The Contribution of Interaction to Learner Motivation in the MFL Classroom [PhD Thesis]

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  2. Dr Anne Preston
Author(s)Preston A
Publication type Report
TypePhD Thesis
Series Title
Year2009
Pages
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Motivation is an area of language learning where researchers and practitioners share a vested interest. A major question arising out of second language learning (L2) motivation research in recent years is how to conceptualise and measure its situated dimensions. A lack of development in methodological approaches and conceptualisations which continue to treat L2 motivation as a cognitive and unobservable construct mean that addressing such issues is not straightforward. This study investigates how L2 motivation is collaboratively achieved in the moment-to-moment dynamics of L2 learning and teaching practices. It takes situated classroom interaction as its focus. It uses Conversation Analysis as a methodological tool to document a range of interactional practices, centring on hand-raising, so as to engage with L2 motivational processes in and across time. The empirical setting is a Year 9 French classroom in the UK which offers a distinctive and discrete location for the research, and is the subject of a year-long case study. Through an inductive analytical framework, L2 motivation is conceptualised as a characteristic of context. The notion of participation is used as a way of aligning L2 motivation and interaction, in which L2 motivation is treated as both the product and the process of motivational experience. The findings reveal how L2 motivation in the language classroom develops through individual orientations to the nature of learning tasks through interaction. These learning tasks foster specific social displays of L2 motivational states which have a role in promoting L2 motivational development for some students but not, it is suggested, for others. This study contributes to increased understandings about the development of L2 motivation by stretching the boundaries of methodological and theoretical treatments in the field to incorporate localised formations of L2 motivation experience. It also provides new insights into the role of hand-raising in the language classroom and into general motivational issues in MFL teaching practices.
InstitutionUniversity of Southampton
Place PublishedSouthampton
NotesPhD thesis
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