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Validation of the L2 motivational self system


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Vidak, Nives. (2019). Validation of the L2 motivational self system. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij glotodidaktike) [mentor Mihaljević Djigunović, Jelena and Rovan, Daria].

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The process of globalization, stimulated by a plethora of technological, social and economic factors as well as the development of information technologies (IT), has brought forward the perception of the world as a whole. This perception has highlighted the importance of communication and, consequently, of language as an important communication tool. The role of the greatest economic power – the United States of America in the IT revolution significantly contributed to English language becoming a lingua franca (Graddol, 2006; Seidlhofer, 2007). Therefore, students are nowadays most exposed to English in comparison with other world languages. The language learning process is complex, time-consuming and demanding. Since the 1990s, numerous researchers of second language acquisition (SLA) have emphasised the need for thorough research into a number of factors affecting this process (Dörnyei, 1990; Mihaljević Djigunović, 1995, 1998; Ushioda, 1996; Gardner, 2002; Dörnyei, 2005, Gass and Selinker, 2008). Success in SLA depends on many factors and it varies from individual to individual. As Larsen-Freeman (1991) points out, the research is characterized by a union of two focal areas: learning and the learner. Consequently, recent SLA theories focus on the importance of individual factors. Motivation is considered to be perhaps the most important individual factor which significantly affects the language learning process. Dörnyei (2005) defines motivation as the initial stimulus for learning language and the driving force to sustain the long and arduous learning process. Its complexity and changeability is not easy to understand and define, which has led to numerous theories and models. The L2 Motivational Self System (L2MSS) introduced by Zoltan Dörnyei (2005) is based on the presumption that SLA is a vital part of one’s self and thus represents an integral part of the individual’s identity. The new construct is a significant reformation in research of motivation due to explicit utilisation of the psychological theories of self and identity. It conceptualizes motivation from the self-concept perspective (Markus and Nurius, 1986) and opens up a new direction in perceiving motivation, especially because it also involves developing a complex and vivid picture of an individual in the process of perceiving himself/herself as a motivated learner. The model comprises three dimensions: Ideal L2 Self, Ought-to L2 Self and L2 Learning Experience. Not enough attention has been paid to a systematic research of motivation in specific contexts or age groups. The L2MSS has been validated in research studies in Hungary, China, Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Spain on high school students, students and adult learners (Csizér and Kormos, 2009; Magid, 2011; Taguchi, Magid and Papi, 2009; Ryan, 2009; Al Shehri, 2009; Mackay, 2014). However, there has only been one study validating the L2MSS in Croatia (Martinović, 2014). In the thesis the motivation for learning English as a foreign language in adolescents – secondary school students and university students of the first year of undergraduate study is explored. In order to gain insight into the motivation for learning English, the main aim of the thesis is to test the validity of Dörnyei's L2MSS in the Croatian educational context, with particular reference to age differences and learning success. Since previous empirical research has indicated the importance of the learners’ past experiences on their future motivation and the causes the learners attribute their previous learning achievements to, the correlation of the L2MSS with causal attributions is investigated. Having in mind the set research aims, the research attempted to test the following research hypotheses: H1. There are three latent dimensions within the L2MSS (Ideal L2 Self, Ought-to L2 Self and L2 Learning Experience) in the Croatian educational context. H2. There are differences among the L2MSS dimensions; the L2 Learning Experience is the most prominent dimension. H3. There are age differences in motivation for learning English during adolescence (among L2MSS dimensions); the oldest group is the most motivated group for learning English. H4. There are correlations between L2MSS dimensions, causal attributions and learning success; L2 Learning Experience positively correlates with learning success and causal attributions. For the purpose of this research the questionnaire compiled and verified by Taguchi et al. (2009) was tested in a preliminary study and applied in the main research. The validity and reliability of the instrument in the Croatian educational context was confirmed. The research results confirmed the three-dimensional structure of L2MSS in the Croatian educational context. Ideal L2 Self was found to be the most prominent dimension. Furthermore, the results confirmed that there are age differences in motivation for learning English. The oldest group of participants (university students – first year of undergraduate study) proved to be the most motivated group. The least motivated group were the secondary students in the third grade, while the students in the first grade were more motivated than their older peers. These results require further thorough research. Out of 120 possible correlations 77 statistically significant correlations between causal attributions, learning success and L2MSS dimensions have been found. The correlations are mostly positive, with only 8 negative correlations (between anxiety and causal attributions, and between success and ideal L2 self, family influence and anxiety). The results of this research will enable the participants of the educational process, especially teachers, to gain a better picture of the motivation of Croatian students and to apply this knowledge in a classroom environment in order not only to motivate their students but also to maintain it over time and to prevent demotivation.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: motivation, SLA, L2MSS, Ideal L2 Self, Ought-to L2 Self, L2 Learning Experience, causal attributions, learning success
Subjects: English language and literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Mihaljević Djigunović, Jelena and Rovan, Daria
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij glotodidaktike
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2019 13:04
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2019 13:04

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