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Title: A multiple-case study of self-perceived affective experiences and self-reported foreign language performances from a dynamic systems theory perspective
Author: Xiao, L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6350 8936
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2016
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This study aims to explore the non-linear interactions between the self-perceived affective experiences of a group of learners and their self-evaluated performances in a foreign language (FL) classroom through the lens of Dynamic Systems Theory (DST), a theory which developed from advances in the understanding of complex and nonlinear systems in physics and mathematics. The present study bridges several disciplines, namely, mathematics, physics, psychology, applied linguistics and education, in order to avoid over-simplifying the phenomenon by focusing on fragments of reality. This study endeavours to transcend the boundaries between the above disciplines. Abstract DST concepts from mathematics and physics were initially translated into tangible FL terms acceptable to social science researchers. In addition, in order to engage with the learners, a phenomenographic approach was adopted as a qualitative method to explore the dynamism of the learners’ affective experiences and their reflections on their experiences from a second order perspective. 12 second-year Chinese students of English from a Foreign Language University in China participated in this six-month longitudinal study. Diary, Qualitative Survey, Semi-structured Interview and Class Observation were utilised for data collection. Thematic Analysis (TA) was employed to describe the phenomena at a collective level. Finally, a three-layer model, the Dynamic Model of Foreign Language Development was proposed to draw a conclusion from this study, aiming to present a novel way of understanding the distinctive features of the learners’ constant self-evaluations and their perceptions in the different contexts across time. In summary, at a collective level, the relevant attractor states from the second layer, which were determined by three main forces, namely, cognition, emotion and motivation from the first layer, contribute to making up the relevant learning experiences in the third layer. This study has contributed to the under-studied area of emotions and performance in FL learning. Several research and pedagogical implications have been identified. The results of this study contribute to a possible way to figure out terminological issues in an interdisciplinary study. The findings suggest that DST could allow a researcher to situate emotions and performances in one iterative system. DST might provide a possible logical solution to such a causality dilemma.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PE English