The study of L2 motivation has seen an unprecedented boom during the past decade, with the number of published studies in the area far exceeding not only the amount of work done in other domains of language learner characteristics but, in fact, most strands within the whole of SLA research. This study examines the origins and nature of this extraordinary surge by reviewing a large dataset of journal articles and book chapters published between 2005 and 2014 (N = 416) in terms of the broad quantitative patterns they display with respect to theoretical and research methodological trends. The results (a) provide insights on the changing landscape of the field and (b) allow for projections to be made about the directions in which the field is headed.
The relationship between teachers' beliefs and practices is generally understood to be a complex one. In recent years the topic of language teachers' beliefs has attracted considerable research interest, mostly in the form of case studies of teachers in particular contexts. A number of such studies focus in part on the relationship between beliefs and practices. Arguing the need to develop the research agenda beyond case studies, this paper reports an interpretive review of a set of studies to explore potential factors (context, teacher experience and planning) in this relationship. The review found that context and constraints appeared to mediate the relationship across situations, and that correspondences between stated beliefs and practices were reported mainly in situations involving experienced teachers and planned aspects of teaching. In light of these findings, areas for further research are suggested.
This paper examines the effectiveness of three different online writing activities in formal university education: forums, blogs, and wikis. Constructivism – reflective and collaborative learning fostered by scaffolding – provides a main support for their use in education. Prior research regarding the use of blogs and wikis, especially in language education, is reviewed. The lack of detailed examination to determine learning outcomes, the absence of an evaluation mechanism, and the special difficulty language education holds for their appreciation are noted. The latter half of the paper presents exploratory research executed by the authors on the usage of forums, blogs, and wikis in an English as foreign language (EFL)-blended learning course in a university in Tokyo, Japan. A mixed-method approach was applied with survey, interview, and text analysis used for triangulation. The survey revealed students' positive perceptions of the blended course design with online writings – wikis being the most favorable, followed by blogs and forums. Qualitative text analysis of forum and wiki writings showed progress in their ability to differentiate English writing styles. The interview script analysis clarified the different merits students perceived from each activity. The variations provided by the blended course design served well in meeting challenges and were fun for them.
This qualitative longitudinal study examines the impact of an intensive eight-week in-service teacher education programme in the UK on the beliefs of six English language teachers. Drawing on a substantial database of semi-structured interviews, coursework and tutor feedback, the study suggests that the programme had a considerable, if variable, impact on the teachers’ beliefs. The course allowed teachers to think more explicitly about, become aware of, and articulate their beliefs, to extend and consolidate beliefs they were initially – and sometimes tacitly – positively disposed to, and to focus on ways of developing classroom practices which reflected their beliefs. Teachers also experienced shifts in prior beliefs they held about aspects of language teaching and learning. Nonetheless, despite this evidence of impact, the data also suggest that the in-service course studied here could have engaged teachers in a more productive and sustained examination of their beliefs. Several factors relevant to such engagement are analyzed and recommendations for enhancing the impact of in-service teacher education on language teachers’ beliefs are made. ►Qualitative longitudinal study of the impact of INSET on language teachers’ beliefs. ►INSET had considerable but variable impact on teachers’ beliefs. ►Through INSET teachers’ became aware of, consolidated and extended prior beliefs. ►There was some evidence during INSET of shifts in teachers’ prior beliefs. ►More consistent explicit focus on beliefs in INSET would have led to deeper impact.
Truscott [Truscott, J., 1996. The case against grammar correction in L2 writing classes. Language Learning 46, 327–369; Truscott, J., 1999. The case for “the case for grammar correction in L2 writing classes”: a response to Ferris. Journal of Second Language Writing 8, 111–122] laid down the challenge to teacher educators and teachers to justify their faith in written corrective feedback (CF) with hard evidence from studies that have investigated its effects on subsequent writing. The study reported in this article set out to provide evidence that CF is effective in an EFL context. Using a pre-test–immediate post-test–delayed post-test design, it compared the effects of focused and unfocused written CF on the accuracy with which Japanese university students used the English indefinite and definite articles to denote first and anaphoric reference in written narratives. The focused group received correction of just article errors on three written narratives while the unfocused group received correction of article errors alongside corrections of other errors. Both groups gained from pre-test to post-tests on both an error correction test and on a test involving a new piece of narrative writing and also outperformed a control group, which received no correction, on the second post-test. The CF was equally effective for the focused and unfocused groups. This study, together with a few other recent studies, indicates that written CF is effective, at least where English articles are concerned, and thus strengthens the case for teachers providing written CF.
