A Comparison of Academic Self-Efficacy

5 / 5. 1

A Comparison of Academic Self-Efficacy

Category: Biology

Subcategory: Business

Level: Masters

Pages: 47

Words: 12925

The increase in urbanization and improved lifestyles in towns mean that there is an increase in the number of people that are moving to town. As a result, many children have been affected by the movement of their parents, especially in terms of their performances and self-efficacy. The main motivation for this research is the need to address the recent reduction in performances in the rural schools in China. There are numerous pieces of evidence that show a direct relationship between self-efficacy and the effect of the parents in academic performance. I also believe that the fact that the children have been left behind makes them perform below their potential. The methods used in this research include interviews and open end questionnaire. The results of this research show that here is the direct relationship between academic self-effcacy and the presence of the parents at home.

A Comparison of Academic Self-Efficacy between Rural Left-Behind Children and Non-Left-Behind Children in China

Those who live with their parents have higher academic self-efficacy that those that do not live with their parents. This research has several implications. It will act as the background and the start for more research on the similar topic. It will also act as an instigator to better ways of handling of the children. It will also help teachers know of the ways that can be used to handle the children who have been left behind. The study also adds to the wider knowledge of this issue about self-efficacy.

Keywords: Academic Self-Efficacy, Left-Behind Children, Non-Left-Behind Children, Chinese development, parenting, education in ChinaIntroductionBackground of the StudyAs a consequence of increased development in the towns, many people are moving to the cities to look for better employment opportunities. Some of these people are parents that are leaving behind their children at home. These children are often left in the care of their relatives [or friends] while the parents attempt to make ends meet (Fengbo et al., 2016). It is impossible for them to relocate with their children, as this move will reduce their efficiency and effectiveness apropos of their agenda. The reason behind this practice in China is economization as children double or even triple the expenses in the city. Those who live in towns have reduced burdens when they leave their children with their caretakers. When parents leave their children behind, the children are bound to experience psychological effects that may affect their academics (Jingzhong, 2011; Ren & Treiman, 2016; Su et al., 2012). The inclusion of the idea of “academic efficacy” assists the LBC in improving their academic growth, progress, and development. A comparison of the Non-LBC and LBC will be explored in this study.
Definition of termsLeft-Behind Children (LBC):
Children who are left in rural China (with relatives or friends) while both parents relocate to the city for employment and survival.
Non-left Behind Children:
These children live with one or both parents in the rural parts of China.
Rural China:
The region accounts for approximately 45% of the people in China and is classified as the opposite of “urban China.”
Academic self-efficacy:
It is a personal and individualistic belief that a human being who has set their educational goals is bound to achieve them.
Personal, academic development:
Individuals should be aware of their academic skills, prowess, and talents to warrant growth and development.
Research deficiencies:
These are the number of gaps and loopholes in a specific research process.
The current situation of LBC in China
Many people believe that the children that have been left behind have challenges that have to be addressed. Numerous reports indicate that these children are deprived of sleep, high academic performance, and social relationships (Jingzhong, 2011; Ren & Treiman, 2016; Su et al., 2012). Most of these children suffer from psychological conditions, such as depression, and succumb to sad episodes and lifestyles. In fact, the children whose parents leave them behind with relatives are bound to suffer emotionally. They do not have any parent to instill nurturing characteristics in them which interferes with the children’s emotive development. Fortunately, the situation of LBC has improved in some regions in China such as Hefeng County. Some female teachers have taken on the responsibility of nurturing the LBC and providing them with maternal love (Masud et al., 2016). There are also social workers that offer therapeutic and counseling services to the LBCs. Furthermore, small houses have been constructed to accommodate the LBCs and provide them with technological advancements to communicate with their parents. They receive care and the opportunity to connect with their parents through audio or video calls. While the situation has not improved in some of China’s rural regions, it is hoped that the position of LBC will change.
Consequences of Parental AbsenceParental absence has many consequences for LBC. First, there are no role models guiding these children to grow into moral adults. Children should look up to their parents for physical, emotional and moral guidance. Even if they are left behind with their relatives, the advice received by the children cannot be compared to parental advice. The lack of guidance often interferes with the children’s growth, as they do not have ‘pressure’ to succeed in their education (Masud et al., 2016). Furthermore, their parents’ absence affects their emotional security. According to Ren and Treiman (2016), the Non-LBCs are emotionally stronger than the LBCs because they live with their parents in the rural parts of China. They are not ‘neglected’ by their parents; thus, they grow up in nurturing environments that cajole them to achieve greatness.
The inability of LBC to acquire parental love affects their self-efficacy as some of them develop psychological disorders that distort their self-esteem. These children easily succumb to suicidal feelings due to the depression and stress that accompanies their feelings of ‘neglect.’ Furthermore, some LBC adopts rebellious characteristics to psychologically project their parents left (Ren & Treiman, 2016). While some will acquire their morals from their relatives or friends, others will protest their parents’ choices thus negatively affecting their developmental states (Su et al., 2012). Parental absence has both advantages and drawbacks, and China is continually working towards acquiring solutions for the LBC in its rural regions.
Problem Statement
The recent increase in the number of students that have been left behind by their parents is an issue of a prime focus on the political and social landscape within China.
Study PurposeThis study compares the level of academic performance or belief between the left behind children in China and those that have not been left behind. The study does this by analysing the reasons for the children being left behind and whether it has impacts on their performances. It is necessary for individuals to understand that living in the cities with children would lead to doubled or tripled budgets. This study explores the necessity of economization and proper utilization of resources. The study will conclude by making different recommendations that can be taken by various organizations. It is a comprehensive study as it examines the scope of LBCs and non-LBCs and compares them.
Implications of the StudyThis study explores how urbanization in China affected the physical, emotional and academic development of children. A number of parents that relocate to urban areas are forced to ‘neglect’ their children in the rural parts of China. However, it is an important choice in cases where the parents are in dire need of employment opportunities to support the family. The study extrapolates on the ideas that LBC is prone to academic problems and great emotional distress associated with a lack of self-confidence (Jingzhong, 2011; Wen & Lin, 2011). Even if the children are left with relatives or friends, it is not comparable to their affiliation with their parents. The conclusion of this study is that there are numerous challenges that the children who have been left behind face in China including dealing with various emotions and the loneliness of their parents. In addition to this, the recommendations are that the teachers have to find ways of integrating parents into the life of the students so that their self-efficacy cannot reduce.

