Towards a better understanding of the L2 Learning Experience, the Cinderella of the L2 Motivational Self System

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Zoltán Dörnyei

Abstract

The theoretical emphasis within the L2 Motivational Self System has typically been on the two future self-guides representing possible (ideal and ought-to) selves, leaving the third main dimension of the construct, the L2 Learning Experience, somewhat undertheorized. Yet, this third component is not secondary in importance, as evidenced by empirical studies that consistently indicate that the L2 Learning Experience is not only a strong predictor of various criterion measures but is often the most powerful predictor of motivated behavior. This paper begins with an analysis of possible reasons for this neglect and then draws on the notion of student engagement in educational psychology to offer a theoretical framework for the concept. It is proposed that the L2 Learning Experience may be defined as the perceived quality of the learners’ engagement with various aspects of the language learning process.

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Author Biography

Zoltán Dörnyei, University of Nottingham

Zoltán Dörnyei is Professor of Psycholinguistics at the School of English, University of Nottingham, UK. He has published extensively on various aspects of language learner characteristics and second language acquisition, and he is the author of over 25 books, including The Psychology of The Language Learner Revisited (2015, Routledge, with S. Ryan) and Motivational Currents in Language Learning: Frameworks for Focused Interventions (2016, Routledge, with A. Henry and C. Muir).

Contact details: School of English, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, United Kingdom (zoltan.dornyei@nottingham.ac.uk)

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