The aim of the present study is to examine the relation between out-of-school digital gameplay and in-school L2 English vocabulary measures and grading outcomes. Data were originally collected from a sample of 80 teenage Swedish L2 English learners and comprise a questionnaire, language diaries, vocabulary tests, assessed essays, and grades. Using an observational post-hoc design, three Digital Game Groups (DGGs) were created based on frequency of gameplay: (1) non-gamers (0 h/week), (2) moderate gamers (<5 h/week), and (3) frequent gamers (≥5 h/week). Results show that DGG3 had the highest rated essays, used the most advanced vocabulary in the essays, and had the highest grades, closely followed by DGG1, while DGG2 trailed behind. For the vocabulary tests, DGG3 was followed by DGG2 and DGG1, indicating that gameplay aligns more directly with vocabulary test scores than vocabulary indicators drawn from essays. Due to the gender distribution of non-gamers (predominantly girls) and frequent gamers (exclusively boys), a subsidiary aim is to investigate how gameplay correlates with outcomes for boys and girls: significant correlations were found for gameplay–vocabulary tests/English grades for the boys.
A number of studies on CLIL, particularly from Spain, which is familiar to this author, will be analysed to show that there are numerous anomalies not only in the research, but in the analysis, and doubts about the conclusions drawn. CLIL instruction is not always necessarily that beneficial, and there is every reason to believe some students may be prejudiced by CLIL, and that not only academic, but also institutional, interests may be taking precedence over some students’ interests in the state educational sector. Some research issues are covered in the detailed analysis of one study before a plea is made for ensuring that disinterested research is carried out into the effects of CLIL initiatives in state educational institutions and systems, so that the welfare of all state-school students is recognised and respected. ► Content and Language Integrated Learning background is set. ► Some contrary language learning outcomes are identified. ► A study showing problems with content learning is analysed. ► Reinterpretations of some CLIL results in Spain are discussed. ► Research issues in CLIL are considered.
This article provides an introduction to the state of the art of language learning strategies in the twenty-first century – a panoramic view of the international landscape of strategies. In the landscape are eight key areas of controversy and discussion: strategy definitions, strategies and proficiency, theoretical underpinnings, categorization, context, teachability, research methodology, and analysis. In addition, this article presents a synopsis of the rest of the articles in this special issue and explains the methodology guiding the three articles in the unique “Multiple-Researcher Perspectives” section of this special issue. The article concludes with a statement about global reach and a roadmap for the future.
Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) is supposed to improve existing deficiencies in the formal learning of foreign languages (FL) in state schools of the EU, with at least no detrimental cost to the content learning. Apart from this basic justification, which has already been questioned on the basis of the empirical evidence by this author, other benefits are often enumerated. However, it will be shown that for most of the pro-CLIL arguments there are equally valid counterarguments, and, in some cases, contrary empirical evidence, or even a lack of any evidence. Given this, the suggestion here is that there are a number of implicit reasons for the adoption of CLIL, the most obvious being student selection. One conclusion worthy of concern is that the interest in CLIL diverts attention away from the shortcomings of mainstream FL teaching in state schools and the plight of numerous non-CLIL students, including perhaps many of the less privileged, who maybe are still not receiving the FL instruction they deserve.
This paper investigates authentic writing through the use of wikis by Year 7 ESL learners in a secondary school in Hong Kong. The wikis were used as a collaborative writing platform to produce – with minimal input and support from their teachers – wiki content that describes the different facilities and features of their school. Over a period of two months, as an integral part of their ESL homework, groups of students designed and put together, through a series of successive drafts, a description of their secondary school which they had joined from primary school a few months previously. After an initial overview of how wikis function in terms of editing and revision, the paper describes the process one group of learners went through. Samples are provided of the students’ intermediate and final drafts, as well as snapshots of the amount and the types of writing produced at each stage. The students’ final draft became a printed brochure of their ‘new’ school to be distributed to parents. In the light of this real ‘outcome’, the paper discusses the place of authentic writing, situated within the domains of creativity and task-based learning, in a school’s ESL programme.