Literature ReviewsIntroductionChina is one of the rapidly developing countries. This means that many people are leaving the villages in search of employment in the developed cities. Fengbo et al. (2016) argue that due to the increasing prices and growing pressure from inflation, it is becoming difficult for parents to successfully maintain big families in these cities (Fengbo et al., 2016). Consequently, most parents opt to leave their children with relatives and friends in the rural regions to save money and improve their living standards (Fengbo et al., 2016). However, Lee (2011) notes that when parents leave their children behind for a long time, the children are bound to suffer psychological and social effects which may include interference with the children’s academic self-efficacy (Lee, 2011). Self-efficacy is a focal factor of constructive child growth, which helps LBC recover from emotional distress and effectively deal with academic pressure while positively influencing their psychological development (Wen & Lin, 2011). To develop an effective solution to this challenge, it is imperative for studies such as this one to be conducted on the bearing of parental relocation on the academic self-efficacy of left-behind children.
Research on Academic Self-efficacyAcademic self-efficacy denotes an individual’s certainty that they can efficaciously triumph at a selected level on an academic assignment or attain a particular educational objective (Bandura, 1997). It is repeatedly designated as assignment-specific self-assurance, and it is a critical element in learning and motivation theories across different milieu. An expansive selection of human performance, from academic achievement to athletic dexterity, can be predicted and explained using the ideology of self-efficacy (Artino, 2012). Research has shown that having high self-efficacy, especially when attempting complicated tasks, creates feelings of serenity while low self-efficacy may lead to the student perceiving the job as more complex than it is in reality. According to Downey, Eccless, and Chatman (2006), this may lead to stress, anxiety and a limited idea on the best means of completing the task. Due to the situational nature of self-efficacy, it is highly interrelated to parenting styles and personal, academic development among children.
The Relationship between Academic Self-Efficacy and Parenting StylesParenting is a multifaceted activity that entails several specific behaviors that operate individually and together to influence child outcomes. Hoeve et al. (2011) define parenting style as a psychological construct that represents the established strategies that parents apply in the process of bringing up their children. Parents often learn their parenting styles from their parents with some adopting their parents’ style in whole or discarding some of their practices. There are four widely recognized parenting styles in the world including authoritative styles, authoritarian styles, permissive styles and neglectful styles. Also known as the autocratic style, the authoritarian style of parenting is a highly rigid system of ‘limits without freedoms’ that exhibits high expectations of conformity and compliance to parenting rules and directions (Hoeve et al., 2011). The authoritative style is highly demanding and responsive and allows little room for negotiation. Permissive parenting is low on demands and high responsiveness while neglectful parenting is low on both demands and responsiveness.
Parenting styles influence the development of academic self-efficacy among children through the association differs between paternal and maternal methods. Qamar et al. (2017) found a weak but positive and statistically noteworthy correlation between the students’ academic self-efficacy and authoritative paternal style (Qamar et al., 2017). However, the same study established a statistically insignificant relationship between the authoritative maternal style and children’s academic self-efficacy. The connection between academic self-efficacy and styles of parenting persists into adolescence. Rivers et al.’s (2012) study, which targets teenagers, found that those teenagers whose parents used authoritative parenting styles exhibited an intrinsic motivation in their educational endeavors (Rivers et al., 2012). Both studies found that children or adolescents with passive or absent parents who were unavailable the majority of the time lacked the motivation to perform well academically.
Parenting styles only affect a child’s academic self-efficacy and their attachment to their peers. A mother’s permissive style promotes aggressive behavior among children while limiting the child’s attachment to their peers (Llorca-Mestre et al., 2017). Effectively, academic self-efficacy and peer relations are considered mediator variables between a child’s school performance and parenting styles. Authoritative Chinese parents have a greater impact on the academic self-efficacy of their children (Leung et al., 1998). Effectively, the more the parent is present in their children’s lives while they are still young, the more the children develop academic self-efficacy even into their adolescence. However, Masud et al. (2016) concluded that there is no relationship between parenting styles and academic performance. They argued that self-efficacy is a critical mediator in the link between authoritative styles of parenting and academic achievement (Masud et al. 2016). Due to the impact of self-efficacy on the psychological development of children, it can be concluded that parenting styles (which influence self-efficacy) affect the academic performance of children.
The Relationship between Academic Self-Efficacy and Personal Academic DevelopmentPersonal academic development refers to a lifelong process that deals with all the activities that promote identity and awareness and professional development. The personal educational development also develops potential and talents; builds human capital and improves an individual’s employability and professional competencies while enhancing the quality of life and contributing to the attainment of the individual’s aspirations and dreams (Kumar, 2009). Personal development is equally important for the achievement of self-actualization as demonstrated by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Robertson, 2016). At the bottom of the pyramid are physiological needs, and people aspire to satisfy their needs to graduate to the next level of the pyramid. These are accompanied by safety and security needs, the need for love and belonging, the need for self-esteem and self-worth, the need to understand, aesthetic needs and at the pinnacle are the self-actualization needs (Robertson, 2016). An individual’s desire to move up the hierarchy of needs is informed by their self-efficacy.
The Bandura theory can be used to predict and elucidate the relationship that exists between academic self-efficacy and personal educational development. According to the method, the academic functioning of students is affected by a range of non-academic, academic and school-related situational variables (Urdan & Pajares, 2006). Educational self-efficacy beliefs, such as social functioning, personal self-regulatory functioning, and academic functioning, are important variables in the promotion of personal, academic development among students (Cabrera, 2017). If children lack these beliefs, then their personal educational growth will be limited.
Bandura’s research also analyzed students and parents’ self-efficacy measures and their effects on the students’ intrinsic motivation to take up personal, academic development initiatives. According to Hartas (2011), the family’s socioeconomic status was often demonstrated through the parents’ personal and academic aspirations and the children’s pro-social behavior. Effectively, children from well-to-do backgrounds are most likely to exhibit a high sense of academic self-efficacy and therefore be able to put more effort in personal educational development compared to those from poor or modest backgrounds. It is in line with Urban and Pajares’ (2006) assertion that children who doubt their academic self-efficacy exhibit a reduced sense of personal and educational aspirations and are bound to experience greater depression.
Children usually feel more self-efficacious when undertaking tasks and may at times overestimate their capabilities. However, the precision of their self-efficacy assessment improves with development. Therefore, more information is available to the children as they develop. The children become more aware of their academic self-efficacy and, consequently, they aspire to achieve even greater goals in their personal and academic lives (Lepper et al., 2005). At a young age, the child needs the parental guidance before they get to the adulthood. According to Wentzel and Miele (2009), parents who provide responsive, warm and supportive environments to their children encourage their exploration and effectively spur the desire to take up personal, academic development initiatives. According to Duchesne and McMaugh (2013), self-efficacy is often related to self-regulation, and research has shown that self-regulation related to the desire to succeed academically (Duchesne & McMaugh, 2013; Hughes, 2012). If learners exhibit high self-efficacy, they tend to desire to develop themselves academically (Hughes, 2012). However, learners with low self-efficacy have low self-esteem and are often pessimistic about their personal development prospects.
The Relationship between Academic Self-Efficacy and Academic PerformanceAcademic performance refers to the situation where the student or the learner fulfills the academic requirements of the school through a certain level of goal that has been set by the school. While Gbollie and Keamu (2017) underscore the importance of motivational factors in the attainment of academic performance, Duchesne and McMaugh (2013) link academic success to a student’s academic self-efficacy. Self-efficacy and academic performance can be connected through the self-assessment. Self-regulated learning behaviors such as goal-setting, planning, persistence and monitoring of learning are often linked with students who exhibit high academic self-efficacy. According to Çelik (2015), academic self-efficacy is a great mediator in student academic support and personal growth initiative. The high level of academic self-efficacy is important to the students.
A systematic literature review of 12 years of research on the relationship between students’ academic self-efficacy and their academic performance uncovered the connection between academic self-efficacy and academic performance among the students (Honicke & Broadbent, 2016). However, this review identified mediating and moderating factors, including goal orientations, effort regulation, and deep processing strategies. The review established causality between a student’s academic self-efficacy and performance and recommended further research on longitudinal intervention-based studies (ibid). Furthermore, Meral, Colak, and Zereyak (2012) established a relationship between the student’s academic self-efficacy beliefs and their effort, task choice, achievement, and resilience – which are all contributory factors to the student’s academic performance. Self-efficacy is also important for the better academic performances. High self-efficacy, related student motivations and a sense of purpose towards their learning have a significant effect on the students’ academic success (Dogan, 2015). Schools have to formulate engagement programs to enhance the performance of low self-efficacy students.
Recognising the multidimensional nature of self-efficacy is important. Being context dependent, a substantial sense of self-efficacy in a given domain may not automatically translate to having a comparable level in other fields (Meera & Jumana, 2015). Therefore, the effect of academic self-efficacy on academic performance may vary. Some students will perform exceptionally well while others will perform moderately well. However, they both show a high sense of academic self-efficacy. This does not weaken the consensus concerning the positive correlation between academic self-efficacy and academic performance (Meera & Jumana, 2015). The process of establishing and making use of self-efficacy beliefs is generally intuitive. Therefore, an individual’s future academic performance often depends on their past performance and the expectations of their achievements. This helps to explain the difference in student performance when the students exhibit similar abilities.
The Current Research on Academic Self-EfficacyIn his ecological studies on the role of self-efficacy awareness on the personal and academic development of adolescents, Albert Bandura defined self-efficacy as an individual’s confidence in their ability to plan and act in a manner to achieve a specific set of goals (Urden & Parajes, 2006). However, Artino (2012) and Fosse et al. (2015) describe self-efficacy as self-confidence that is highly task-specific. In addition, the ideology of self-efficacy is a critical element in the theories of motivation and learning in different settings (Brown, 2010). Consequently, researchers in the education sector have taken up phenomenon to foretell and expound several human operations ranging from academic to athletic successes. However, it is the increasing attention to self-efficacy in the field of academic achievements and accomplishments over the past fifteen years that is of interest.
According to Artino (2012), the idea of academic self-efficacy was developed from the widespread attention towards self-efficacy and researchers have defined academic self-efficacy as the belief among individual students that they can accomplish specific goals and objectives in academics. In addition, to further develop the ideology of academic self-efficacy, researchers have identified the various decisive factors for academic self-efficacy and the ideology’s function in the lives of students. The critical factors are vicarious experience (Artino, 2012) and verbal coercion from other people (Kerr, 2009). However, persuasion may not be sufficient to produce long-lasting growth in self-efficacy if it is the only influencing factor. Self-efficacy serves different roles including the promotion of resilience in education (Herpen et al., 2017) and the facilitation of mediation between consciousness and academic achievement (Fosse et al., 2015).
Research DeficienciesDespite the extensive research on academic self-efficacy and its role in education, there are several inconsistencies in the study. Most of the studies that have been done in the past about the subject of children who have been left behind have been done between 2004 and 2017. For instance, the survey by Yufang (2004) focused on academic self-efficacy while Su et al. (2012) evaluated the psychological modification among left-behind children in rural China.
It is evident that the research on the subject has dealt with academic self-efficacy and left-behind children independently. The other problem is the lack of quality and empirical research works that have been done on this same subject for a long time. Therefore, this study aims to offer the conceivable evidence for further studies on Chinese left-behind children.
LBC in Rural China
The term LBC are the children that remain at home while their first parents are going to look for the better methods of survival in the towns (Xiao, 2014), meaning both parents are not in the rural areas. According to Xiao (2014), parents often leave their children with their grandparents or friends who live in rural China. One in ten of China’s population is believed to be migrants who moved from rural China to the urban region (Xiao, 2014). Many of these parents leave their children in their rural homes in the care of their grandparents and do not take an active part in their education or upbringing (Gao et al., 2010). Most LBCs can only contact their parents through messages and calls and only see them face to face once a year during the Spring Festival Holiday (Cheng & Sun, 2014). The children are ‘left-behind’ as the villages in which they remain have inadequate social infrastructures compared to those found in town, and they obtain insufficient parental care (Wang & Lewin, 2016). They suffer the consequences of low standards of living and high instances of neglect.
According to a survey published in the South China Morning Post, there are 61 million left-behind children in China (Lau, 2016). This is almost the size of the British population. The growing population of LBC is becoming a social problem in China, and there have been several tragedies which have shocked the nation and the world. The government and external stakeholders have attempted to intervene. However, these children still face extreme challenges in life and are now being referred to by researchers as the lost generation (Hellmann, 2015). Due to the lack of direct parental involvement in their daily lives, these children suffer from several consequences including psychological, physical, mental and social challenges.
LBC’s Academic Aspects
In as much as the academic aptitudes of left-behind children equal those of non-left-behind children, it is evident that the former faces more education-related challenges. Among these challenges, there is the inadequate provision of the essential educational materials and resources to the left-behind children in China by their parents (Burnette et al., 2013). Parents are supposed to provide both tangible and intangible resources to their children during the course of their education in order to support their learning. The tangible resources include books, school uniforms, and other physical materials that the school may require of parents. However, it is the intangible resources such as moral support and parental guidance that the left-behind children lack the most.
Left-behind children also suffer substantial security threats in their homes and on their way to school. In addition, the emotional insecurity that these children suffer may significantly interfere with their level of self-efficacy (Zhao & Liao, 2016). China is known for its efforts to become a tech giant. However, it still suffers security challenges like any other developing nation (Yang, 2010). These challenges interfere with the school attendance of rural students. Coupled with the low level of self-efficacy among the students; left-behind children record poor educational outcomes that include high school dropout rates, reduced motivation to further their education and generally poor performance (Xiao, 2014).
Moreover, left-behind children often experience a lack of role models in the villages (Senaratna, 2012). Since most of the people they interact with are their peers or the older generation, they have no one to look to for inspiration as their parents are away in the city. The rural families that are relatively affluent can afford to send their children to county-level schools while those who are poor are only able to send their children to the closest rural school. The lack of role models and motivation to further their education leads to reduced performance among the left-behind children (Senaratna, 2012).
Lu (2014) argues that the internal migration of parents plays a deleterious role in some cases. However, the effects are not as adverse as those witnessed with international movement (Lu, 2014). However, in what seems to be a tangent in research on the impact of parental migration on the education of left-behind children, Kong and Meng (2010) aver that economic literature established a positive relationship between parental movement and the educational outcomes of their children (Kong & Meng, 2010). Several factors have been linked to more Chinese parents leaving their children behind in search of better-paying jobs. According to Ming (2013), many parents leave their children behind to reduce expenses in town and due to the availability of caregivers in the form of their elderly parents. Goldstein and Goldstein (1986) argue that an effect of the one-child policy in China is the significant growth in the number of older people in this society. However, people from the rural areas were critical of the policy and bore multiple children for security purposes during their old age. It is this elderly population that can no longer participate in productive work that is left to tend to the left-behind children while their parents are out looking for work in the cities and towns.
LBC’s Family Environment
There are several families that are affected by the migrations into the towns. In addition, Hong (2013) argues that the growth of feminism and women’s liberation in China has challenged the traditional role of women as homemakers, leading to the increased movement of mothers to cities to secure employment (Hong, 2013). Families have seen mothers go to the city, imposing the traditionally feminine role of child care on the fathers. The mothers become the ‘breadwinners’ of their respective families – a role that was traditionally reserved for the fathers (Burnette et al., 2013). The family challenge is compounded when both parents have to leave the children alone as the children are forced to assume increased responsibilities. This may interfere with their ability to enjoy their childhood and develop the self-efficacy elements that are important in their academic lives.
The role of nuclear families in child development is important. However, left-behind children are forced to forego the life and experiences of a nuclear family for as long as their parents are away at work (Fengbo et al., 2016). This also includes the nuclear families whose other members migrate to the towns for their reasons. The role of bringing up the children is conferred upon the grandparents or, in extreme circumstances, to friends who are not related to the children. While leaving children to grandparents and friends may help foster the importance of the extended family and the community at large (Fengbo, et al., 2016), there is empirical evidence that left-behind children suffer from a lack of family support that is often enjoyed by their non-left-behind peers (Zhao et al., 2014). Left-behind children lack normal parental love and opportunities to communicate with their parents personally.
The home environment, which encompasses the family structure and social class, influences the child’s ability to develop a belief in him or herself, including their attributes and who and what the self is (Song & Hattie, 1984). However, children need guidance from their parents or caregivers to develop this concept. A systematic review of the literature by Wang et al. (2015) found that left-behind children exhibited a much lower score of self-concept and higher levels of psychological challenges that their counterparts who were living with both parents. The factors that the researchers associated with self-concept in left-behind children include grade, age, gender and the relationships that these children had with their parents, guardians, and teachers. With a low level of self-concept, it is believed that left-behind children are susceptible to the development of mental and psychological challenges. It is highly related to the problem of dysfunctional families in the development of children (Neff & McGehee, 2010). Since the left-behind children cannot develop meaningful relationships with their parents, just like in dysfunctional families, they cannot effectively develop their self-concept.
