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Title: An investigation into English language motivation of Thai university students : understanding students' motivation over time, and their visions of future L2 selves, through narrative inquiry
Author: Na Nongkhai, Angsu-orn
ISNI:       0000 0004 7225 3525
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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This qualitative study explores 16 Thai university students’ motivation to learn the English language over time through narrative inquiry. The students’ general attitude and orientation towards the English language, their motivational trajectories during their past English learning experiences, and their visions of their future second language (L2) selves were investigated. This study adopted a holistic approach to explore student motivation, with research methods dedicated to exploring the students’ past experiences (through Language Learning Histories), and the students’ concepts of their present and possible future selves (through semi-structured interviews). Adopting non-linear and socio-dynamic perspectives in understanding motivation, this study employed various theoretical frameworks, including self-determination theory (Deci and Ryan, 1985), the person-in-context relational view (Ushioda, 2009), the complex dynamic systems perspective (Dörnyei, 2009b), and the L2 Motivational Self System (Dörnyei, 2005, 2009a), to help conceptualise students’ motivation. The findings reveal that the instrumentality or utilitarian value of the English language played a significant role in fostering Thai students’ positive attitudes towards English. International posture (Yashima, 2009), personal interests, and a combination of different motivations were also found to associate with the students’ positive attitudes towards English. The results also show that the students’ motivation was complex and dynamic. Three broad patterns of motivational trajectories were identified among the students. The findings indicate that motivational changes across time was strongly related to their situated or immediate learning environment, critical incidents, and their cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1986). The data suggest that while the students’ sense of ‘ought-to L2 self’ was associated with a fear of being unemployed and the pressure of Thailand’s integration into the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, their sense of ‘ideal L2 self’ was strongly triggered by their imagined future careers, desires to go abroad, and international posture. Through examining dynamic changes in the students’ motivation, as well as exploring the ways in which the students identified themselves with the language in the future, this study adds to the knowledge base, aiding both L2 students and practitioners to understand and be aware of students’ different dispositions in language learning. This study also suggests pedagogical improvements in English language teaching in the context of Thailand.
Supervisor: Little, Sabine Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available