Graduation Year

2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

World Languages

Major Professor

Amy S. Thompson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Camilla Vásquez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nicole Tracy-Ventura, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Wei Zhu, Ph.D.

Keywords

L2 motivation, L2MSS, Ideal L2 Self, English as a foreign language

Abstract

The shift toward bilingualism and multilingualism in historically monolingual societies resulting from globalization has positioned second/foreign language (L2) learning research as a significant field. Extensive research in L2 motivation over decades has demonstrated motivation to be a significant determiner of L2 learning achievement and has yielded many sound L2 motivation theories and frameworks. The latest L2 motivation framework is the L2 Motivational Self System (L2MSS) offered by Dörnyei (2005, 2009). Numerous studies have been conducted to validate this theory in different English as a foreign language (EFL) contexts (e.g., in China, Iran and Japan: (Taguchi, Magid & Papi, 2009); in Hungary: (Csizér & Kormos, 2009); in Saudi Arabia: (Al-Shehri, 2009); and in Turkey: (Thompson & Erdil-Moody, 2014). Studies have found the theory sufficiently elaborate to explain the multifaceted L2 motivation in its dynamic nature. This study utilized the theoretical framework of L2MSS to examine L2 learners’ motivation.

Due to the importance of motivation in L2 learning and achievement, research focusing on EFL instructors’ use of motivation-enhancing strategies has gained significance. To fill a longstanding gap in L2 research for a unified and systematic motivational strategies framework for teachers, Dörnyei (2001) offered the Motivational Teaching Practice in the L2 Classrooms Model (MTP) – which offers various strategies that L2 teachers can use to enhance student motivation. The current study used this MTP theoretical framework to investigate L2 teachers’ motivational teaching practice. However, how the L2MSS could be integrated into the motivational teaching practice has not been adequately studied and requires further examination. Moreover, most language teacher education programs lack motivational teaching practice training for pre-service L2 teachers. Consequently, the present study aims to fill the gap in L2 research by examining a) how to promote EFL instructors’ motivational teaching practice through a training program on motivation-enhancing strategies within the L2MSS framework; b) how L2 teachers’ consistent and systematic use of motivation-enhancing strategies within this framework impact students’ motivated learning behaviors.

Another way this study contributes to L2 research is by offering both quantitative and qualitative empirical data in an understudied EFL context, Turkey, concerning the relationship between motivational teaching practice and learner motivation. The study employed a mixed-methods experimental design. The researcher collected data from February 2015 to June 2015, coordinating and delivering the teacher workshops, and analyzing and interpreting the data. The data involve various sources: self-report questionnaires from L2 teachers and students, classroom observations of teachers’ motivational teaching practice and students’ motivated learning behaviors, semi-structured interviews with teachers and students, teachers’ strategy logs and reflective journals.

Quantitative and qualitative data analysis procedures were employed to analyze the data. The self-report questionnaire data were analyzed via exploratory factor analyses, Cronbach’s alpha, descriptive statistics, independent and paired samples t-tests; the classroom observation data were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA; strategy logs were analyzed using descriptive statistics; and the qualitative data via classroom observations, reflective journals and interviews were analyzed via content analysis. The researcher coded, categorized, themed, and analyzed the data separately. This study intends to a) contribute to the L2 motivation research, b) offer pedagogical recommendations for motivational teaching practice to promote learner motivation within the L2MSS framework, c) contribute to the pre-service L2 teacher training to promote motivational teaching practice.

The results showed that instructors’ and students’ perceptions of instructors’ use of motivational strategies demonstrated both differences and similarities, indicating that both groups have varying perceptions in regards to instructors’ motivational teaching practice. An overall analysis of the MTP across 25 different EAP classes showed an average use of motivational strategies excluding any of the recently suggested strategies that enhance the L2 self guides (the ideal L2 self and the ought-to L2 self) of learners grounded in the L2MSS theory.

The classroom observation and L2 motivation data that were collected in both experimental and control groups before and after the treatment showed that instructors who received motivational teaching workshop started using more varieties of strategies more often and in a more consistent way compared to the control group instructors who did not receive any treatment. Similarly, experimental group students in the classes where instructors used more consistent and varied motivational strategies demonstrated more motivated classroom behaviors compared to the control group students. Experimental group instructors’ reflective journals and strategy logs also indicated an increased awareness of MTP and more conscious effort in trying to vary their motivational strategy use and develop their own consistent MTP.

The interviews with the experimental group instructors showed that instructors were more confident in their MTP, more conscious in their choice of motivation-enhancing strategies and lesson and material design that address learners’ ideal L2 selves. They all expressed that participating in the study including but not limited to taking the MTP workshop, implementing those strategies in their classes, continuous feedback and discussion sessions with the other experimental group instructors and the researcher, writing the reflecting journals and the strategy logs were altogether helped them to a great deal creating a “transformational experience like a wake-up call” in their teaching.

Interviews with the students revealed that experimental group students were happier in their EAP class this semester compared to their previous pre-requisite EAP class because they were kept more motivated, engaged and active throughout the semester. They found their instructors as the most motivating factor on their motivation and achievement this semester.

Available for download on Saturday, December 09, 2017

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