Action-Sentence Compatibility Effect in ESL motor processing

Huili Wang & Xiran Xu (Dalian University of Technology, China)

In the process of language comprehension, mental simulation of the past experience of sensory motor activity is activated. Previous studies mainly focused on action simulation. However, few studies took second language learners processing target language as the entry point. This study aims to explore whether second language learners triggered Action-Sentence Compatibility Effect (ACE) during sentence comprehension. The English simple sentences including concrete and abstract verbs are taken as stimuli. Reaction time and accuracy rate of the participants were collected as the experimental data. Two groups of students with different English competence participated in the study. The 120 experimental stimuli include 40 concrete verb sentences, 20 abstract verb sentences, and 60 filler stimuli. 41 English major postgraduate students and 43 non-English major students participated in the experiment. The results indicated that:

  1. While processing concrete-verb sentences, both groups triggered ACE. In the sensible judgment task the response time of the compatible condition is longer than that of incompatible condition, showing that while second language learners process concrete actions, mental simulation of the directional representation is activated.
  2. There is no significant ACE in processing abstract-verb sentences, reflecting that second language learners cannot activate the simulation of the directional representation in the abstract sentences as the native speakers do.
  3. Comparing the reaction time and accuracy in processing the compatible situation of concrete verb, we found that high competence group responded faster with a higher accuracy.
  4. Since second language learners did not activate the mental simulation while processing simple sentences including abstract verbs, the finding shows the difficulty for second language learners in processing abstract actions. In second language comprehension, concrete action is understood easily.

However, due to the fact that the abstract action possesses more emotional and linguistic features, it is harder to process.

Analysing and comparing teachers’ and students’ beliefs about oral error correction in the ”languages without borders” classes at UFPA

Ivo Cruz & Rosana Faciola (Universidade Federal do Pará, Brazil)

This paper aims to show the results of a research on beliefs of both teachers and students related to oral error correction. The focus was to investigate what are the favorite correcting procedures of teacher and students of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and the beliefs of both sides about the corrective feedback in order to contrast teacher’s practice and students’ expectations. We agree with Diab (2006) who says that preferences for correction in ESL classes are important for the effectiveness of the correction which is more likely to be successful if teachers’ and students’ preferences are in synchrony. However, if these preferences are in conflict, students might feel ashamed of expressing themselves freely (Brown, 2002). The data collection was made through questionnaires answered by teachers-to-be and students of an English course offered by the federal program Language Without Borders at the Federal University of Pará (UFPA) in Brazil. The results showed that teachers’ and learners’ beliefs converged in many aspects, however, they diverged in others. Both results may have positive or negative effects in the learning process.


Brown, J. D. & Rodgers, T. S. (2002). Doing second language research. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Diab, Rula L. (2003). Error Correction and Feedback in the EFL Writing Classroom: Comparing Instructor and Student Preferences. English Teaching Forum, Washington D. C, n. 3.

Beliefs evolution of pre service teachers about initial literacy: a longitudinal study

Mireia Perez, Montserrat Fons Esteve (University of Barcelona, Spain)

Learning to read and write is an essential part of education in any literate society. In Spain, traditionally, this responsibility is left in the hands of the school. Teacher’s role in this process is indisputable, as is the fact that their actions are influenced by their cognitions (Cambra, 2000). Some investigations have proved that beliefs do change (Mattheoudakis, 2007 ; Busch, 2010) while others show limited evidence (Peacock, 2001 ; Borg, 2005 ) or even inexistent change (Kagan, 1992). The main objective of the research is to have a better understanding of what happens during pre-service education program in the University of Barcelona, in order to improve it through proposals deduced from the results of the research. In the design of the investigation, Borg (2006) and Richard (2009) claim for more longitudinal qualitative studies was taken into account. In order to trace beliefs during the four-year program (2012-2016) three data collections were made to three voluntary female participants. Data consists of in-depth interviews analysed according to Kerbrat-Orecchioni (2005) discourse-in-interaction model with some adaptations. The interview analysis is validated with a sentence completion and the final practice reports. Even though the complexity of tracing beliefs due to their dynamic condition (Dufva, 2003 ), it can be confirmed that they are resistant to change (Pajares, 1992) but not immovable. Participants discourse around how little kids learn to read and write change because they acquire specific terminology but the approach for teaching initial literacy remains stable. Still, three different types of phenomenon associated with beliefs have been identified so far: maintenance, change and specification. Furthermore, tensions and the awareness (or not) of them have become an important issue since they show conflictive areas in students’ thoughts. In conclusion, beliefs and tensions appear to be the quid of the question in teacher education.

