Time perspective in achievement contexts

Year: 2013

Author: Phan, Huy

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Students’ learning in achievement contexts is an important feat for accomplishment. In the area of educational psychology, for example, researchers have proposed and tested different theoretical-conceptual models to explain and account for students’ patterns in cognition, motivation, and behavior. One notable theory that has been researched extensively is time perspective (TP) and its associations with a wide range of learning and achievement-related outcomes. Time perspective, in its simplistic term, is defined as “the totality of the individual’s view of his/her psychological future and psychological past existing at a given time” (Lewin, 1951, p. 75). The work of Zimbardo (Zimbardo & Boyd, 1999, 2008) has been prominent, detailing five different types of time orientations (e.g., present-fatalistic).
The present study, quantitative in nature, attempts to explore the impact of future time perspective (e.g., “When I want to achieve something, I set goals and consider specific means for reaching those goals”) on students’ personal self-efficacy beliefs and engagement in schooling. Furthermore, as a notable point of investigation, we situated the interrelations between TP, academic engagement, and personal self-efficacy from the framework of school belonging. A sense of belonging, as empirical research has shown, is predictive of students’ learning and achievement outcomes. The question then, for consideration, is whether a sense of belonging (e.g., “Other students in this school take my opinions seriously”) would serve as an antecedent of TP, academic engagement, and personal self-efficacy? Three hundred and four secondary school students (151 boys, 153 girls) participated in this cross-sectional study. Causal modeling procedures yielded, notably, the impact of school belonging on past-positive, past-negative, present-fatalistic, and future orientations. Both past-negative and future time orientations also exerted positive effects on the three components of academic engagement (absorption, dedication, vigor). Other associations linking school belonging to academic achievement, and TP and academic engagement to personal self-efficacy are also validated. The established relations, in totality, are discussed.