This study examines tensions in the grammar teaching beliefs and practices of three practising teachers of English working in Turkey. The teachers were observed and interviewed over a period of 18 months; the observations provided insights into how they taught grammar, while the interviews explored the beliefs underpinning the teachers’ classroom practices. Drawing on the distinction between core and peripheral beliefs, the analysis indicated that, while at one level teachers’ practices in teaching grammar were at odds with specific beliefs about language learning, at another level, these same practices were consistent with a more generic set of beliefs about learning. The latter, it is hypothesized, constituted the teachers’ core beliefs and it was these, rather than the more peripheral beliefs about language learning, that were most influential in shaping teachers’ instructional decisions. It is argued that attention to the relative influence of core and peripheral beliefs on teachers’ practices allows for more complex understandings of tensions in teachers’ work. Claims are also made here for the benefits of grounding the study of tensions between stated beliefs and classroom behaviours in the qualitative analyses of teachers’ actual classroom practices. Some implications of this study for language teacher education are also discussed.
In the last ten years, there has been a steady increase in reported cases of successful high-level acquisition by out-of-classroom, informal learners through the affordances of the Internet, while mainstream SLA research has continued to focus on instructed learning contexts with assessments often relying on classroom-based tasks. In this article, we report a study comparing high-level, well-motivated Central Brazilian classroom-trained learners (CTLs) with fully autonomous self-instructed learners (FASILs). Thirty-four FASILs and fifty CTLs, matched for socio-economic status, age, educational level and years of English learning, were assessed on seven distinct but related aspects of language proficiency, completed a questionnaire and were interviewed to gather data on behaviour, beliefs and attitudes. FASILs scored significantly higher than CTLs on all assessments while questionnaires and interviews revealed key differences in attitudes and motivational development. Mode of learning correlated significantly with grammatical and lexical knowledge and range, with detailed analysis indicating that fossilized errors in high-frequency structures were significantly more common among CTLs than FASILs. The results reveal how the new affordances for naturalistic learning through the Internet have transformed informal language learning, enabling significant numbers of independent, informal learners in foreign language contexts to achieve very high levels of proficiency.
This study investigated the benefits of Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM) through an analysis of grammatical, lexical and mechanical accuracy as well as syntactic complexity in second-language learners' writing. A WhatsApp group was created where 80 Spanish students taking a B1 English course participated in a daily interaction during six months. A quasi-experimental research design with an experimental and control group and a pre-post test was followed. Students were divided into two main groups according to treatment type with 40 students in each group. This research focused on the interaction in the application and attempted to measure, through a qualitative and quantitative analysis, the students' degree of writing development. The ratios of lexical, grammatical and mechanical errors as well as error-free clauses per clause and error-free T-unit per T-unit indicated significant differences between the control and experimental group in terms of accuracy. Nevertheless, measures of syntactic complexity together with lexical diversity were not conclusive as the independent parameters for syntactic complexity showed no significant differences between the two groups. WhatsApp constitutes a powerful educational tool to encourage second language interaction among participants and its tremendous potential to activate students' involvement remains one of the least exploited functionalities of mobile phones.
The present study takes the initiative to test a theoretical model that subsumes the , the , and the in L2 motivational self system, as well as and to learn English. A number of 1011 Iranian high school students completed a questionnaire survey specifically developed to be used in the context of Iran. Using AMOS version 16.0, structural equation modeling was run to analyze the proposed model. Based on several goodness-of-fit criteria, the results confirmed the validity of the anticipated construct. It was found that all the variables in the model significantly contributed to intended effort; however, while the ideal L2 self and the L2 learning experience decreased students’ English anxiety, the ought-to L2 self significantly made them more anxious. The results are discussed based on the socio-educational context of Iran.
Engagement represents the goal most teachers seek when imagining the ideal classroom. When teachers speak of motivating their students, they refer to getting them on task, inducing them to pay attention, helping them complete assignments, and stimulating them towards asking probing questions. All the while, students feel relaxed, energized, joyous in their learning. Numerous theoretical frameworks have been tied to engagement, indicating its importance as a construct beyond any one single paradigm. Some models treat engagement as an outcome, others a dynamic pivot in the motivational process, and reciprocally related to student and teacher interactions. The topic has wide coverage in first language studies, and has been a topic of growing interest in education and educational psychology, but has had only limited adoption as a topic of study in language education. As a construct more easily recognizable to teachers, discussing engagement may help bridge the “black box” world of the classroom, the “impractical” world of educational theory, and the “uninformed” perspective of lay theorists. The current review covers the basic theoretical and methodological issues in measuring and using engagement as a construct for understanding second and foreign language learning in classrooms.
