L2 demotivation among Saudi learners of English: the role of the language learning mindsets

Albalawi, Fatemah (2018) L2 demotivation among Saudi learners of English: the role of the language learning mindsets. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The major focus of the thesis is to investigate the complex dynamism of L2 demotivation. It is an attempt to reform previous thinking of demotivation and move the L2 demotivation mainstream research into a new phase that focuses on the complexity of its process and its development. The demotivational, motivational, and remotivational trajectories of language learners were examined through the lens of various key psychological and theoretical constructs including mindset, personality hardiness, learnerd helplessness, and the L2 Motivational Self System. The thesis consists of two studies that investigated the demotivation of female Saudi university students by using a variety of research methodologies, including qualitative in-depth interviews, quantitative surveys, and structural equation modelling.

A primary explorative qualitative study was conducted aiming at examining the Saudi learners’ different explanations of their language learning experiences and their various perceptions of different demotivating factors. Semi-structured interviewes were conducted with 13 female learners of English in King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, SAUDI ARABIA . Analysis of the qualitative data showed that the language learning mindset played an important role in the language learner’s motivation, demotivation, remotivation, and resilience/vulnerability. However, the relationship between the variables that emerged in the qualitative data needed further investigation in order to be confirmed and generalised to larger populations.

A secondary confirmatory quantitative study was carried out aiming at investigating the impact of having a particular language learning mindset on L2 demotivation. Using the key variables that emerged in the qualitative data, a questionnaire was desgined and administered to 2044 foundation-year university students. A number of tests were conducted to investigate (a) the relationships between the variables; (b) the differences between the growth mindset language learners and the fixed mindset language learners; and (c) the differences between the resilient and vulnerable language learners. The quantitative results confirmed all the hypothesised relationships assumed and established an empirical link between the language learning mindset and both L2 demotivation and L2 resilience.

Finally, a model that assumed that L2 demotivation can be predicted by the fixed language learning mindset was hypothesised. A structural equation modelling (SEM) to empirically test and examine the hypothesised model was conducted. A set of causal relationships were examined simultaneously. The SEM analysis confirmed all the hypothesised causal relationships and showed that L2 demotivation can be predicted positively and directly by the fixed language learning mindset. It also showed that the fixed language learning mindset can lead to L2 demotivation indirectly via decreasing the ability to create a positive ideal L2 self and increasing L2 disappointment.

Although all the studies were conducted in the Saudi context and with female learners, it is hoped that the wealth of data can serve as an empirical point of departure in the realm of investigation of L2 demotivation. Conceptualising L2 demotivation by focusing on the role of the language learning mindset and its contribution to the learners’ perceptions and responses to demotivating factors, seems to provide language educators with a new tool to minimise language learners’ demotivation and help them to rebuild their motivation. It also seems to provide future researchers with a new theoritcal model to investigate when researching L2 demotivation in different contexts.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Dornyei, Zoltan
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1050 Educational psychology
P Language and literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of English
Item ID: 52351
Depositing User: Albalawi, Fatemah
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2018 13:08
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2018 18:45
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/52351

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