Comparison of argumentation in second language in upper secondary and university students’ argumentative texts

Jaana Alila & Eva Kottonen (University of Jyväskylä, Finland)

Upper secondary students often base their informal argumentation about socio-scientific issues on their values or their personal experiences, whereas university students are expected to know the basics of scientific argumentation (Chang-Rundgren & Rundgren, 2010). In addition, students argue better in their L1 than their L2 (Neméth & Kormos, 2001). This presentation deals with the changes in the content and form of the students arguments as their language skills in L2 develop from upper secondary school to university. Our research questions are: 1) What kind of arguments do students use in their argumentative texts, and 2) how are contraarguments dealt with in the argumentation. Our data consists of 37 argumentative essays written by second year upper secondary school students and first year university students in their second language (Finnish or Swedish). We analyzed the arguments using the argumentation analysis frameworks of Chang-Rundgren and Rundgren (2010) and Mani-Ikan (2005, cited in Schwarz 2009). The results show that in comparison with upper secondary students, university students take better account of the opposing view. Both groups of students based their arguments most often in their values, whereas the portion of fact arguments increases and the portion of experience arguments decreases with better language skills in L2. Results are in line with Neméth and Kormos (2001) results; the development of students’ language skills tends to lead to better quality of argumentation.


Chang Rundgren, S. -N. & Rundgren, C.-J. (2010). SEE-SEP: From a separate to a holistic view of socioscientific issues. Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, 11 (1), Article 2.

Németh, N., Kormos, J. (2001). Pragmatic aspects of task-performance; the case of argumentation. Language Teaching Research, 5 (3), 213-224.

Schwarz, B. B. (2009). Argumentation and leaning. In Mueller Mirza, N & Perrett-Clermont A.-N. (ed.) Argumentation and learning. Theoretical foundations and practices. Dordrecht: Springer.

Examining the causal relationships among strategy use, motivation, and beliefs in L2 reading

Hiroyuki Matsumoto (Hokkai Gakuen University, Japan)

Investigation of motivation and beliefs in second language (L2) reading is just beginning, although cognitive aspects of L2 reading, including strategy use, have been studied. A few quantitative studies have reported positive relationships among strategy use, motivation, and beliefs in the L2 reading context. However, the causal relationships among the three factors have not yet been explored in depth. This study examined the causal relationships among them, in a group of 237 learners of English as a foreign language (EFL) enrolled in a university reading course. Quantitative data was collected from a questionnaire consisting of strategy scale (main idea, reasoning, adjusting, and monitoring), motivation scale (intrinsic, extrinsic, and efficacy), and belief scale (strategy, environment, and effort), rated on a five-point Likert scale (refer to Matsumoto, Nakayama, & Hiromori, 2013). Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted repeatedly with strategy use, motivation, and beliefs as independent and dependent variables. The results support the existence of interactive relationships across each factor. However, the direction of relationships appears to exist saliently in order: (1) from strategy use and motivation to beliefs, (2) from motivation and beliefs to strategy use, and (3) from strategy use and beliefs to motivation. That is, beliefs are more affected than strategy use and motivation, and motivation is less affected than strategy use and beliefs. This study validates a tripartite model of strategy use, motivation, and beliefs in L2 reading (Matsumoto, Hiromori, & Nakayama, 2013) by examining the relative strength of causal relationships in an EFL context.


Matsumoto, H., Hiromori, T., & Nakayama, A. (2013). Toward a tripartite model of L2 reading strategy use, motivations, and learner beliefs. System, 41, 38-49.

Matsumoto, H., Nakayama, A., & Hiromori, T. (2013). Exploring the development of individual difference profiles in L2 reading. System, 41, 994-1005.

Examining the role of intelligence, personality and L1 fluency in the development of L2 spoken fluency

Caitlin Gaffney (University of Toronto, Canada)