LBC’s Psychological DevelopmentLeft-behind children are more susceptible to psychological challenges than their non-left-behind counterparts. LBC are likely to suffer mental distress due to separation from their parents (Graham & Jordan, 2011). While taking into consideration the confounding factors, the researchers found that left-behind children whose fathers away were more prone to mental and psychological distress than those whose mothers were away working (ibid). As young Chinese men migrate to towns and cities in search of better-paying jobs, their children pay the greatest price for their parents’ economic benefits. Parental guidance is required during childhood, and adolescence and left-behind children are unable to obtain this important support during their growth and, therefore, do not fully develop psychologically (Jingzhong, 2011). Man, Mengmeng, Lezhi, Ting and Jingping (2017) found that the mental development of left-behind children is negatively affected by factors that would be easily controlled by the presence of their parents. Social support, self-esteem, and family are caring directly influence the psychological development of children.
Due to the length of time, left-behind children are isolated from their parents; they tend to suffer an inferiority complex, interpersonal disorders, psychological aversion and deviation between personality and behavior. Psychological aversion refers to the emotional or psychological response to a stimulus that demonstrates that an organism, object or situation which needs to be avoided (Chang et al., 2011). It often goes together with the desire to withdraw from or totally avoid the aversive stimulus. The causes of psychological development include prolonged absence of parents’ education, unsuitable education by guardians, corrupt social education and insufficient school education (Shen & Shen, 2014). All of these can be avoided if the parents become more present in their children’s lives and education as children become attached to their parents.
Mitigation issues have been helpful to many people in the recent past. The mitigating factors that have the potential to influence the psychological outcomes of left-behind children positively include increased parental contact, the presence of one parent and shorter length of time since the parents migrated to town (Sun et al., 2015). In addition, school interventions may have impacts on the psychological development of left-behind children; however, rural schools are not spacious enough to facilitate such intervention programs. Due to ineffective psychological development of the left-behind children, they exhibit psychological challenges that range from total difficulties to specific expressions (Van Luot & Dat, 2017). Compared to non-left-behind children, left-behind children exhibit particular expressions including emotional symptoms, hyperactivity and inattention, peer relationship challenges and conduct issues. These may ultimately impact the academic self-efficacy of these children both temporarily and permanently, especially if not addressed.
LBC’s Social Aspects
There are costs such as the social makeup of the society due to the status of the children who have been left behind. According to Teo (2016), the reports are just the tip of the iceberg regarding the social aspects of left-behind children in China. For example, four siblings aged between five and 13 killed themselves by ingesting pesticide in 2015, and five other left-behind boys died of carbon monoxide poisoning after lighting a fire for warmth in winter. Chang et al. (2017) found that the prevalence of attempted suicide among left-behind children was much higher than among non-left-behind children in China’s rural areas (Chang et al., 2017). Several factors may exacerbate the prevalence of suicide attempts among this group including neglect, negative life events, parenting styles, physical abuse, and loneliness. However, Chang et al. (2017) state that the identification of these risk factors among left-behind children may play a substantial role in developing intervention programs.
It is a concern that there are cases of death that affects these students. These children are prone to other challenges as well including the risk of violence and abuse. Since most of these children are likely to drop out of school, there is a high probability that, without proper social support mechanisms, they may resort to a life of crime and violence to fend for themselves (Yeoh & Lam, 2007). Parental care plays an indisputable role in keeping children in school and preventing their participation in criminal activities. Since the left-behind children do not experience first-hand parental care, they are more prone and susceptible to criminal tendencies (Winterdyk, 2014). This leads to the cyclic problem of insecurity in the rural areas and a lack of role models, thus compounding the challenges faced by left-behind children.
There are very few institutions in rural Chinese society which are capable of providing effective assistance for juveniles’ and children’s development. This is due to the lack of adequate grass-root organizations that would be instrumental in the development of community children’s educational programs (Shen & Shen, 2014). Consequently, the social education of the left-behind children is in a vacuum in community education, causing the children to suffer social exclusion (Hu et al., 2016). Furthermore, some unhealthy social factors, such as peer influence, vulgar works, and modern media, have exploited the opportunity to affect the children’s social development. Due to the weak or total lack of family supervision on the children, these unhealthy social factors may influence the development of undesirable tendencies.
LBCs and Cognitive Aspects
The absence of the parents has a huge impact on the cognitive development of the children. Yeung and Gu (2016) found a significant relationship between parental absence and insufficient cognitive development among left-behind children in China. This study was conducted against the control of adolescents staying with their parents who demonstrated a high degree of cognitive development. In their study, Zhang et al. (2014) found that being left-behind by one parent had a much smaller impact on the child’s cognitive development. Drawing on data from a 2009 survey on fourth and fifth-grade pupils in Ningxia and Qinghai, researchers found that the negative effect of having a migrant parent on a child’s cognitive development is larger and more significant with a migrant mother than with a migrant father (Zhao et al., 2014).
Cognitive development is often measured in children in terms of their educational performance. Children with poor cognitive skills often perform poorly in academic math tests. In a study on left-behind children in Vietnam and India, Liu, Yu, and Zheng (2017) found a significant relationship between parental migration and ineffective development of cognitive ability in children. Parental involvement in their children’s lives is an important home input in the children’s human capital production. Therefore, the mere presence of parents at home provides the children with companionship and encouragement leading to the children becoming more productive in school. Ren and Trieman (2016) found that children with strong parental support at home often develop strong cognitive and non-cognitive skills as the parent’s supervisory and monitoring role in ensuring that their children finish their homework assignments and make up for missed classes is central to their children’s cognitive development. A study on Vietnamese children with migrant parents found that these left-behind children spend less time on study at home but more time on playing and leisure (Nguyen, 2016). This demonstrates the importance of parental presence in the children’s participation in activities that would develop their cognitive skills.
LBC and Physical AspectsIn addition to mental and psychological care, children need physical care from their parents. Therefore, children whose parents are not available to provide them with the physical care that they need are likely to develop physical challenges, some of which arise from an inferiority complex. Shen and Shen (2014) argue that as soon as the sense of inferiority sets in and takes shape in left-behind children, it will exist in the form of destructive emotional experience that will be exacerbated by the unchangeable nature of the objective environment and subjective cognition, thus becoming highly generalised and seriously impacting on the children’s physical health. Skin to skin contact and warmth has been shown to enhance weight gain in preterm babies, and touch has the ability to convey several complex emotions including empathy and gratitude (Field et al., 2010). Physical affection towards children is encouraged for the purposes of bonding and the promotion of development and well-being. For parents, the display of physical affection towards children is natural as children depend on their parents to fulfill their physical needs (Williams et al., 2012). The physical intimacy between parents and children often continues into adolescence with parents holding their children’s hands, cuddling, kissing and stroking their hair. This results in stronger family relationships, trust, confidence, and self-efficacy among children. However, left-behind children do not experience this important parent-child relationship as their parents are away at work and the children’s caregivers do not have the time or are physically withdrawn from the children due to a myriad of issues (Francis et al., 2014). As a result, the lack of physical intimacy augurs room for cognitive complications in these children.
Chinese left-behind children are vulnerable to sexual abuse. Some studies have revealed alarming statistics about sexual abuse among children in China. A descriptive study on sexual abuse among Chinese children revealed that 95.2% of sexual abuse victims are girls and the perpetrators of the heinous act are mostly acquaintances who care for the children when their parents migrate to the city for work (Jiao et al., 2015). While sexual abuse is often physical in nature, the consequences have far-reaching mental and psychological effects that cause cutting, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Holzer et al., 2008). Studies have shown that incidents of sexual and other physical abuse are even more prevalent in cases where the mother or both parents are away than when only the father is away (Senaratna, 2015). In addition, while the caregivers with whom the left-behind children stay are aware of the abuses faced by migrants’ children, the extent and consequences of the abuse are rarely reported due to institutional and societal factors. The children effectively grow up in constant fear and lack of trust which often affects their adult lives.
LBCs in other CountriesIn addition to China, other countries are grappling with the challenge of left-behind children. Countries such as India, Singapore, Albania, the Philippines and even America experience the challenge of left-behind children. In as much as the migration of Albanian parents from rural areas to towns has economic benefits for their children, the lack of parental care and presence in their children’s lives may have a negative impact on their development (Giannelli & Mangiavacchi, 2010). In the Philippines, left-behind Filipino children suffer the social costs of their parents’ migrations. In their research on Filipino mothers, Madianou and Miller (2011) argue that ‘parenting via the phone’ may have revolutionized the role of parents in their children’s lives, it may have long-term negative consequences on the psychological and social development of their children.
In their study of Northern Vietnamese caregivers and left-behind children, Hoang and Yeoh (2012) found that both the caregivers and the left-behind children did not approve of their parents leaving them. However, they had no choice but to do so. In America, despite the no child left behind the legislation, Finkel (2010) argues that many black parents still leave their children behind in search of better-paying jobs in the cities which increases the rate of delinquency in the black American population.
Research DeficienciesThere is still a lot of debate regarding whether parental migration negatively affects the lives of left-behind children. There are deficiencies as well. Most researchers approach their research from a problem viewpoint, and they focus on the negative effects of parents’ migration on the left-behind children (Xiao, 2014). Second, most Chinese researchers employed quantitative methods exemplified by the application of nonrandomized sampling strategies (Qin & Albin, 2010). In addition, the research lacks consistency and a valid measuring instrument which has cumulatively influenced the validity of these studies.
Another deficiency in the existing studies is the lack of special attention given to the specific cultural and social backgrounds that are prevalent in China. In addition, most of these researchers focus on the role of relocation on these children (Xiao, 2014). Most of the researchers reviewed in this paper regarding the left-behind children as the passive victims of their parents’ migration. They do not investigate the children’s possible involvement in their parents’ decision to migrate. In addition, research focusing on the consequences of parental migration on Chinese children’s education and other health outcomes is scarce and usually relies on a small sample of data collected in a limited geographic area (Shi, 2005; Han, 2003; Chen, 2007). This limits the level of intervention that can be instituted to correct the negative effects that these left-behind children have to deal with in the absence of their parents. These deficiencies present a research gap concerning the use of more valid research instruments and approaching the study from a positivist perspective.
Research DesignEpistemology and OntologyIn research, epistemology gives the basis of a founding knowledge that is used in the methods. Research, just like any other idea is a branch of knowledge that has to apply the various founding basis and other literature (Kuss, 2013). Epidemiology gives the justification or the belief in an idea. According to Wen, and Lin, epidemiology also analyses the knowledge basis and relates to the other notions like the truth behind the belief (Wen, and Lin, 2012). To access the impacts that the left behind phenomenon has on the studies and the belief of the children in China, there is a tracking method of the data that have been applied. This is also an exploratory study that adopts the method of sampling and a purposeful setting. There is also the use of the other past case studies that are applying to different issues. This research gets data from the primary and the secondary resource. The primary resource is mainly from the students that are affected that have been interviewed to give the first-hand information. This ensures that the researcher gets the information from the original source.
There have been various case studies in the past. The seriousness of this phenomenon has increased interest for various scholars to conduct their research in places such as Wuxi County, specifically in Chongqing. In the study, the author interviewed various important personnel in the educational sector such as the government officials and the Non-Governmental Organizations (Hartas, 2011). In this research, LBC were interviewed through the use of a questionnaire and the various observation techniques. The results were produced in the form of the reports that were written with various activities such as the level of happiness of these children. The cases also came up with the reports that supported this study.
Through the retrieval of the literature that has been published and is ranging from the years 2010 to the year 2017 that have been got from the Chinese National Knowledge Infrastructure as well as the Web of Science, various cases have been filtered. These cases used the level of depression from the LBC and the NLBC to show the differences in the way they were affected. The levels of depression showed a massive variance between the two sets of children. This study case showed that the LBC had a higher chance of being depressed than the NLBC.
There have also been issues that have been addressed by the government recently that have had a positive outcome on the ways the children respond to different situations. One of the most common challenges to the different children is the inability to concentrate (Qiao, Chen, and Yuan, 2008). As a result of less parental guidelines that are needed for the development of the child (He, and Ye, 2014). In this manner, the children lack the motivations that they can be used to steer themselves and to improve the performances that they need (Li, Garland, and Howard, 2014). Therefore, this research gives the comparison between the children that have been left behind and whether the phenomena have an impact on the performances and those that have not been left behind and whether the issue has their roles in performance. The studies are then analyzed through the analysis of the questionnaire so that the results can be arrived at. It is therefore up to them to get the better of the other students. In such situations, the students are better off without their parents. For the children that use the situation of being left behind as a motivation to work harder, they are those that are coming from the poor homesteads. They also understand that their parents have to move to towns. In this situation, the moving of the parents is always seen as the positive one. They take it as an opportunity to perform better as they have limited time for study. When the parents were at home, there were cases of them getting to be bothered by the other chores at home, and they rarely get the time that they could use to study.
On the opposite side, the students that are not left behind by their parents have the motivation and encouragement from their parents on a daily basis. This way, they can see the benefits of working hard as they get the better methods of learning from the parents. In many cases, these parents allow their children to follow their dreams, and they support them. However, there are cases where the children have to help their parents at home. This time could have been used for the studies in case their parents were away.
Ontology refers to the study of the reality of the existing beings. It also includes the basic categories of the relationship and human understanding. In the traditional sense, ontology is one of the important branches in philosophy called the metaphysics. Therefore, it often deals with the question of entities that are in existing. In this research, the central question that will be answered is whether there are emotional consequences of not staying with the parents. This will be the basis of this ontology. The topic of child self-efficacy is one of the issues that cannot be explained as expected. Several issues can be addressed with this same topic. For example, the questions that are asked of the children of the changes that they have had since their parents left for the towns give the direct knowledge on this topic. This helps the author to solve the gap of knowledge of the differences in self-efficacy. There have been numerous cases where a student drops in the level of performance because he had been left behind. In most cases, the students are made to understand that their parents are moving to get them the right education and the best life after they shall have left school. However, there are those that have to drop in their performances. The processes can also be the beginning of the other factors such as depression. In many cases, the students can use this situation as an advantage for them so that they can even work harder. In such cases, the students get the motivation that their parents are going to get the better life for them.
Research questionsResearch questions of this thesis include the following:
What is the state of the academic self-efficacy of junior two students in China’s Luzhen Junior School?
Are the children who have been left by their parents showing the lower efficacy in the academics than those that live with their parents?
Do parenting styles influence the difference?
SettingThe setting of this study is in a school that has both sets of students. Their level of self-efficacy is compared to see if there are the differences that are made because of this phenomenon. At the same time, various schools have different experiences with the students. Because of this, it is crucial to choose the school that has numerous cases of admitting the students that have been left behind. For example, how well do the teachers know about the students who have been left behind by the parents (Li, Garland, and Howard, 2014). This way, there will be the better results from this setting. It is due to this reason that Luzhen Junior School was chosen for the study. Luzhen Junior School is located in Chinese Anhui province. This research was set up at the Luzhen School also because there are more natural ways of accessing the students and the teachers. The fact that the issue is a concern to the teachers as well made them admit that they would help in the data collection. Luzhen County is one of the state’s impoverished county. Most families are leaving the county and migrating to urban areas in search of work. Thus, LBC is entirely a prevalent phenomenon in Luzon’s residential families. Limited by time and workforce, this study will randomly select one class to ensure to explore the research questions more fully. There were answers from the interviews as well.
ParticipantsBecause of the limit in time, there were only students from on a class that was interviewed so that they could show the differences that exist between being left behind and those that are not left behind. The participants were also selected based on the ways that they have been performing. The study surveyed 40 students form one class at the school. The possibility of including many classes may not have given the right results as there are likely to be the variations. Some other factors have to be considered while looking for the participants. The different classes may have had differences that would not show the full outcome that is needed. Apart from this, some students were interviewed and the teachers that were interviewed. The study also questioned the class tutor to get more depth about students’ academic performance and learning belief. This was to give the better variations that have been observed for some time in the classrooms.
InstrumentsResearch instruments refer to the devices that the researcher uses in measuring the variables that they are looking for. The issues to be measured are the level of academic self-efficacy of the students and their parents’ parenting styles. The main devices that are used are the surveys and the questionnaires that can be quickly filled by the students or the teacher.
QuestionnaireFor this project, two questionnaires: the academic self-efficacy scale and the EMBU scale
Academic self-efficacy refers to one’s subjective judgment of successful learning, which includes learning ability self-efficacy and learning behavior self-efficacy. Based on Bandura’ “field particularity” and “field integrity,” all the questions in academic self-efficacy questionnaire are about behaviors and activities in a learning situation. For measuring self-efficacy, and according to its particularity, Bandura used to write a Guide for constructing self-efficacy for the detailed discussion and illustration. Based on this, this thesis adopts the academic self-efficacy scale adapted by Zongkui. The questionnaire contains 22 items, including 11 learning ability self-efficacy items and 11 learning behavior self-efficacy items. This scale adopts five interval scale; the description is from completely disagree (1 point) to “completely agree” (5 points). The total score is calculated by scoring each item, and a higher score represents a more positive academic self-efficacy. In this study, the clone Bach alpha coefficient of the scale is 0.89.

