved in the learning process can guide and inspire intellectual factors. They have many functions, such as, power,

orientation, guidance, creativity, which interconnect each other to promote the process of learning, and the effectiveness of students' learning. This article systematically elaborates the connotation and role of non-intellectual factors and puts forward some strategies to foster non-intellectual factors of middle school students so as to promote their learning English.


I. Literature review

In 1935, American psychologist Allemande in his Intelligence: Concrete And The Abstract mentioned that in terms of intellectual development, not only we should pay attention to the general intelligence, verbal ability and practical ability, but also we should pay attention to interest and temperament factors. Under the influence of Allemande, D. Wechsler put forward the concept of non-intellectual factors in 1943. And then from the 1950s to the 1980s, the concept of non-intellectual factors gained further research,

especially in the field of cognitive psychology and developmental psychology. During this time, U. Neisser pointed out that human thinking is not only a process of development and maturation, but also a

developmental process of emotion, motivation, purpose and non-cognitive factors. After U. Neisser, Race Mongolia has published an article called Cognitive Motivational And Emotional Monitoring, in which he elaborates specifically on motivation and sentiments. Later, in 1974, Wechsler made a further explanation on the meaning of the non-intellectual factors. In his research, he pointed that non-intelligence factors is a necessary part in the development of intellectual behaviors. In the late 1970s, the basic non-intellectual factors are identified as the non-cognitive part of cognitive. In China, non-intellectual factors were

concerned from the beginning of the eighties by the educators of China. In recent years, it has become one of the" hot issues ". All those researchers have put forward their own understanding of the non-intellectual factors. Among which, the most widely recognized theory states non-intellectual factors conclude environmental factors and affective factors, which have certain functions in students' learning.

II. The definition and functions of non-intellectual factors

A. The definition of non-intellectual factors

The essence of the non-intellectual factors refers to factors that can affect students' learning. It mainly can be divided into two aspects: environmental factors, such as family environment, school environment, and social environment and affective factors, such as motivation, interest, emotion, perseverance and so on. These factors are interrelated and act on the students.

B. The functions of non-intellectual factors

According to researcher Wu daguang, the non-intellectual factors have these functions as follows. i. Non-intellectual factors' orientation function. All human activities have their own aims. The learning process of individual human being is also not an exception. The initial learning activities tend to be blind and random, and then gradually become a kind of activities which have clear aims. This original orientation comes from the interest of non-intellectual factors. As we all know, learning activities can not be separated from the students' interest. A strong interest in learning is the inexhaustible source of learning. An active interest in learning is the premise of achievements.

ii. The infection functions of non-intellectual factors. It can not be denied that learning sometimes makes people feel dull, and especially long-term monotonous intellectual activities will reduce the

susceptibility of the cerebral cortex excitability, which results in the effectiveness of learning. However, each element of non-intellectual factors can work together to make the learning process active. Motivation


and emotion of non-intellectual factors add a kind of spiritual enjoyment to learning activities. American scientist Spily draws a conclusion through research on the human brain that if you try to coordinate the activities of the two hemispheres of the brain, then you can get the ideal learning effect. It proclaims the relationship between learning and emotion psychologically.

iii. The creative power of non-intellectual factors. According to research in the field of philosophy, we know that the ultimate goal of learning is to change the world, and create a new world. The modern concept of learning is to make learning activities become creative activities, of which the core issue is the cultivation of creativity. Non-intellectual factors are just essential psychological conditions to stimulate creativity. Many successful talents recognize that non-intellectual factors own create function. The United States has conducted a questionnaire survey on the growth path of one thousand scientists, and more than 90 percent of the people affirm the creation function of non-intellectual factors in their growing. They think creative activities can be possible by combining different non-intelligence factors together.

iv. The motive power of the non-intellectual factors. This power is the main function of non-

intellectual factors in the learning, and it is mainly achieved motivational factors of non-intellectual factors. Learning activities are activities to explore the unknown, and the whole system caused by different power factors. Motivation is particularly important. In terms of psychology, motivation is motive power to achieve the expectation in our inner heart.

v. Non-intellectual factors' enhancements function. learning activities are full of contradictions and difficult intellectual activities. The enhancement function of non-intellectual factors is realized by the will of non-intelligence factors. Learning activities is a comprehensive test of individual mental activities. It is first built on the basis of consciousness and enthusiasm, and then be put into practice through means of strengthening role of the will. Strong will is necessary to overcome difficulties and complete various learning activities.