Personality plays a major role in human behaviour (Eysenck, 1994). Similarly, intelligence influences everyday competence (e.g., banking; Gottfredson, 1997), academic and job performance (e.g., Schmidt & Hunter, 1998), and various important social characteristics (e.g., socioeconomic status; Jensen, 1998). It is thus surprising that research investigating the effect of intelligence and personality on second language (L2) acquisition has been limited compared to other individual differences. The present study fills this gap by examining the role of intelligence and the Big Five personality traits (extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness to experience, neuroticism; e.g., McCrae & Costa, 2003) in 100 learners’ L2 fluency. A high degree of inter-learner variability has been observed in L2 fluency (e.g., Dewaele, 2002). This is due to the complexity of this phenomenon, which is conditioned by several variables, many of which correlate with both intelligence (e.g., working memory) and personality (e.g., amount of input and output; short-term memory and anxiety). A study of the effects of these two variables is thus warranted. Furthermore, since fluency may be stable cross-linguistically (Raupach, 1980), it is crucial that L1 fluency is studied to control for potential influence. This presentation discusses preliminary results (from 20 participants) of a larger study designed to examine the influence of intelligence, personality, and L1 English fluency on the L2 French fluency of low-advanced learners using 6 temporal/hesitation measures (i. speech rate; speech runs that are ii. hesitation-free, iii. filler-free, iv. fluent, v. repetition-free, and vi. grammatical-repair-free; Freed, Segalowitz & Dewey, 2004). Two elicited production tasks (picture-narration, sentence inversion), differing in syntactic and lexical complexity, serve to obtain speech samples. Proficiency is measured via standardized proficiency tests, personality using the Big Five Aspect Scale Test (DeYoung, Quilty & Peterson, 2007), and intelligence using Raven’s Progressive Matrices (Raven, Raven & Court, 2004). Data is analyzed via multiple regressions.

How learners perceive the learning opportunities provided by a self-access center

Keiko Takahashi (Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, Japan), Rachelle Meilleur (University of Limerick, Ireland) & Chris Fitzgerald (University of Limerick, Ireland)

In recent years, there has been a trend of universities in Japan establishing facilities such as self-access centers which cater for individual learners’ needs outside of class. Kyoto University of Foreign Studies developed a self-access center in 2014 in order to support learners’ initiatives to learn foreign languages outside of the classroom. In order to support students who are new to such a facility, two language instructors piloted the study in 7 classes with low, intermediate, and advanced language learners in an existing English course. The purpose of the study was to investigate whether teaching self-directed learning explicitly to students as a part of their regular courses would encourage more students to utilize the center. In the pilot process, students were introduced to various aspects of self-access learning, which included scavenger hunt and material discovery in the self-access center. They also worked on language learning histories, goal-setting activities and made a language learning plan to achieve their goals. They were encouraged to use the self-access center when implementing their learning plan. At the end of the course, a survey with both closed and open-ended questions was conducted in all classes to explore their experiences of using the center, and whether their experiences influenced their perception of the center and also their motivation for using the center in the future. The results reveal that majority of them appreciated the atmosphere and the resources of the center; however, lack of time and affective aspects are the main negative factors which prevent students from using the center. This presentation will give an overview of the self-directed learning components embedded in the existing English curriculum before highlighting the research results, finishing with future implications of the study.

Exploring potential effects of self-construals on affective variables in EFL vocabulary learning

Mitsuko Tanaka (Ritsumeikan University, Japan)

Although self-construals influence various aspects of individual experiences including cognition, emotion, and motivation (Markus & Kitayama, 1991), it is still unknown how self-construals influence motivation to learn a second language. This study focused on vocabulary learning in the context of English as a foreign language (EFL) and examined potential effects of self-construals on EFL vocabulary learning motivation using the framework of the self-determination theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 2002). Engineering students from a Japanese technical college (N = 158) responded to a questionnaire designed to measure five subtypes of SDT motivation (intrinsic motivation, identified regulation, introjected regulation, external regulation, and amotivation), four antecedents of the motivation (perceived autonomy and competence, peers’ positive and negative influences) and two types of self-construals (independent and interdependent self-construals). The data were analyzed using nine multiple step-wise regression analyses. Major findings of this study are as follows. First, independent self-construal predicted amotivation negatively and intrinsic motivation and identified regulation positively, indicating the importance of having independent self-construal to prevent amotivation and cultivate the more self-determined types of motivation. Second, interdependent self-construal predicted introjected regulation and external regulation positively, revealing that the learners with higher interdependent self-construal have the less self-determined types of motivation and are likely to be susceptible to external influences in sustaining their motivation. Third, independent self-construal predicted perceived autonomy and competence positively. These findings indicate a close relationship between EFL learners’ self-construal and vocabulary learning motivation as well as an important role for independent self-construal that cultivates adaptive motivation and beliefs in vocabulary learning.


Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (eds.) (2002). Handbook of self-determination research. Rochester: University of Rochester Press.

Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture and self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation. Psychological Review, 98, 224-253.