For measuring parenting styles, this thesis adopts the EMBU scale. This scale was compiled by C. Perris et al. from Umea University in Sweden jointly and was revised by Dongmei and Mingguo et al. they did an evaluation of the attitude and behavior of parental parenting styles. The scale consists of 11 subscales and 66 items. Among them, there are six main factors for the father’s parenting methods, such as “emotional warmth and understanding,” “stern punishment,” “excessive interference,” “preference,” “refusal denial,” and “excessive protection.” There are five main factors for the mother’s parenting methods, such as “emotional warmth and understanding,” “excessive interference and protection,” “refusal denial,” “stern punishment,” “preference.” Each description has four levels: never, occasionally, often, and always. Four scoring methods are adopted, which is specifically “never” for 1 point, “occasionally” for 2 points, “often” for 3 points, “always” for 4 points. In this study, the clone Bach alpha coefficient of the scale is 0.85, and the clone Bach alpha coefficient of the parental subscales are 0.81 and 0.83 respectively.
InterviewOn the basis of a questionnaire, 4 students and one class tutor were interviewed to make a further study of junior students’ learning ability and learning behavior information. The interviews were based on the questions that were open. The students had the option of getting the best results without having to choose the options. This also gives them the freedom of expressing their feelings. The other reason for having the questions that are open is due to the ease of administration, the questions that are open are easy to ask as they are one time. Most of the students are also expected to report back to their classes. The open-ended questions are faster and are quick to administer. The other issue is that most of these questions are objective. The questions are not supposed to be intimidating in any way, this way they are easy to be answered by the students. The other issue is that the students are young and the questions do not have to show how lonely they are. Most of these students do not like being left behind by their parents (Sun, 2013). Therefore, the questions have to be formed in a way that the students are not affected by psychologically (Yang, Li, Zhou, Jiang, Chu, Medina, and Rozelle, 2016). The first question is about the interest that they have on the study and how their experiences have been affected by the fact their parents have left. They are asked about the subject they enjoy the most as well. For this reason, the students have to be asked whether their parents are following their studies and the last time that their parents showed the interests in the studies (Dan, 2009). Additionally, the students are asked whether they have the learning methods that they prefer. This question gets the whole idea behind the methods that students use to study. In many cases, the parents help the students to device a study timetable. The timetable is also used as a guideline (Guo, 2012). It makes the student have positive mental strength. It also gives them a better self-efficacy as they have the belief of performing. If the tools or the study methods are not used, then it means that there are the other methods that use.
Moreover, it may mean that the student lacks the guidelines that are needed to form the positive self-efficacy (Guo, Liu, Wang, Huang, Lei, Zhang, and Wang, 2015). Apart from these, the students are asked about the type of problems that they are facing with their studies (Luo, Wang, Lei, Guo, Huang, and Liu, 2016). If they are able to solve these problems, it means that the students are not suffering from the negative self-efficacy (Chen, and Chan, 2016). This way, the student is able to deal with being left by the agents. On the contrary, the inability to solve the problem shows that the student is affected by the fact that he or she have been left by the parents (Wu, Chen, Yang, Ding, Yang, and Sun, 2015). These are crucial issues when trying to analyze the self-efficacy. For the students that are not left behind, they are also going to answer the same questions. Then the impact that the monitoring by the parents has on the performances. Additionally, it is crucial to realize the impacts that the teachers have on the performances (Liao, Liu, and Zhang, 2014). The other questions are attached in the appendix below and the answers that have been provided.
Research proceduresThere was a precise procedure that was used in conducting this study. On the 22nd of June, the consent forms were distributed to their parents. After approval, the questionnaire was distributed to 40 junior two students of Luzhen junior school. The questionnaire was filled out secretly. The participants must not expose their identity. This is because they had to remain anonymous. Apart from this, they had to be protected so that no one can get to know their identities. The students had to fill out the questions without consulting anyone and without being coerced in any way. The approval was supposed to make it more credible and in a way that it does not have to violate any of the rules from the parents. The parents had to give the consent before their children were given the forms. On the other and, the children that were not having their parents were used differently. Their guidance had to give their consent, and they had to accept whether the interview can be conducted or not. The people that were assigned the investigations all took different riles.
The author did the investigation procedure. First, the author gave the student’s participant’s information sheet and made a simple introduction to academic self-efficacy to make sure the participants have a certain understanding of it. Finally, the questionnaires were collected immediately after they finished. Apart from this, there was all making progress that was based on their understanding. The questionnaire forms also had all the other instructions that are needed to fill out the questionnaire. A well-designed questionnaire has to address all the elements that are used by the person filling it. The forms are to be easier so that there is little need for any kind of guidance. Filling questionnaires when there is too much guidance can result in biased results as those that are filling are likely to mess up with the right results. Also, through too many explanations, the interviewer may end up asking leading questions that will make the respondent change his or her opinion. Hence, a questionnaire has to be easier to understand so that the people filling them are doing so with ease. The questions in this study were comfortable for the students that are in the junior schools, and they did not complain of anything that could not be understood.
After the questionnaire investigation, SPSS 19.0 was used to process the data collected.
Every academic, research has to follow the academic standards that have been designed in a scholarly manner. These codes are known as the ethics (Wen, 2016). Being that this is a research that is done with the minors, it is crucial that there are ethical standards that are met. The research had to be done in a friendly tone and observe all the considerations in the child. Therefore, while researching the minor or the school children, it is crucial that all the considerations have been taken. A research that lacks the ethical codes also lacks the credibility and therefore should not be part of the well-informed policies (Weili, and Xu, 2016). Hence, this research follows the well-laid structures that are academically based and are valued as well. They are as follows:
AnonymityIt is crucial that all of their information is undisclosed and are not shared by anyone else. Therefore, the code of anonymity has to be maintained by making sure that the names of the students are not mentioned (Shi, Chen, Yin, Zhao, Zhao, and Yao, 2016). Additionally, those that have helped in gathering this information have to remain anonymous. They have to be kept from the public. In this study, all questionnaires and interviews are anonymous. No other use will be made of them without the written permission, and no one outside the project will be allowed access to the original recordings.
Time managementThis is an important code of ethics in research. Those that cannot keep time cannot complete their tasks on time. In the same way, the students that are giving this information have to be in class for their tutors. It is crucial that the time that has been set by the researcher is maintained. A researcher that does not maintain the time does not have the credibility of holding the credible research. Apart from this, the time allocated for conducting the research has to be maintained. In addition to this, the student has to get the adequate time that is enoi8gh for answering all the questions. There are many instances that the students cannot make through the time that is allocated. In this sense, the students have to be given the time limit so that they can make up for the time for the interviews. There are also the teachers that have to provide information for this dissertation. Time is therefore crucial.
CredibilityCredibility has to be part of academic research. All the fact that is used has to be proven if needed. A credible work also follows all the demands of the academic research. This includes the better citations and giving credit to the other authors. If this is well followed, then the work is deemed credible and have followed the ethical considerations. This work has followed the necessary credibility demands in accordance to the academic demands. A credible work can also be used as a source of reference in the future work. This is because it is well cited and includes figures that can be proven. Additionally, a credible work gives a school the authority and respect in the academic landscape as well as the participants. The participants in the research also get the credits for a work that can be proven. It is because of these reasons that this work had to be credible and one that can be used in the future while conducting this kind of research.
Informed consentResearch that is involved in interviewing the people to get the first-hand data have to come from the people who have rights. Their rights must not be violated. There should be no force to give information. In the Chinese education system, the junior two students aged between 14 to 16 years. This age limit falls within the underage bracket, which means that the learners cannot give valid consents. For the students that are giving this crucial information, they have to have the informed consents. This is achieved by telling them about the research and the roles that they will be playing in the research. This way, they will be making the decisions that are well thought of and the decisions that they agree with.
ConfidentialityThe works that are contained in this research have no confidential. There are times that the people who are filling the interviews accidentally fill their names. This private information must remain only with the researcher and the others who are academically concerned. The information has to remain confidential as possible. This dissertation also contains information that he gives would not like to share. Therefore, they have to be kept private in many ways. It will only be shared with the schools and the lecturers that are concerned. Any other person will not access the information. Confidentiality also applies to the other information that is not supposed to be shared. In research, there is some information that the responder would like to keep private even if they are willing to allow them to contribute to the study. In this case, the information can be published but not shared unnecessarily.
Results analysisProportion of valid questionnaireAs mentioned in methodology and methods, there is 40 junior two students take part in the questionnaire. The author sends out 40 questionnaires in total. They were all returned. But among these returned questionnaires, one questionnaire was invalid. And in the later data analysis, these two invalid questionnaires were excluded. Thus, a valid questionnaire in this study is 39. And the proportion of valid questionnaires is as follow:
Analysis of the questionnaire1. Analysis of demographic variables
Attributes Left-behind children(N=21) non-left-behind children(N=18)
N Percentage N Percentage
Gender Boys 7 33.3 7 38.9
Girls 14 66.7 11 61.1
Only-child or not Yes 7 33.3 5 27.8
No 14 66.7 13 72.2
Father‘s educational level Primary school and below 11 52.4 4 22.2
Junior middle school 10 47.6 14 77.8
Mother’s educational level Primary school and below 11 52.4 12 66.7
Junior middle school 10 47.6 6 33.3
2. Current situation analysis of children‘s academic self-efficacy
Independent Samples Test about academic self-efficacy on the left-behind state
Left-behind children or not N Mean Std. Deviation t p
Learning ability self-efficacy Yes 21 3.14 .73 -2.754 .010*
No 18 3.66 .42 Learning behaviour self-efficacy Yes 21 2.91 .66 -3.133 .003**
No 18 3.48 .47 Academic self-efficacy Yes 21 3.02 .65 -3.273 .003**
No 18 3.57 .37 Note:*p<0.05, **p<0.01
3. Differential analysis of demographic variable on academic self-efficacy of left-behind children
3.1 Analysis of Sex differences in academic self-efficacy of left-behind children
Independent Samples Test about academic self-efficacy of left-behind children on gender
Gender N Mean Std. Deviation t p
Learning ability self-efficacy Boys 7 2.83 .55 -1.395 .179
Girls 14 3.29 .78 Learning behaviour self-efficacy Boys 7 2.49 .58 -2.232 .038*
Girls 14 3.12 .61 Academic self-efficacy Boys 7 2.66 .52 -1.914 .071
Girls 14 3.20 .65 Note:*p<0.05
3.2 Differential analysis of only-child on academic self-efficacy of left-behind children
Independent Samples Test about academic self-efficacy of left-behind children on only-child
Only-child or not N Mean Std. Deviation t p
Learning ability self-efficacy Yes 7 3.01 .89 -.547 .591
No 14 3.20 .67 Learning behaviour self-efficacy Yes 7 2.66 .59 -1.226 .235
No 14 3.03 .68 Academic self-efficacy Yes 7 2.84 .68 -.922 .368
No 14 3.12 .64 3.3 Differential analysis of father’s educational level of academic self-efficacy of left-behind children
Independent Samples Test about academic self-efficacy of left-behind children on Father’s educational level
Father‘s educational level N Mean Std. Deviation t p
Learning ability self-efficacy Primary school and below 11 2.79 .64 -2.569 .019*
Junior middle school 10 3.52 .66 Learning behaviour self-efficacy Primary school and below 11 2.76 .66 -1.087 .291
Junior middle school 10 3.07 .66 Academic self-efficacy Primary school and below 11 2.78 .60 -1.944 .067
Junior middle school 10 3.30 .62 Note:*p<0.05
3.4 Differential analysis of mother‘s educational level of academic self-efficacy of left-behind children
Independent Samples Test about Academic self-efficacy of left-behind children on mother‘s educational level
Mother‘s educational level N Mean Std. Deviation t p
Learning ability self-efficacy Primary school and below 11 2.83 .54 -2.253 .036*
Junior middle school 10 3.48 .78 Learning behaviour self-efficacy Primary school and below 11 2.89 .59 -.117 .908
Junior middle school 10 2.93 .76 Academic self-efficacy Primary school and below 11 2.86 .53 -1.207 .245
Junior middle school 10 3.20 .75 Note:*p<0.05
4. Differential analysis of demographic variable on academic self-efficacy of non-left-behind children
4.1 Analysis of Sex differences in academic self-efficacy of non-left-behind children
Independent Samples Test about academic self-efficacy of non-left-behind children on Gender
Gender N Mean Std. Deviation t p
Learning ability self-efficacy Boys 7 3.78 .54 .979 .342
Girls 11 3.58 .34 Learning behaviour self-efficacy Boys 7 3.60 .59 .834 .416
Girls 11 3.40 .40 Academic self-efficacy Boys 7 3.69 .45 1.119 .280
