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Motivation and identity in language learning: current perspectives Ema Ushioda Centre for Applied Linguistics University of Warwick.

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Presentation on theme: "Motivation and identity in language learning: current perspectives Ema Ushioda Centre for Applied Linguistics University of Warwick."— Presentation transcript:

1 Motivation and identity in language learning: current perspectives Ema Ushioda Centre for Applied Linguistics University of Warwick

2 Background given motivation, it is inevitable that a human being will learn a second language, if he is exposed to the language data (Corder 1967: 164) Four decades of change since then … globalisation and global spread of English Language motivation theory only recently catching up with these changes …

3 What does integrative motivation mean now? Reflecting a sincere and personal interest in the people and culture represented by the other group (Gardner & Lambert 1972: 132) Strong versus weak forms The case of English as global language (Crystal 2003) and English as basic educational skill (Graddol 2006) – who is the target reference group? Critical voices: Pavlenko (2002), Coetzee- Van Rooy (2006)

4 Re-theorising language motivation international posture (Yashima 2002, 2009) Theoretical shift of focus to internal domain of self and identity Dörnyei & Csizér 2002; Dörnyei et al Theory of possible selves (Markus & Nurius 1986) L2 Motivational Self System (Dörnyei 2005, 2009): ideal and ought-to selves Motivation and identity (Lamb 2004, 2009)

5 Motivation and identity: language learners as people Motivation theory has tended to focus on models and learners as abstractions Limitations of linear models: Seans story … Current shift in focus to self and identity need to address real social identities people bring to the language classroom Understanding second language learners as people (Lantolf & Pavlenko 2001) Person-in-context relational view of motivation (Ushioda 2009)

6 A focus on real persons, rather than on learners as theoretical abstractions; a focus on the agency of the individual person as a thinking, feeling, human being, with an identity, a personality, a unique history and background; a person with goals, motives and intentions; a focus on the interactions between this self-reflective agent, and the fluid and complex web of social relations, activities, experiences and multiple micro- and macro-contexts in which the person is embedded, moves and is inherently part of. We need to take a relational (rather than linear) view of these multiple contextual elements and see motivation as an organic process that emerges through the complex system of interrelations.

7 Insights from autonomy theory & practice A concern with the learner as a fully rounded person, with a social identity, situated in a particular context (Riley 2003:239) Encourage Ss to develop and express their own identities through the language they are learning Legenhausen 1999: comparing conversation practice in traditional communicative vs autonomous classrooms

8 German students in traditional communicative classroom (Legenhausen 1999) S:How old are you? A:Im twelve years old. And you? S:Eleven. A:Ehm. Do you live in a house or in a flat? S:I live in a house in Olfen. A:I live in a flat in Olfen, too. (..) Ehm, eh. S:Whats your telephone number? A:My telephone number is three five seven five, and whats your tele / telephone number? S:My telephone number is ehm three two two two (..) A:Ah, ah, do you like school? S:Yes, sometimes.

9 Danish students in autonomous classroom (Legenhausen 1999) C:What shall we talk about? M:I dont know. What do you think? C:Ah, we could talk about yesterday. M:Ok. C:[What did you?] M:[What did you?] (laughing) M:What did you do? C:Well, I went home from school, and I write (..) some some music for my music group. M:Yeah. C:We shall play here Friday, after school, we have (..) borrowed a a room with drums and guitars, and so (..) were going to (..) record a tape, with our songs. M:How many are you in your group?

10 Speaking as themselves: motivation & transportable identities Richards 2006: analysis of classroom talk (drawing on Zimmerman 1998) situated identities (T – S, doctor – patient) discourse identities (initiator, questioner …) transportable identities (mother of two, keen tennis player, avid science fiction fan) Motivational impact of invoking Ss own transportable identities in classroom talk

11 And the motivational consequences of not orienting to Ss own transportable identities in the language classroom …? Student: I am feeling bad. My grandfather he die last week and I am … Teacher: No – not die – say died because its in the past (Scrivener 1994:19)

12 Motivation, transportable identities & future possible selves Future possible selves (ideal & ought-to selves) can have strong psychological reality in the current imaginative experiences of learners (Dörnyei 2009) Engaging Ss transportable identities and selves through L2 use now may help them imagine future possible selves as L2 users

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