Antecedents and consequences of TESOL student expectations

Affective variables can help understand differences in student performance. This paper presents student expectations as an affective variable that has so far received little research attention. Students have expectations from educational providers, the fulfilment of which can create a positive learning environment leading to better performance. This study investigates students expectations from programs, the sources of these expectations and the outcomes of unmet expectations. A questionnaire was administered to learners of English as an additional language (n=65) in Brisbane, Australia. Factor analyses were conducted, and the results indicated that expectations are affected by levels of competitiveness, the educational and cultural gap between the home country and Australia, future orientation, and social value in the homeland. Unmet expectations affect performance, emotions, learning behaviour and cause rebelliousness. Follow-up interviews of teachers (n=10) at the same institutions were conducted to validate the results of the study. Students are likely to exhibit poorer performance and experience negative affective outcomes, thus hindering learning, if expectations are unmet. They may consider changing institutions and providing negative recommendations to prospective students. This research extends the understanding of affective variables in second language acquisition and has practical implications for educational providers. Copyright 2008 Sarbari Bordia, Lynn Wales, Cindy Gallois and Jeffery Pittam. No part of this article may be reproduced by any means without the written consent of the publisher.