Girls 11 3.49 .30 4.2 Differential analysis of only-child on academic self-efficacy of non-left-behind children
Independent Samples Test about academic self-efficacy of non-left-behind children on only-child
Only-child or not N Mean Std. Deviation t p
Learning ability self-efficacy Yes 5 3.89 .57 1.509 .151
No 13 3.57 .34 Learning behaviour self-efficacy Yes 5 3.55 .71 .356 .727
No 13 3.45 .38 Academic self-efficacy Yes 5 3.72 .53 1.084 .295
No 13 3.51 .29 4.3 Differential analysis of father‘s educational level of academic self-efficacy of non-left-behind children
Independent Samples Test about academic self-efficacy of non-left-behind children on father‘s educational level
Father‘s educational level N Mean Std. Deviation t p
Learning ability self-efficacy Primary school and below 4 3.39 .24 -1.499 .153
Junior middle school 14 3.73 .44 Learning behaviour self-efficacy Primary school and below 4 3.43 .23 -.224 .826
Junior middle school 14 3.49 .53 Academic self-efficacy Primary school and below 4 3.41 .12 -.985 .339
Junior middle school 14 3.61 .40 4.4 Differential analysis of mother‘s educational level of academic self-efficacy of non-left-behind children
Independent Samples Test about academic self-efficacy of non-left-behind children on mother‘s educational level
Mother‘s educational level N Mean Std. Deviation t p
Learning ability self-efficacy Primary school and below 12 3.59 .45 -.926 .368
Junior middle school 6 3.79 .38 Learning behaviour self-efficacy Primary school and below 12 3.40 .30 -.766 .473
Junior middle school 6 3.64 .72 Academic self-efficacy Primary school and below 12 3.50 .31 -1.194 .250
Junior middle school 6 3.71 .46 5. Analysis of the current situation of parenting styles
5.1 Comparative analysis of parenting styles between left-behind children and non-left-behind children
Independent Samples Test about parenting styles on left-behind state
Left-behind children or not N Mean Std. Deviation t p
Father‘s emotional warmth and understanding Yes 21 2.42 .59 -3.447 .001**
No 18 3.01 .47 Father’s stern punishment Yes 21 1.58 .53 -1.428 .162
No 18 1.84 .57 Father’s excessive interference Yes 21 2.07 .46 -1.370 .179
No 18 2.27 .46 Father‘s preference Yes 15 1.83 .55 -.432 .669
No 14 1.91 .54 Father’s refusal denial Yes 21 1.70 .46 -.249 .805
No 18 1.74 .60 Father’s excessive protection Yes 21 2.28 .53 -1.408 .168
No 18 2.56 .70 Mother’s emotional warmth and understanding Yes 18 2.51 .55 -1.973 .057
No 18 2.89 .59 Mother’s excessive interference,excessive protection Yes 18 2.33 .36 -1.646 .109
No 18 2.55 .43 Mother’s refusal denial Yes 18 1.72 .41 -2.094 .044*
No 18 2.10 .66 Mother’s stern punishment Yes 18 1.52 .39 -1.826 .077
No 18 1.83 .59 Mother’s preference Yes 15 1.93 .52 -.120 .905
No 14 1.96 .54 Note:*p<0.05,**p<0.01
5.2Analysis of Sex differences in parenting styles of left-behind children
Independent Samples Test about parenting styles on the gender of left-behind children
Gender N Mean Std. Deviation t p
Father‘s emotional warmth and understanding Boys 7 2.09 .72 -1.897 .073
Girls 14 2.58 .46 Father’s stern punishment Boys 7 1.91 .75 2.157 .044*
Girls 14 1.42 .30 Father’s excessive interference Boys 7 2.40 .55 2.199 .060
Girls 14 1.91 .30 Father‘s preference Boys 4 1.95 .91 .355 .743
Girls 11 1.78 .41 Father’s refusal denial Boys 7 2.02 .49 2.569 .019*
Girls 14 1.54 .37 Father’s excessive protection Boys 7 2.60 .59 2.110 .048*
Girls 14 2.12 .43 Mother’s emotional warmth and understanding Boys 5 2.50 .69 -.043 .966
Girls 13 2.51 .53 Mother’s excessive interference,excessive protection Boys 5 2.78 .26 5.004 .000***
Girls 13 2.16 .22 Mother’s refusal denial Boys 5 1.75 .42 .173 .865
Girls 13 1.71 .42 Mother’s stern punishment Boys 5 1.64 .14 .803 .434
Girls 13 1.48 .45 Mother’s preference Boys 4 2.50 .42 3.323 .005**
Girls 11 1.73 .39 5.3 Analysis of Sex differences in parenting styles of non-left-behind children
Independent Samples Test about parenting styles on the gender of non-left-behind children
Gender N Mean Std. Deviation t p
Father‘s emotional warmth and understanding Boys 7 3.10 .36 .583 .568
Girls 11 2.96 .54 Father’s stern punishment Boys 7 2.03 .61 1.135 .273
Girls 11 1.72 .54 Father’s excessive interference Boys 7 2.59 .42 2.722 .015*
Girls 11 2.07 .37 Father‘s preference Boys 4 1.85 .41 -.273 .789
Girls 10 1.94 .60 Father’s refusal denial Boys 7 2.00 .78 -.322 .755
Girls 11 1.58 .40 Father’s excessive protection Boys 7 3.05 .65 2.811 .013*
Girls 11 2.24 .55 Mother’s emotional warmth and understanding Boys 7 2.90 .67 .106 .917
Girls 11 2.87 .57 Mother’s excessive interference,excessive protection Boys 7 2.72 .45 1.412 .177
Girls 11 2.44 .40 Mother’s refusal denial Boys 7 2.43 .66 1.776 .095
Girls 11 1.90 .59 Mother’s stern punishment Boys 7 1.87 .61 .258 .800
Girls 11 1.80 .60 Mother’s preference Boys 4 2.05 .44 .390 .703
Girls 10 1.92 .60 6. The study of the relationship between parenting styles and academic self-efficacy
6.1 The study of the relationship between parenting styles of left-behind children and their academic self-efficacy
6.1.1 Correlation analysis between parenting styles of left-behind children and their academic self-efficacy
Correlations between parenting styles of left-behind children and their academic self-efficacy
Learning ability self-efficacy Learning behavior self-efficacy Academic self-efficacy
Father‘s emotional warmth and understanding Pearson Correlation .680** .560** .665**
p .001 .008 .001
Father’s stern punishment Pearson Correlation -.331 -.573** -.476*
p .142 .007 .029
Father’s excessive interference Pearson Correlation -.068 -.278 -.179
p .769 .222 .437
Father‘s preference Pearson Correlation .353 .119 .249
p .197 .672 .371
Father’s refusal denial Pearson Correlation -.440* -.390 -.445*
p .046 .080 .043
Father’s excessive protection Pearson Correlation .058 -.070 -.003
p .802 .765 .991
Mother’s emotional warmth and understanding Pearson Correlation .581* .298 .484*
p .012 .230 .042
Mother’s excessive interference,excessive protection Pearson Correlation -.291 -.504* -.423
p .242 .033 .080
Mother’s refusal denial Pearson Correlation -.545* -.104 -.365
p .019 .681 .136
Mother’s stern punishment Pearson Correlation -.418 -.324 -.405
p .084 .190 .096
Mother’s preference Pearson Correlation -.459 -.538* -.525*
p .085 .038 .044
Note*. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed) ;
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)
6.1.2 Regression analysis between parenting styles of left-behind children and their academic self-efficacy
Regression analysis between parenting styles of left-behind children and their academic self-efficacy
Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients t p R2 F
B Std. Error Beta Constant 1.457 .489 2.981 .011* .490 12.495**
Father’s emotional warmth and understanding .696 .197 .700 3.535 .004** Note: *p<0.05,**p<0.01
6.2 The study of the relationship between parenting styles of non-left-behind children and their academic self-efficacy
6.2.1 Correlation analysis between parenting styles of left-behind children and their academic self-efficacy
Correlations between parenting styles of non-left-behind children and their academic self-efficacy
Learning ability self-efficacy Learning behavior self-efficacy Academic self-efficacy
Father‘s emotional warmth and understanding Pearson Correlation .469* .466 .572*
Sig. (2-tailed) .050 .051 .013
Father’s stern punishment Pearson Correlation .093 -.022 .040
Sig. (2-tailed) .712 .932 .875
Father’s excessive interference Pearson Correlation .141 .429 .359
Sig. (2-tailed) .577 .076 .144
Father‘s preference Pearson Correlation .484 -.104 .164
Sig. (2-tailed) .079 .724 .575
Father’s refusal denial Pearson Correlation -.144 .009 -.077
Sig. (2-tailed) .570 .972 .760
Father’s excessive protection Pearson Correlation .310 .664** .608**
Sig. (2-tailed) .210 .003 .007
Mother’s emotional warmth and understanding Pearson Correlation .352 .655** .627**
Sig. (2-tailed) .152 .003 .005
Mother’s excessive interference,excessive protection Pearson Correlation .309 .616** .577*
Sig. (2-tailed) .211 .007 .012
Mother’s refusal denial Pearson Correlation .028 -.134 -.070
Sig. (2-tailed) .912 .596 .782
Mother’s stern punishment Pearson Correlation -.246 -.260 -.310
Sig. (2-tailed) .325 .297 .210
Mother’s preference Pearson Correlation .575* .276 .462
Sig. (2-tailed) .032 .339 .096
Note*. Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed) ;
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)
6.2.2 Regression analysis between parenting styles of non-left-behind children and their academic self-efficacy
Regression analysis between parenting styles of non-left-behind children and their academic self-efficacy
Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients t p R2 F
B Std. Error Beta Constant 2.110 .335 6.303 .000*** .575 10.134**
Mother’s emotional warmth and understanding .297 .111 .479 2.687 .017* Father’s excessive protection .235 .093 .451 2.533 .023* Note:*p<0.05,**p<0.01
This analysis of questionnaire shows different results in terms of students’ academic self-efficacy in relation to being left behind or not. Figure 2 shows the current situation analysis of children’s academic self-efficacy. It is obvious that academic self-efficacy of non-left-behind children is significantly higher than that of left-behind children.
Independent Sample T-Test shows that the two genders give different results in the analysis. The rate of leaving behind the girl child is higher than the rate at which the boy child is left. The boys are left at thirty-three percent while the girls are left at sixty-six percent. The education level of the parents also showed the variations. In the figure, the father’s education level has a higher influence on whether they leave their children behind or not. Then mothers also have the same effect but not to the higher degree as the father.
These figure show the differences that learning ability self-efficacy can have when the parents have left the child at home. The Learning behaviour self-efficacy, as well as the academic self-efficacy, are affected differently by the leaving of the parents. Learning behaviour self-efficacy changes differently depending on whether the children live with their birth parents or not. The variations in the three figures are true reflections in the performances from the children and from the nature of their parents.
Analysis of the interviewAfter the completion of this investigation, the researchers decided to involve four more participants in the investigation. The participants included the two children whose parents are leaving behind to work away and the other to that had their parents with them. Also, there was the involvement, not of the tutor of the four children who were well aware of them so that here was the better understanding of the behavior of the children apart from just the academic performances. The behaviour is an important aspect of the research as most of the self-efficacy characteristics are displayed through the behaviors. In this sense, the learning ability of the students is also determined by their attitudes and the desires that they have. These are characteristics that are observable, and the teachers can easily notice the changes if they start to appear. In the interview, the first student was female that had parents living in the city and was living with the grandparents at home. The following was the conversation:
1. “Are you interested in your study? Which subject do you like the most?”
Yes, I like to learn Chinese, English, and history because I think they are so interesting.
2. “Do you think your parents value your grades? How?”
Yes, my parents supervise my homework by video call every night.
3. “Do you have good and effective learning method?”
I think a good learning method is very important. But I don’t think I have a good way to improve my study.
4. “What kind of problems and difficulties do you usually have in your study? How do you deal with them?”
I think the math is so difficult for me and I cannot understand what the math teacher said during the class. I usually ask my classmates for help.
5. “When you have some troubles in your study, do you often communicate with your parents?”
– Not really, my parents don’t understand what I study and cannot give help.
6. “What factors do you think will influence your academic self-efficacy?”
– I think the learning environment has a great influence on my learning self-efficacy. Sometimes, how hard I study also influence it. I think if I study hard, I can achieve the study goal I set.
Throughout the interviews with this first student, the very first impression was that she was so confident that she did not mind having her parent near her. This student represents those students that are not affected by the phenomenon of being left behind. Her self-efficacy does not change whether her parent is there or not. One of the most interesting facts about the students is the fact that the students are never administered by their parents. The parents do not monitor the progress of their children as the girl says that he parents do not look at their progress and is not aware of the things that she does. Therefore, her performances are all hers and do not concern the parents. Apart from this, there is the point about having the ability to solve her own problems. This is an attitude that most of the children that have been left by their parents do not have. She is sure that she has the capability of solving her problems and does not need the help of her parents. This is a student whose self-efficacy is not affected by the fact that she has been left behind. However, her main problem is the issue of dealing with some of her problems. She resorts to asking her classmates in case there is a problem. This also shows the level of confidence in some students. These cases are rare with most of the other students. There are those that are concerned about not knowing that having the ability to solve the problem. Hence, from this interview, the level of self-efficacy is not affected by any of her conditions except for the fact that she cannot find her parents to consult. In a way, the consultation is an issue as she cannot compete with the other students that have their parents to consult.
The second student was female that had parents living in another city and was living with the grandmother aged 75 and younger sister aged 6 at home. The following was the conversation:
1. “Are you interested in your study? Which subject do you like the most?”
– Not, really, I am only interested in some subjects, such as history, because I love stories. But some subjects I think they are so boring, such as math. I do not like it.
2. “Do you think your parents value your grades? How?”
– Yes, every week, when they contact me by phone, they always ask how my grades are.
3. “Do you have good and effective learning method?”
– No, I don’t have a special way of learning. I feel keen that my ability falls short of my wishes. I usually doubt my learning ability.
4. “What kind of problems and difficulties do you usually have in your study? How do you deal with them?”
– I hate studying math. I cannot remember the formula and never able to understand what it means. I usually ask for help from others, like teachers and classmates. But it is useful.
5. “When you have some troubles in your study, do you often communicate with your parents?”
– Sometimes, although my parents cannot give direct help in my study, they can give moral support and encourage me a lot. But they are so busy, so I usually talk to my close friends.
6. – “What factors do you think will influence your academic self-efficacy?”
I think encouragement comes from my parents and teachers is very helpful for my learning. It makes me feel full of confidence.