Ⅲ. Cultivation of non-intellectual factors of students in middle school

A. The disadvantages of middle school English learning in our country because of not fully developed non-intellectual factors

By picking up numerous research and results of the latest survey, there still exist many problems in middle school English teaching and learning.

i. The disadvantages of environment

a. The physical environment

Much of the information reflected that in the many schools, the teaching media is very backward, and only recorder can be guaranteed in the basic English teaching. Teaching materials, supporting materials, and pictures are not affordable. There is also no language lab, let alone computers. What ' s more, in some middle schools, the classroom is very shabby and dim, which is bad for students both physically and psychologically. Besides, classroom setting is generally more crowded, and thus the students are mostly taught in large classes. In such situation, the differences between students can be easily neglected.

b. Social environment


Research shows that in some schools, the class climate is not active. Students in the class do not

behave actively, and students do not communicate with each other openly and frequently. In addition, there are also a little communication between students and their teachers in some school.

c. Family environment

Some studies have shown that different family environment have different effects on students.

Students' home environment is mainly manifested in the different patterns of family upbringing. Usually it can be divided into three types according to the parents' the family educational model, namely

authoritarian, indulgent, and democracy. Most of the children under authoritarian parenting mode are anxious, withdrawal, suspected, performing inactively in the classroom, not daring to speak. Children under the indulgent parenting mode show lacking of self-control, more dependence on others. Most of them choose to retreat when they encounter problems in the learning. Different from the above two kinds of children, children coming from democratic rearing mode perform more self-confidently, contently, independently, self-controlled, in English learning . They show high enthusiasm and consciousness.

ii. Lack of attention to affective factors

a. Personality

The character of most students is very introverted, which is not good for interaction and

communication between teachers and students, and communication between the students . Thus it is not easy to form a lively and progressive, mutual assistant and cooperative classroom climate, which results in inefficient learning.

b. Self-confidence

Due to the uneven level of primary school English education and the existence of regional differences and other factors, the phenomenon of students’ polarization seems very serious; some students perform poor, for the lack of vocabulary, having a confusing knowledge of grammar, inactive thinking, and disability to accept new knowledge. Gradually, with the deepening of the progress of teaching, and increasing difficulty of the course content, students feel more difficult. Some of them become less self-confident. I can fully understand this phenomenon. Last summer I tutored a few high school students who are actually very smart. They have high marks in the fields of science and math, but always failed in English, when it is math class, they behaved actively and enthusiastically, when to English class, they totally lost interest, and even saw the English textbooks a headache. They told me that on the first day of middle school, their foundation in English is not as good as the other students in the class, and later face the more difficult contents, they just totally lost confidence. Finally, their English fell behind others.

c. Neglect of students' emotion

Nowadays, in many middle schools, the aim of teaching is just to prepare for examination. Teachers regard English as a subject consisting of only grammar and vocabulary. Their classes are just "spoon-fed" teaching model. The whole class is controlled by teacher herself. Naturally, students almost have no time to join in the class, let alone putting forward some creative thoughts. Gradually, their enthusiasms, curiosity, sense of innovation unknowingly disappear. With the decline of interest in learning, the classroom atmosphere is increasingly boring.


To summary the above, the non-intellectual factors restrict the learning and teaching of English in middle school from two main aspects: environmental and affective aspects. Environmental factors mainly refer to the physical and social environment. Educational psychology research has shown that physical classroom environment includes natural conditions, such as temperature, light, teaching facilities such as tables, chairs, blackboards, and instructional media and spatial arrangement of factors. All these factors affect the students' learning and teachers' teaching. Likewise, social environment relating to classroom

discipline, classroom atmosphere, teacher-student relationship, the relationship between students, and even cultural background, all play roles in English learning directly or indirectly. Emotional factors such as interest, motivation, belief, will, confidence and all other emotional factors play an important role in

students' learning. Lenin has ever pointed out that "If there is no human emotion, you can never pursue the truth"

B. Some strategies to cultivate the non-intellectual factors of students

i. The improvement of environment for students

Teachers can apply non-intellectual factors into English Teaching in middle school from the

following aspects.

a. The improvement of physical environment for students

School classroom should keep clean, tidy. Light should be sufficient, so that it can make students feel comfortable to learn. Besides, the teacher should also pay attention to the arrangement of desk and media players according to psychological scientists.

b. The improvement of social environment for students.