Identities of Sami language teachers in Schools in Sweden and in Finland

Madoka Hammine (University of Lapland, Finland)

Nordic countries including Finland and Sweden are often represented as having promoted diversities within their societies. However, Sami as an indigenous population has suffered from strong assimilation policies from each government of the Nordic countries in the past. In terms of the protection of Sami languages, Norway is often seen as a model by the other two nations. On the other hand, it is often granted that Sweden and Finland are following Norway as a model in protecting Sami rights. By comparing Sweden and Finland in the field of minority language education, the aims of this presentation are; (1) to investigate how these two countries have been developing their education systems, in terms of the protection of Sami languages (macro level analysis), and (2) to present the research methodology of my PhD research, on Sami language teachers in both countries (micro-level analysis). This presentation will firstly focus on the two international instruments; the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Comparing two nations could suggest different realities due to their different policies of the governments, although Sami languages have experienced similar situations. Through the analysis of implementations of international instruments of the protection of minority languages (the Convention and the Charter), it will discuss the differences in the meaning of ”multilingual education” in two countries. Secondly, it will discuss my PhD research, which I will investigate identities of Sami language teachers. It will explain how professional identities of Sami teachers will be investigated during the fieldwork of the author in Inari, Finland in fall 2016. It will conclude by suggesting language revitalization in school requires not only efforts from the authorities at national and international level but also supports and understandings from individuals who speak the minority languages.

Impact of different types of content on foreign language learning motivation

Chiyo Hayashi (Kunitachi College of Music, Japan)

In recent years, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) has become increasingly popular in second and foreign language classrooms. CLIL is an approach to learning content through a second or foreign language (L2/FL), thus teaching both the subject and the language. Although potential benefits of CLIL have been extensively discussed, relatively few studies have investigated how this approach influences L2/FL learners’ motivation for the target language. The current study aims at investigating longitudinal effects of CLIL on Japanese college learners’ motivation for learning a foreign language, English. The participants of the study are music majors at a private college in Tokyo, Japan. They participated in a year-long CLIL instruction where they studied different types of content (e.g., music and performance). The learners’ changes in motivation for learning English were measured with a motivation questionnaire which was developed within the framework of Self-Determination Theory. This questionnaire was administered three times during one academic year. Statistical analyses of the questionnaire revealed that (a) the CLIL instruction successfully fostered the participants’ intrinsic motivation for learning English; (b) it decreased their amotivation for learning English; and (c) it had little impact on the other types of motivation (identified motivation, introjected motivation, and external motivation). Furthermore, students’ reflections on the instruction demonstrated that they positively perceived the CLIL instruction. This presentation will report on the details of the study with a conclusion that CLIL is an effective approach for enhancing motivation for learning a foreign language if appropriate content for learners is chosen.

L2 intolerance of ambiguity: Cognitive, interpersonal, and intercultural

Harumi Kimura (Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University, Japan)

This study demonstrates that L2 intolerance of ambiguity (L2 ITA) is multifaceted such that some L2 learners are less tolerant not just in terms of linguistic/cognitive intolerance of ambiguity (ITA), but in terms of the social side of ITA. Previous studies on ITA might not have produced meaningful results because the construct could not be generalized across different domains (Furnham & Marks, 2013). One promising direction is using context-specific measures such as the Second Language Intolerance of Ambiguity Scale (Ely, 1989). The conceptualization of the L2 ITA construct was based on the cognitive/linguistic and componential view of language knowledge, and the items include the four language-skill domains (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) and the three distinct linguistic components (grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation). The scale has been widely used in SLA literature to investigate L2 ITA in instructed L2 teaching/learning (Dewaele & Ip, 2013). However, L2 learners’ concerns for ambiguity are also social. For example, some L2 learners are unhappy when they suspect their speech has been incomprehensible because of the L1 influence. Their concerns over ambiguity seemed to be linked to their social identity and are therefore interpersonal. Likewise, L2 learners often do not know ”how-to-say-what-to-whom-when” (Bardovi-Harlig, 2013, p. 68) in the L2 and tend to transfer their L1 pragmatic norms into the L2. Such learners may hear what they do  not expect, find pragmatic ambiguity, and feel uneasy or upset; therefore, their worry over the ambiguity is intercultural. It would be a good move to include these aspects into L2 ITA studies. Although ITA research historically began as studies in ethnocentrism, L2 ITA research has mainly been restricted to cognitive/linguistic concerns. In fact, Frenkel-Brunswik (1949) defined it as ”a general personality variable relevant to basic social orientation” (p. 268). Future L2 ITA studies should consider this orientation.