From this interview, it was obvious that this student felt when they were left with their parents. This child is quite short of self-efficacy, and she does not believe in herself. Her main con concern is that she cannot solve her math problems. She cannot master most of the math formulas which the student cannot survive without. This is a clear example of the lack of trust in herself. She says that even though there are many times that the teachers are helping her, she still has no clue of the best methods she can use to pass her studies. It is quite interesting to note that her parents are always watching her progress. They also give her the encouragement through the time so that she can continue her learning. However, the student is concerned about the progress of her math and wishes that she could get you guidance from her father. The impact that a father has on the learner is huge. Most of the times, the mothers offer the advice that the student needs. These initiatives are important to the student as they cannot feel the same way if they are advised by the teachers (Otake, Liu, and Luo, 2017). In many cases, the student has the teacher as the enemy as they are cruel to them. Also, there are students that fear their teachers than others. These kinds of students can only work with what they have. They are better off getting the advice from their parents. It is also easy to realize that this student has lost hope of trying to solve her math issues (Chong-xie, 2012). The math problem is one of the main concerns for most of the female students. These students are often looking for the best means for improving their math skills. However, those who are not able to successfully accomplish their math mission is most likely involved in the other subjects. This student prefers to learn history and Chinese instead of math, as a subject that needs more of a consultation, it is a disappointment that he students cannit get to ask the questions as she could have expected (JI, XU, ZHANG, and LIU, 2017). This issues must be addressed by the parents. In the case of problem-solving, this student does not always have the plans that are set to help her solve her problems. One of the reasons is because she does not have her parents around her and that no one can understand the way she operates. In this case, it is difficult to assess whether her self-belief has dropped or not. But it is clear that the student is having problems that her parent could have helped her solve. One of the ways that this could be done is through the parents organizing for the trips where they visit the school to offer the encouragement so that they can have the belief again. The teachers can help the students to initiate conversations about the disbelief that she has. Even though it is necessary for the parents to be away, the students that have been left behind also need the necessary support for them to survive and to make the better use of the learning facilities.
The third student was male that was living with parents and grandfather. The following was the conversation:
1. “Are you interested in your study? Which subject do you like the most?”
– Yes, I am very interested in the study, especially the biology. I have good grades in biology.
2. “Do you think your parents value your grades? How?”
Yes, I need to spend another one to two hours each day to attend after-school tutoring under my parental supervision. Sometimes, I am upset because of my parents. I think they take care too much about me and to overvalue my grades.
3. “Do you have good and effective learning method?”
I like learning, and I think I have my own effective ways of learning.
4. “What kind of problems and difficulties do you usually have in your study? How do you deal with them?”
– I have some problems with English learning. I find I have some troubles in understanding English. When I don’t know what the English teacher is saying, I am always absent-minded during the English class. Most of the time, I would like to refer to relevant books and materials and solve the problems by myself when faced with difficulties. If I cannot do it myself, I will ask to help from the others, such as teachers and classmates.
5. “When you have some troubles in your study, do you often communicate with your parents?”
– Yes, I often communicate with my parents what I learned and what I don’t understand every day. They offer great help to me. We usually sit together and place all my study confused on the table and discuss it and resolve it together.
6. “What factors do you think will influence your academic self-efficacy?”
– I think success or failure experience might influence it. I am concerned about the score I get for each exam, and whether I reach the goal, I set for myself.
The interview shows some of the most common challenges that are faced by the students that have been left on their own. This student says that the parents are always concerned about the performances and that they often look for the best ways in which the student can improve. The student is even concerned that the parents sometimes care so much. Through the use of the new technologies, there are parents that can monitor the progress of their students. Such parents are always role models to the others that are not concerned about the students that they have left behind. the male students have their problems with the language policies and language barrier. Being Chinese children, the English rules and consonants are quite unique and are not part of the Chinese learning (Guan, Tao, Fan, and Zhao, 2014). This makes it quite difficult for them to comprehend the English essays and, lessons. It is due to this reason why they need the guidance where necessary (HOU, LI, and LI, 2009). This types of language guidance can be better received if it is from the parents. However, in their situation, the parents are not part of the conversation (Xihua, Min, and Lin, 2010). This student also states that even if the parents are offering the guidance in the other subjects, the language difficulties have insisted and they have been showing for quite a long time (Song, Chen, and Zhang, 2018).
The forth student was female that was living with parents and older sister. The following was the conversation:
1. “Are you interested in your study? Which subject do you like the most?”
To be honest, I study hard just so that I can be able to go to the ideal high school and I have no other choice.
2. “Do you think your parents value your grades? How?”
Yes, my parents always ask what I learned every day and concern about my grades after the examination.
3. “Do you have good and effective learning method?”
– For some subjects, like Chinese and English, I have my own ways of learning. I think they are very useful, which improve my Chinese and English learning a lot. But for math, I struggle with it every day.
4. “What kind of problems and difficulties do you usually have in your study? How do you deal with them?”
I don’t like math. It’s so hard to understand. I don’t know how to ask questions and how to find my questions in my daily learning. When faced with some difficulties, I will try to solve them, but sometimes, I might ignore them directly.
5. “When you have some troubles in your study, do you often communicate with your parents?”
Not often. I rarely communicate some difficulties in learning with my parents. I would more likely communicate some learning difficulties with peers. It will make me feel relaxing and no pressure.
6. “What factors do you think will influence your academic self-efficacy?”
– I think support from my parents has a great influence on my learning self-efficacy. If my parents give me more encouragement rather than pressure, I will do it better.
From this interview, it is clear that the impact that the parents have is sometimes not directly related to the academics. The pressure from the parents is sometimes felt directly by the child even if they do not concentrate on their academic performances. This is the issue for the children that live with their parents. Even though they admit that he parents have to support them for them to maintain their level of academic efficacy, it is sometimes a massive issue that comes as a result of the pressure (Yi-Le Wu, Chen, Yang, Ding, Yang, and Sun, 2014). The parents put too much pressure on their children that are related to academics. In one way, this can be seen as a negative (Ashraf, Alam, and Gyr, 2014). However, the presence of the parents makes the child works extra hard as testified by this child. She, however, insists that she cannot consult the parent in case she has the problems. She would rather consult a fellow student than to consult the parents. Even if this is a negative influence, the fact that he parents are concerned about is positive towards her education. She can have the people that give higher pressure so that she cannot have hope. It is also important that the child has a personal learning timetable. This is a timetable that she says has been effective for her learning and have been a major part of her success. The student has been successful in the languages, especially English and Chinese. This is an advantage to the female students (Dong, Yu, Ren, Zhao, Li, and Sun, 2018). They easily grasp the language subjects as compared to the boys. The only weakness is that most of them do not like the complex studies such as mathematics. The parents could do better by encouraging them to like mathematics just as the other subjects. This way, their learning could be complete in many ways, and they can be successful (Zhang, 2017). For the students that are undergoing stress and issues that are not related to academic, it becomes easier for them to focus as they have the parents around. Therefore, their level of self-efficacy is higher than the students that are not having their parents around. The left behind children do not have the pressure and therefore can not recover from the mistakes that they make. In this sense, being left behind is an issue that affects them. The child also has higher chances of facing the challenges of living with the parents. The parents sometimes make life difficult for them, and they are not living as freely as expected (van der Veer, de Vries, and Bos, 2014). There are times that freedom is important for the whole success of the child. This way, they are able to do things that are free, and they can design their own timetables that are accommodative and those that are effective according to the all in all, it is easier to see why it is crucial for the parents to be a part of the student’s lives.
The class tutor was male who was teaching Chinese in Class. The following was the conversation:
1. “Are your students interested in learning?”
– In my class, there are different cases for different students. But most students just learn mechanically what we teach, and they treat learning as a target.
2. “Do your students have good and effective learning methods?”
– I think most students don’t have an effective method of learning. I often teach my students some learning methods, but only some students can learn and master them to improve their studies.
3. “What kind of problems and difficulties students usually have in their study? How do they deal with these questions?”
– Most students have an appetite for learning, but they don’t have good executive power and learning ability. In terms of specific subject, most students have weakness in mathematics learning. But they rarely ask the questions for the teacher.
4. “What factors do you think will influence your students’ academic self-efficacy?”
– I think for different students; they may have different influential factors. Like learning environment, encouragement from parents and teachers, success or failure experience, self-confidence, goals-setting, assessment methods, fearing of failure and interests. But I think the success or failure experience, goal-setting, and encouragement from parents and teachers are the three vital factors which can influence the students’ academic self-efficacy.
The interview shows the perception of the teacher about the challenges that the students face. The teacher focused on the environment as one of the main issues that affect the children. The factor can mean the people that surround the children. The student has to be surrounded with the environment that encourages learning for them to make the full use of the learning facilities. Encouragement is the other crucial element to the self-efficacy. This is an issue that has to be addressed at the personal level with the studies. The parents of the students have a major role to play according to the teacher about the encouragements and then be able to get the same impact. The other issue that the teacher raised is the importance of self-confidence in learning. One of the most significant issues in learning is the self-confidence of the student. A student that is self-confident does not influence the negativity from the other students. They are all concerned about what they can do and do not care about what they cannot do. This is one issue that students that have their parents have. The parents are always encouraging their children to keep up with the learning procedures and are getting the needed assistance. The teacher also noted that the children are not confident about how they are solving their issues and academic problems. This affects both sets of students. Those that are living with their parents have the advantage in many ways. However, they are also struggling to solve their own problems just like their peers. The teacher also noted that the students are happy to consult their fellow peers and avoids consulting the tea hers. This may be because of the fear rather have or the lack of confidence in their abilities (van der Veer, de Vries, and Bos, 2014). There are many cases that the students feel that they will be punished for not knowing.
Academic self-efficacy is an important issue as there are many children that have been left behind are always suffering from this (WANG & ZHAO, 2013; Kuss, 2013). They lack the people to consult, and they can not solve their own problems. As a result, they cannot consult the teachers as they have no faith in their own abilities. Personal confidence is developed from the inside. It is something that can be affected by pressure and stress. In this interview, it is trued that most of the people involved are suffering from the self-efficacy in one way of the other. This is a case of concern for many people and the government of China. In China, one of the most challenging subjects for the student is the English language. It is different for those that study Chinese and history. This is a subject that requires attention from the teachers and parents. It also demands a total commitment from the students. The methods of study are important in everything that is done. Encouragement can form a difference in the living of the students. This is the main issue for the schools that deal with students from different backgrounds. If the students are not encouraged, they are likely to feel inferior to the others that have their parents at home. Therefore, the encouragement and understanding from the teachers are crucial. The changes are evident from both sets of students. These people are also in charge of the self-efficacy of the students. Most of the students have admitted to the fact they are struggling with the self-belief. They can get this is they live with the people that are capable of helping them. The only problem is that there are those that live with the grandparents that are too old to handle these challenges. In this situation, it is better for the teacher to realize the challenges that the student is going through. If the student is short of self-efficacy, then the teacher has to question the reasons behind it. This way, they can see the root of most of the problems that they have. Through constant engagement, the students can be given the right path to follow. They can be shown the ways of understanding the learning procedures. This is the view of the teachers.