Teachers and students in the class should strive to create a harmonious, unity, fraternity, positive classroom climate. What's more, teachers should properly handle the relationship with the students. If teachers can demonstrate as friends, preaching and even a parent, it is more conducive to the establish a intimate relationship between teachers and students, which in turn contributes to students' learning.

c. The improvement of family environment of students

The student's family environment is also an important factor to affect students' development. Teachers and parents should communicate frequently and work together to try to create the best learning

environment for students. The parents should create a democratic family atmosphere, which is good for their communication with their children.

B. The Cultivation of affective factors of the students to improve their English learning

i. The cultivation of students' interest in learning English

a. The use of "Happy teaching"

Happy teaching demands teachers to carefully set the scene to give students pleasant emotional

experience. Enable students to acquire knowledge in a relaxed learning atmosphere, and improve the ability to keep making progress toward the goal. Teachers should consider teaching content during

preparation, such as the combination of physical, slides, charts, stick figure, take Paltalk, group activities, theater performances, knowledge Responder, storytelling and a variety of ways. Teachers can also organize extra-curricular activities to active students’ body and mind, stimulate students' interest and



b. The use of memory techniques

Memorizing words is the key to learning a foreign language, but also the greatest difficulty

encountered by the students. Thus not remembering what teacher teaches will decline the enthusiasm of learning English. According to some research in the field of psychology, there are some ways to remember, such as Position memory, clipping, association, key words and so on. By using these techniques, students can save time, eliminate fatigue. As we all know, grammar teaching is boring, and students easily get bored. If we can intersperse with some games during teaching, the results must be different. In addition, the teacher's eyes change, gestures use, changeable sound, facial expressions are important, too.

c. The use of effective classroom lead in

Class lead in is more an art than science. The main aim of leading is to activate the knowledge

relating to the class by the help of appropriate materials and methods. It will form a psychological preparation in students' mind, with the necessary language, vocabulary, social background and so on. According to the flexible teaching materials, we can design colorful classroom leading forms, which can stimulate the interest of students to learn a new lesson. When teach an argumentative text, the teacher can use the discussion method in class. For example, when we talk about the topic of smoking, the teacher can first draw a non-smoking sign on the blackboard and ask "What is it?", "Is there anybody smoking in our class?" "Is smoking good or bad?", and then let the students to discuss and give reasons. Three minutes later, the teacher collects the answers and writes them on the blackboard. The answers can be summarized as follows: "well, many students have given your opinions on smoking and all your ideas sound good and reasonable. Today, the writer also talks about this problem, and let’s read and try to find the writer's

opinion." In this way, the students will think the questions actively, and take the initiative to seek the right words to express his ideas in discussion. In the meanwhile, the teacher can go naturally into new courses.

ii. Establishment of self-confidence in learning English

a. Appropriate treatment of students' mistakes

Correcting errors, especially correct in public, may be a kind of punishment to some extent. Handled improperly, it will dampen the enthusiasm of the students to learn the language. Teachers must treat

differently on the mistakes the students made during the learning process. During this process, the teacher should pay attention to the art and strategies to correct errors. Do remember not to satirize, in order not to inactive the students' enthusiasm in the following learning process. Leo Buscaglia has ever done an

experiment. In one class, he and his students had made two lists of words, one positive and one negative. Then they threw the negative words in the trash and tried to use only the positive words for one month. No matter how many mistakes a student's paper contained, there was always a simple sentence, beautiful thought, or a great idea. It was amazing that their learning climb a lot higher.

b. Avoidance of the negative emotions the examinations bring

Although taking exams is a feasible means to check students' learning situation, it is not appropriate to read test scores of students in front of all the students. Since this approach only make a few of the top students experience the joy of success. To the most students, especially for students at the back they may


experience more negative emotions than to gain a power to catch up with others. They may lose interest in learning, lost confidence in their own. So, I think it is better for teachers not to publicly announce the results of the students. They can read the list of a few students who do very well in the test, for students who get low score, the teacher should try to help them analyze the causes and identify deficiencies and then encourage them to muster the confidence to continue their efforts.

