Possible selves, vision, and dynamic systems theory in second language learning and teaching

Chan, Hing Yee Letty (2014) Possible selves, vision, and dynamic systems theory in second language learning and teaching. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The key purpose of this thesis was to study how vision and possible selves motivate second language (L2) learners in their learning, and the way non-linear and dynamic patterns are exhibited in motivated L2 behaviours. The thesis consists of four studies that investigated the motivation of different target populations (secondary and university learners, and Christian Language Professionals) by using a variety of research methodologies, including retrodictive qualitative modelling (RQM), mixed methods approach, qualitative in-depth interviews and intervention.

In Studies I and IV, the motivational trajectories of secondary school students and Christian Language Professionals were explored through the lens of dynamic systems theory (DST). In Study I, using retrodictive qualitative modelling (RQM), in which the conventional research data collection methodology was reversed, the results showed that seven learner archetypes exist in the teachers’ minds, and different unique motivational trajectories known as signature dynamics (with different combinations of attractor states) are present in the learners’ systems. The strength and weaknesses in applying the RQM model were identified. Study IV explored the developments of vision in four CLP through in-depth interviews and three different vision integration patterns were revealed: ‘fully integrated as a person’, ‘fully integrated Ideal CLP Self’, and ‘partially integrated CLP Self’.

Study II examined the interrelationships among various sensory capacities (visual and auditory), imagery capacities, future self-guides and criterion measures in two target languages (English and Mandarin) in 172 Year-8 secondary school students in Hong Kong. Using both questionnaires and post-survey focus group interviews, it was found that learners’ future self-guides are endowed with visual, auditory and imagery capacities as the main components. Study III investigated the effects of an imagery-training intervention on the quantitative and qualitative change of possible L2 self-guides in 80 second-year science university students. A significant increase in the Ideal L2 Self and a significant decrease in the Feared L2 Self were shown, which suggested that the intervention has positive effects on learners’ future self-guides.

In summary, the results from the collection of studies showed the different characteristics, effects, and motivational forces of vision and possible selves in the complex world of L2 learning and teaching. Along with the insights of the complex dynamic interplay between the factors in L2 learning and teaching, I have built a strong case for vision and possible selves as key motivational tools in the L2 classroom.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Dornyei, Z.
Adolphs, S.
Subjects: P Language and literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of English
Item ID: 14301
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2014 10:42
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2017 09:59
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/14301

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