FindingsFrom this research, there are different findings of differences in self-efficacy of the children that have been left behind and those that live with their parents. The left behind children generally have lower self-efficacy in the academic sense than those that are living with their parents at home. The low self-efficacy leads to the lack of interest in some of the most important subjects such as English and mathematics. The left behind children lack the parental support as they have gone to look for better methods of survival. The other finding is that the students are also responsible for their performances. The self-efficacy is also self-initiated. It is an internal initiative and a self-belief that the student can develop over time. In most cases, the students lose it whether they have their parents or not. From the interviews in the research, there are those that suffer from the low self-esteem and negative attitude whether they have their parents or not. This is a common case for the female students and their attitudes towards mathematics.
Mathematics is one of the most challenging subjects for the children. It is a problem for both sets of the students. The other problem that affects these students is the English language study. There are numerous students that are suffering from the negative attitudes towards the English language. The attitude towards the English study also depends largely on the self-efficacy. There are many factors that are also contributing to these attitudes by the students towards the English language studies. One of them is the limited consultations from the parents. Attitude and efficacy are crucial for the success of the students do not think they can be successful in the English language. According to most of the students, they would rather study history than having to study the English language. Nonetheless, the attitude cannot be compared to the one that the female students have towards mathematics.
The need for better performances from the students has been a cause of concern for most of the researchers and other academicians in China. There are many scholars who associate poor performance and low self-efficacy top the lack of clearly defined study methods. For the success in classes, there have to be better strategies from the students. These include the better assignments and designing the timetables that can be effectively followed in the study. This is where the role of the parents is needed. The parents can help the students to effectively follow their timetables through constant monitoring and through everyday homework. In many schools, before the end of the classes, there is the home assignment that is assigned to them. These assigned, moments play the role of better understanding so that they can remember what has been taught effectively. The parents play the role of ensuring that their children effectively follow the demand of the school. Without this, they lose the focus. Most of the children that have been left behind live with their grandmothers. These caretakers are too old and do not understand the importance of education. In many ways, the children for not getting to benefit from the push like those that have their parents who live with them. The other challenge that the left behind children has is the lack of focus. It is very rare that the parents that have decided to live their children behind would look after their progress. Their educational progress is therefore up to them. Without monitoring their progress, the children do not get the necessary support. If the parents left after they had started their schooling, then there are students that feel that they need to relax for some time and not be able to concentrate to the level that is used to.
The parents should take the initiative to monitor the progress of their children. In some cases, there are those parents that use the technology to look at the academic progress of their children. However, this is not enough as most of the children indicated in this study. This does not allow them to share the problems that they have with their academics. Most of the left behind children say that they do not feel the impact of their parents even if they use technology to communicate with them. In such cases, it is better for the parents to find some of the better methods of monitoring the progress and the academic performances of their children.