This study focused on the assumption that language learner strategies are monolithic with regard to their function (i.e. metacognitive, cognitive, social, or affective). Three ESL and three EFL Chinese-speaking university students individually performed an English vocabulary task (i.e. making fine-tuned semantic distinctions) to explore the extent that the use of a given strategy involves more than one function. Introspective and retrospective verbal report data and a measure of vocabulary depth were obtained from the students. The results showed fluctuation in strategy functions when strategies were used either alone, in sequence, or in pairs or clusters. In addition, there was not only one-way, linear progression from one function to another, but also two-way micro-fluctuation both for the same strategy and across strategies.
Scholarly attention for Foreign Language Enjoyment (FLE) has sharply increased in the past three years for its role in facilitating language learning as well as promoting language learners’ well-being. However, the conceptualization and measurement of FLE in China, which has the largest number of EFL learners in the world, is only just starting. Adopting a mixed-method approach, the current study examined the psychometric properties of the Chinese Version of the Foreign Language Enjoyment Scale, and investigated FLE in a specific Chinese EFL context. Through surveying two samples of 1718 students and 360 students in Stages 1 and 2, a new 11-item and 3-factor model (i.e. , , and ) was confirmed and validated. The students scored highest on , followed by and . The analysis of the qualitative data collected from 64 participants in Stage 3 showed that beyond the general factors linked to the teacher and peers, the individual experience of FLE is shaped by a large range of learner-internal and learner-external variables.
Language learner strategy research has been dogged by criticisms in recent decades culminating in calls for the field to be replaced with the construct of self-regulation. This paper aims to evaluate how the field has responded to such critique, and to investigate how self-regulation has impacted strategy research in recent years. The study utilizes a systematic review methodology to examine key studies conducted and published from 2010 to 2016 to reveal current trends, and to elucidate best research practices. After initially searching more than 1000 research papers, 46 of the most field-aware studies were selected for data extraction, of which 24 were included in a final systematic map for analysis. Results show strategy research is highly reliant on quantitative measures of data collection, but also reveal a number of context-situated qualitative methods which have produced valuable results. An in-depth review of the 15 most relevant studies revealed a number of innovations that have considerably advanced language learning strategy research in recent years. In a field awash with studies that are anchored to past methodologies, this paper showcases state-of-the-art work in the field, with an aim to inform future research.
The aim of this article is to introduce second and foreign language researchers to personal investment theory, a classic motivation theory that takes a multi-faceted approach to understand when and why learners invest themselves in a particular domain. Personal investment theory posits that there are three key components of meaning(1) facilitating conditions, (2) sense of self, and (3) perceived goalswhich are crucial to understanding motivation and learning. The paper gives an overview of the key tenets of personal investment theory and illustrates the synergies between this theory and research in second and foreign language learning. Although personal investment theory has seldom been used in second and foreign language research, a case is made for how it can enrich mainstream second and foreign language theorizing. Personal investment theory has key strengths including its integrative multi-faceted approach to understanding motivation, sensitivity to the role of socio-cultural influences, focus on powerful yet neglected constructs, and its recognition of cross-cultural similarities and differences. The paper concludes with recommendations for optimizing second and foreign language learning.
Learners' mindsets have received much attention in psychology and education research, but only recently have foreign/second language acquisition (SLA) researchers begun to study these beliefs. Mindsets refer to lay people's beliefs about whether human attributes (e.g., intelligence, personality, language aptitude) are essential, pre-determined traits (fixed mindsets) or malleable propensities can be cultivated (growth mindsets). To encourage more SLA investigations on mindsets, we review existing studies of mindsets in language education to summarize current knowledge and to identify research gaps. We specifically address five questions: (1) What are people's mindsets about language learning ability? (2) How are mindsets linked to other motivational factors? (3) How do contexts influence language mindsets? (4) Do growth-mindset interventions contribute to more adaptive learning, and if so, how? (5) How can educators support students' growth mindset? We highlight that mindsets are systematically associated with various motivational factors in a meaning-making system that guides learners' emotional responses and behavioural acts across different situations. We discuss avenues for future work on whether, why, how, when, for whom, and to what extent mindsets impact different educationally relevant outcomes, including persistence, resilience, and achievement. Understanding these complex questions are important for informing effective education and advancing motivation research in SLA.