c. Offering more chances for each student to success

Sense of successfully learning is an important emotional experience during English learning. There is nothing better than sense of success to give students power to further pursue his goals. Sense of success can greatly arouse the enthusiasm and interest of the students in the classroom learning, so in the class, teachers can arrange some questions more difficult for students who learn better. While arrange some relatively simple questions for students who are not so well at learning English. As long as the students answered correctly, teachers should praise them in time and encourage them to go on. Encouragement is a necessity. When students hear the praise, their heart will be filled with joy, their enthusiasm for learning is also becoming higher. What teachers should do is to help students regain their confidence, especially help the poor students. The teacher should help them to establish a easy to achieve short-term aim, with lower requirements, and sincere encouragement, the teacher is able to let them see the light in the process of hardships, for example, if the teacher ask students to write an English essay, as for students who is less skillful, you can appropriately reduce the number of words required, and outline revealed to them, prompting them to succeed, thereby enhancing confidence after learning.

iii. The cultivation of strong will.

Will is developed in the process of realizing the world and changing the world. It is a kind of action controlled by people's mind. With strong will, people have courage to overcome the difficulties they encountered. Psychological research shows that strong will is not to be born, instead, it is formed in the process of overcoming difficulties again and again. How to help students to develop strong will? There are many ways available.

a. Model education

The power of examples is endless. By setting a specific example and learning from him, students can deepen his own understanding of the will, spark internal motivated enthusiasm, which is key to improve the ability of anti-frustration and gain chance to train himself. There are a lot of famous strong-willed man in both china and other countries. Such as Goujian in ancient China, who taste bitter every morning to tell himself to be a king not a capture. Zhang haidi, an iron woman, who are seriously physical disabled, has never given up herself. Body paralyzed, blind as Ostrovsky is, he Completed "How the Steel Was

Tempered" in so numerous difficult environment. American writer Helen Keller, who is born deaf, blind, mute, is proficient in three foreign languages. It is what makes them do such amazing things in such terrible conditions? It is strong will. If you own so great will, there is no barrier in front of you. Let our students to learn from these great men. It is really a good way to make our mind strong.

b. Learning from trivial

There is an old saying that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. a strong will is


impossible to form in a day. It is gradually nurtured in the day-to-day learning, work and life practice. As a teacher, we should help students to combine lofty ideals with day-to-day learning, work and life. As long as students do a little thing, they can regard it as a key step forward to their ambitious goals. Let the

students to know that every little difficult they meet in life is just a test of their will. As in English teaching, help the students learn that every word, every phrase, each sentence, each knowledge point they remember everyday is of great importance, and that it is just these tiny things contribute their last success.

c. The educational effect of teachers themselves

Teachers are people who stay long with students than anyone else, so students tend to imitate their teachers. In such conditions, teachers should act their role well. When a teacher asks the students march forward courageously, not to afraid of difficulties. First of all, they themselves should own the courage to overcome difficulties. Educational environment is changing daily, teachers who can't make themselves up to date, will be eliminated by the quick pace of the history. So the teachers should continue learning only in this way can they adapt to the increasingly updated world. Only in this way can they use their

difficulties-fearless and confidence to encourage and infect their students. For example, when they find that some students face difficulties in English learning, they can easily generate a fear of difficulty

emotions. At that moment, the teacher can tell their own stories. For example, the teacher can use his or her own experience to encourage the students.

In a word, in the process of learning, only equipped with intelligence and enthusiasm is not enough. The students must have the will to persist in doing everything, especially difficult things. A student who has a strong willpower will not only promote the development of the intellect, but also can adjust and control their emotional system, and govern the cognitive activities. Willpower is a psychological process of setting an intended target, and overcoming kinds of hardships in the pursuit. Marx has ever said: "there is no royal road to science, unless those who do not dread the fatiguing and climb bravely own a chance to reach the glorious summit. A strong will is not born. It is a result of education and practice. To become a integrated high-quality person, we must pay attention to the will of the exercise and training.

IV. Conclusion

Researches above show that non-intellectual factors play an important role in middle school English learning. They promote students' learning through their functions, such as orientation, creative power, infection, enhancement, etc. Therefore, to learn English well, in middle school, students' non-intellectual factors should be developed. Both environment factors and affective factors should be paid enough

attention to improve English learning. Of course, each school has their own different problems, and non-intellectual factors are multi-faceted. Different circumstances should be taken into consideration and then take different measures to develop students' non-intellectual factors. Only in this way can we improve students' English learning effectively.



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