Self-efficacy can only be demonstrated in the change in attitude and is reflected in the performances of the child. Without the interaction with the parents, it is not easier to gauge the performances of the students when the parents are away. The fact that they leave them as they go to town makes a loss of confidence. The attitude of the student’s changes immediately their parents decide to go to town. There are those students that have confessed to have understood the reasons why their parents left them. However, there is still a massive mental block for the children that are still trying to figure out the way they are supposed to behave in some situations. It is always a matter of determining the reasons for success that the students maintain their academic self-efficacy. The research shows that there students that are determined to change the status of their family. This way, they do everything they can to better the situations that they left at home. There should be an initiative by the parents to look at the way their children are operating. It will be easier to see the developments of their children.
As shown in the previous, part of this research, it is not evident while trying to get the main differences that exist between the level of child academic self-efficacy between the children that are left behind and those that are not left behind. Other factors come into play as noted by the teacher who was interviewed in the study. One of these includes the environment. There are cases where the child that had started very well and was performing dro9ps the level of performance without having been involved in any of the parental challenges. Therefore, it is crucial that the child is monitored and the type of people that they interact with. At a younger age, the children can easily be influenced by the environment that they are coming from.
From the analysis of the questionnaire, the students need the emotional guidance of the father. Father’s emotional warmth and understanding are important in the student efficacy as they go through their education. Also, the percentage of the girls that have been left behind is higher than the percentage of the girls who have been left behind. It shows that the two genders give different results in the analysis. The rate of leaving behind the girl child is higher than the rate at which the boy child is left. The girls are left at thirty-three percent while the boys are left at sixty-six percent. This may be due to the preference or to the larger population being made of the girls while the boys are fewer. The educational level of the parents also showed the variations. In the figure, the father’s education level has a higher influence on whether they live their children behind or not. Then mothers also have the same effect but not to the higher degree as the father. This shows the way the father’s value of education. The mothers also value their education but are more likely to leave their children in case they get the jobs in the town. The children that live with their parents depends on whether the parents have gone past the junior high school or not. This may be influenced by the ability to get employment in the towns and the type of employment they get. For instance, the more educated parents are likely to get better jobs allowing them to come to town with their children.
Many girls are therefore suffering from this as compared to the boys, and it can be noticed in their performances. In terms of the different schools, it has been found out that the number of children who have been left behind by their parents at the junior primary school is higher than those that have been left at the senior high school. This may be due to the fact that their parents left them at an early age while they go to look for employment in the towns. There is also a difference in the number of children that he parents have. Those that have more than two children are likely to leave their children at home. Additionally, those that have one child are likely to go with them to town. The most likely reason for this is that one child is likely easier to take care of. The questionnaire also includes the level of the parent education. The level of father’s education determines whether the children are left at home or not. For those that their mothers education is past the senior schools, the number of children that are left behind is fewer as compared to the number of children that are left by the parents that have a below the junior level of education. This applies to both the fathers and the mothers. Critically, the children are aware of the parental care that they have. The level of mother’s education also determines the three variables in this research. They determine the learning ability or the academic self-efficacy of the children. The children whose mothers went past the junior mid are less likely to be left as compared to those whose parents did not go past the junior middle school. Also, the children whose parents went past the junior high school have a high level of behavioral changes and their learning ability. As well, there is the finding of behavioral self-efficacy, and academic self-efficacy all follow the same procedure and the same procedure depending on the education level of their parents. When the learning abilities are compared in terms of the gender, the self-efficacy of the girls is affected by the fact they have been left behind more than the way the others are. The same trend is followed by the learning ability self-efficacy, the learning behavior self-efficacy, and the academic self-efficacy. Critically, this is an issue that the government and the school teachers need to address from different angles. It is the main reason for the constant drop in the results. One of the methods that can be used to address this issue is through the constant monitoring of the progress of the students. More research could also be done by the other non-governmental organizations to solve some of the basic issues.
The other issue that can be discussed from the findings is that self-efficacy is something that can be emotionally controlled. Just like self-confidence, someone can learn how to control their emotions so as to fit into the mold. This confidence can be built by the teachers who are aware of the status of the students. At the same time, the children should be open about their status so that the teachers are aware of their status and they are suffering in one way or the other. This way, they can be helped by building their self-efficacy.
From this analysis, it is crucial to criticise the status of the parents who are leaving behind their children. The increase in urbanization can also be attributed to other factors that can be addressed outside academics. Such procediuures involve direct government intervention and the non-government bodies.
ConclusionAs a result of the recent increase in rural to urban migration, many parents are moving from their rural areas to urban areas in search of better employment opportunities. They, therefore, leave their children behind who had been studying in the rural schools. The rural to urban migration means that the number of children that are left behind is also increasing. These children are growing without enough parental guidance. However, in terms of this growth, there are really existing not favor children’s mental and academic development. This research has shown these children whose both parents work away from home have a lower academic self-efficacy than children whose parents work at home.
With the increasing number of the children that have been left behind in rural areas in China, this study is crucial as it is a systematic study that gives the comparison of the different achievement targets for the individual children and the roles of the parents in their lives. The lack of parenthood is sometimes the absence of their fathers, mothers or sometimes both the parents. These issues have been a concern to many of the children. The changes in academic self-efficacy are massively affected by the absence of their parents as they have stated in the research. In relation to the subjects, the children whose parents are absent are more likely to underachieve in the technical subjects such as mathematics. They also lose the interest in complex subjects like English. The subjects such as Chinese are, and history has been found to be liked by many students whether there are parents or not. The cases are sometimes different for the students that have their parents. In terms of their ability to concentrate the whole time, most of the children have loss of academic self-efficacy as a result of the influence from the peers. In most parts of China, one is likely to find that the children that have been left behind by their parents form the massive part of the group that is in rural. These findings gave the clear insight into the reasons why there are children that have not been affected by being left behind in the Chinese rural areas. There are those children that understand that the situation of their parents is what makes them leave the rural areas and go to the urban areas with the aim of making the best of their situation. Some of the children take the initiative to keep up with the pace of the studies and do not drop their level of consistency in the region. They, therefore, accept their status and the fact that they also have to work hard to achieve what they want in life. Through the guidance of their teachers, they are able to come through the challenges of loneliness. On the contrary, the children that have their parents only suffer the lower academic self-efficacy if they get involved in the wrong groups and when they decide not to work hard as they used to so before.
There are several implications that are concerning the status of education as well as the level of parenting for the children that have been left in the rural areas of China. The fact that there have been the lowest rate of academic performance that has been on the decline recently; there is a severe concern for the people involved and the best ways in which this situation can be avoided. The underachievement call for the serious concerns from the caretakers, teachers and the parents concerned. There are several initiatives that can be done to handle this situation. The initiatives come from the parents, teachers and the government at large. On the side of the teachers, it is their roles to take notice of the changes in the academic efficacy of the children; this can be shown in performances and the way the students behave generally. They can also contact the government if there is any need for innovations and inventions that can create a better environment for the students to learn better. They can also call the parents of the students and inform them of the situation. The other thing that the teachers can do is to contact their parents to regularly visit the children that are suffering from the low academic efficacy. For the children that whose parents work at home, there are numerous inventions that they can do. One needs to monitor the status of their children by regularly asking for their school, reports and getting involved in the school activities. There are students that admitted to not being part of their parent’s programs. They admit that their parents never ask for their academic performances. In this case, it is better for the parents to get involved so that they can know how important their education is. The parents that live with their children also have to look too keenly monitoring the groups that their children keep. One of the reasons for the reduced academic self-efficacy is the environment that is massively contributed to by the groups that the children keep. These groups that the children keep can encourage them, and improve their performances or form a part of a poor academic self-efficacy. These issues result from the influence of the peer pressure. This means that the parents have to take care of their children by making sure that they are involved in the groups that do not discourage their abilities. Regarding the subjects that are not easily understood, it is better of all the people that are involved in taking care of the children are participating in monitoring their progress. For the caretakers that have been left by the children’s parents, it is better if they understand the role of education in the future of these children. They have to make sure that the children understand their roles in education. This is a step that can be taken by the parents who live their children at home. They have to leave their children to people who understand their educational roles. Instead of leaving the children behind with their grandparents, it is better to leave them with their sisters or other relatives that will encourage them to work harder. If this is not possible, it is better to contact or visit them more often so that they are reminded to remain focused on education. Academic self-efficacy also comes from the encouragements that the children get from the people that are around them. This is even better if the encouragement comes from the person who understands education better. The children also trust those who have gone through education, especially those that are in high school.
The other issue is the cognitive development of the children. The teachers spend more time with the children than their parents. They are therefore responsible for their development. Hence, all the brain development in terms of the attitudes and courage depends on the roles that he parents play. For a child to develop, there have to be involvement and an initiative by the parents and the teachers. These are values that are imparted to them by their teachers. The teachers have to make the children believe in themselves and ensure that they are brave enough to face all the challenges. The children need the beliefs and trust of the teachers for them to perform as expected. This trust is built through the time. Through the belief in self-ability, they mature into adults that can accomplish different things in life. Through constant monitoring and tutoring, the students can get back to the situations that they were and they are unlikely to suffer from further drops in performances.
Since this study have also proven that the impact that the parents have is not that big, it is important that there is clear evidence that the drops are from the fact they are missing their parents who have migrated to the towns. This also includes the implications that the peers in the schools have. Also, if there is a psychological problem, then it has to be solved at the school level. There are schools that have the psychological departments where there are teachers that deal with the social problems that the students may have. This can also help in rejuvenating the academic progress that the child had before they fall sort of self-confidence and knowledge. Through various initiatives, the teachers and the parents can help the parents ensure that the children have better growth and development.
RecommendationsFrom this study, there are some recommendations that the researcher can make from the findings of the comparisons of academic self-efficacy between the students that have been left behind by their parents and those that are living with their parents. Academic excellence is a collective effort. Many people have to be involved to ensure that there is an effective use of the guidelines. However, there are other issues such as the conditions of the schools and the environment where the students are learning. Hence, it is recommended that the school provide the best environment for the students where they can have the advantage of better learning conditions just like their peers who are in town. Environmental factors are crucial as well, just as the teacher said from the study.
The second recommendation is that the student performance is a collective activity and it does not only concern the parents alone. The teachers have the biggest role to play regarding child self-efficacy as they are with the students most of the time more than their parents. Therefore, they have to find out the reasons why there is the change in the status of the students. They can sometimes call the students so that they can find out the problems that they are going through. Most of these may be the psychological problems that demand consultations from a psychological perspective. There are several social problems that the students in school can face. Therefore, they can be taken back to the best cases that they were at.
The other recommendations are that the teachers have to find ways of integrating the parents into the learning activities of their children. The teachers also have to be consistent in their assessment of the child. This will ensure that everyone is involved in the performance. As part of the child development, the parents are crucial as they are the ones that are providing the resources. The parents have to be allowed to perform their responsibility by implementing different policies that are important in the development of the child.
The last recommendation is for the government of China to find ways of addressing the issue of the children being left behind by their parents in search of employment. This can be done by improving the status of the rural regions so that people do not have to move their families to the towns. This will eventually lead to equal development in the rural areas as there is the workforce do not have to migrate to the towns. The other initiative that government can look is improving the quality of the schools that are within the rural regions. These schools could do better with the few additions such as motivations for the teachers and encouraging students. Some of the programs that can improve the academic self-efficacy are the introduction of gifts to the students that perform better. This way, they do not have to lose the knack for knowledge even if their parents leave.
Restatements of the findingsThis study has found that there is an obvious difference in the academic self-efficacy for the two sets of students. The main focus of the study was the influence of the lack of parental guidance and the cases that have been seen in the Chinese education system. The lack of parental guidance results in the reduced focus from the children. Depression and lack of focus are the main issues that have been identified by the studies that have been done in the past. This study has also added issues such as the environmental factors that are affecting the children. These factors affect the child to a massive degree. Also, the differences in self-efficacy are also caused by the other factors other than the migration of the parents to the towns. Issues such as peer pressure and inputs by the teachers are the other contributing factors towards self-efficacy on the students.
LimitationThis study has some limitations that have to be stated. By stating these limitations, the future works can avoid for better research in this field. One of the main limitations is the handling of the different survey equipment. The use of the questionnaire presented a massive challenge for most of the students who needed an interpretation of the questions. This is a massive issue as it can result in a result business. Through interpreting the content of the questionnaire, there is a likelihood of being biased.
The other limitation is the variable measurements. The study mainly uses self-assessment for the measurement of children’s academic self-efficacy and their parents’ parenting styles; therefore students might under- or over-report their personal experiences when completing the questionnaires. In addition, through getting the data from the teacher, there is the likelihood that he would want to promote his school and gives answers that do not reflect the whole situation. This variable measurement is a massive issue in most research works. Therefore, it was important that there are the variables are taken into details.
The other limitation was the time and sample size that was used in the data collection. The study in 30 students is a small investigation which limits the applicability of the results, and bigger studies would be needed to confirm the results. This way, there is the better outcome that can be arrived at.
The last limitation is the limited resources through the research. Many issues have to be solved before the data can be put together. Therefore, the future research has to have a better outcome through using unlimited resources for better results.
Potential SignificanceThis study is critical for many organizations and the whole society. It acts it can be used by the parents who are avoiding the facts that their movements to town affect their children. This research will make other researchers find the possible solutions to this increasing problem. At the same time, the government and the other bodies will find them beneficial as well. Hence, they will look at the possibilities of reducing the high level of rural to urban migration in the society.
For the academicians; this is an area that is still open to research. Child self-efficacy towards education involves many areas that can still be exploited. Therefore, this can form the basis of different research works to come.
Suggestion for further studyThere are other suggestions that can be made on the same research that can be further explored by the researchers. The future research and thesis have to focus more on the scientific bases for better contribution into this topic. One of the issues that can be addressed is the relationship between the peer involvement and the self-efficacy between the left behind children and those that have not been left behind. Also, there could be research that focuses on parenting and the impacts that the initiatives that the parents make on the performances. The academic self-efficacy is also a broad issue that future studies can explore in details.
The research question for future studiesWhat are the impacts of better parenting on student performances in the rural areas of China? This question will highlight the issues that have not been addressed here.

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