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Title: Exploring Omani EFL student-teachers' identity, autonomy, and motivation through participation in virtual social spaces
Author: Al Wahaibi, Suad
ISNI:       0000 0004 7964 5492
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2019
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This present study sets out to investigate the relationship between language learner identity, autonomy, and motivation through participation in social technologies, specifically, within the Omani EFL tertiary education. Thereby, this study embraces Dörnyei's (2009) L2 Motivational Self System (L2MSS) as well as Deci and Ryan's (2002) Self-Determination Theory (SDT) as the primary conceptual frameworks, while investigating other contextdependent motivating drivers. In examining the link between these three concepts from two theoretical standpoints, I problematised them in terms of their limitations and to further extend their boundaries. Thus, I present complementing perspectives grounded on these theories, functioning in a reciprocally reinforcing manner. In so doing, this research sharpened our understanding of the intimate relationship between people's lives, encompassing their institutional, digital, and social settings where they inextricably intersect. Prior research studies in Oman have neglected to investigate significant motivational dimensions of language learning. Particularly, those studies have not focused on the chances afforded by virtual social spaces for the development of English language learning. This present study addressed this gap in the research. This would lead to increasing students' motivation through relating to their identities to optimise greater engagement in language learning. Reflective focus group discussions were conducted with fourteen Omani EFL student-teachers, along with individually composed language learning histories. This study makes original and well-grounded contributions to the existing body of literature in the realm of language learner identity, autonomy, motivation, and digital social space, drawing out specifically Omani-Islamic identity and media influence. Also, the findings of the study contribute to the existing knowledge by generating interesting insights, confirming a dynamically non-linear link between language learner identity, autonomy, and motivation via digital social spaces. The research participants engaged actively in cyberspace as an alternative context aimed at expressing and developing their autonomous identities, compensating for the rigidly controlled classroom environment. I suggest, therefore, future research avenues shall be directed at exploring the affordances of cyberspace for the development of language learner identity, autonomy, and motivation in less favourable learning conditions featuring EFL contexts worldwide. I argue that investigating the influence of digital context on L2 motivation research is timely in that it corresponds to an urgent need to systematically explore the digital context driven by motivation theories at a time when students' cyber-lives become a necessity for the expression of personal and social identity.
Supervisor: Little, Sabine Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available