Learners’ metaphorical perceptions about learning English through captioned images

Maria del Mar Suárez Vilagran (Universitat de Barcelona, Spain)

This study seeks to explore the metaphors EFL learners hold about their relationship with English, including aspects such as their motivation and attitudes towards the language and their use of English in their daily life, among others. The participants, 26 Media Studies freshman students, were asked to express their feelings towards English metaphorically through an image and a caption. This captioned image is part of a multimodal linguistic snapshot to be included in the e-portfolio for the “Oral and Written Expression in English” subject. This snapshot also includes an essay explaining the students’ relationship with English so far. The data are analyzed considering the interaction between the essay, the image, and its caption taking into account the types of metaphors emerging from the images and their semantic, pragmatic and intermodal semiotic relationships with the texts (Nöth 2001). The results show that most students choose redundant or complementary images, with iconic and indexical signs in relation to the texts rather than with a higher degree of symbolism. The metaphors conveyed through the images tend to coincide with the metaphors found in Ellis’ study (2001) (learner as sufferer, as problem-solver, as traveler, as struggler and as worker), although students also express their relation with English as a means to communicate in real-life trips and as a tool to understand music and movies. The results of this study are discussed in terms of their implications for EFL teaching practice considering the students’ motivation and interest to learn EFL as well as the students’ difficulty in avoiding redundancy in the use of images.


Ellis, R. (2001) The metaphorical constructions of second language learners. In P. Breen., Learner Contributions to Language Learning. Harlow: Pearson.

Nöth, W. (2001) Word and Image: Intermedial Aspects.  Medien Pädagogik. [online]

Noticing the gap: does being aware of what you don’t know aid L2 word learning?

Johanna de Vos, Herbert Schriefers & Kristin Lemhöfer (Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands)

’Noticing the gap’ (NTG) is a concept in the field of second language acquisition, occurring when L2 learners become aware of discrepancies (‘gaps’) between their own L2 language system and the target language system. NTG is supposedly triggered when one tries to produce L2 output but fails due to lack of knowledge, and is often claimed to be beneficial to the learning process (e.g. Swain, 1995, in Cook & Seidlhofer). However, this claim mainly seems to be supported by theoretical rather than empirical evidence. Only two studies have experimentally investigated NTG with regard to word learning, both taking place in classroom contexts and focusing on written words (Kwon, 2006, PhD thesis, Univ. of Florida; Mahmoudabadi et al., 2015, Intern. Journ. of Asian Soc. Sci.; only the latter reports a significant effect). The present study is the first to situate research on NTG in a natural listening situation with purely spoken input; in fact the kind of situation L2 learners would often find themselves in when living abroad. Participants were 70 German students living in the Netherlands, who were uninformed of the language learning aspect of the study. NTG was induced by letting the experimental group name rare objects in Dutch; the control group regarded these objects in silence. Later interviews confirmed that all participants in the experimental group noticed gaps, although some participants in the control group did too (they were analysed as a separate, third group). After the NTG manipulation all participants were exposed to the unknown objects’ names in a listening  ask with a native Dutch speaker. A picture-naming post-test showed that participants who had noticed gaps learnt significantly more words than participants who had not (M=17%), although it did not matter whether they had noticed these gaps while naming objects out loud (M=28%) or in silence (M=26%).

Prejudiced against your own students? Teacher’s implicit bias

Ali Al-Hoorie (Nottingham University, UK)

Research into second language (L2) teacher motivation has examined various conscious variables such as ideal and ought-to self-guides, vision, and resilience (e.g., Dörnyei & Kubanyiova, 2014). To date, unconscious influences on language teaching are still an uncharted territory; little attention has been paid to whether there are unconscious factors influencing how the teacher behaves in the classroom. My aim is therefore to highlight the relevance of unconscious (i.e., implicit) biases in language teaching. The presentation will first introduce the concept of implicit bias and review some psychological literature demonstrating the idea that implicit attitudes can bias our everyday behavior without us knowing it. This research shows that this effect can sometimes take place even if the individual explicitly rejects these biases. I will then introduce the Implicit Association Test (IAT, Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998) to explain how it can tap into implicit biases. The presentation will then address what the teacher can do to avoid these biases. This will include a short video demonstrating an implicit attitudes experiment. It is hoped that this presentation will leave teachers with an appreciation of some unconscious aspects of their teaching, and at the same time inspire motivation researchers to examine the potential of implicit biases in their own research.


Dörnyei, Z., & Kubanyiova, M. (2014). Motivating Learners, Motivating Teachers: Building Vision in the Language Classroom. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Greenwald, A. G., McGhee, D. E., & Schwartz, J. L. K. (1998). Measuring individual differences in implicit cognition: The Implicit Association Test. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(6), 1464–1480. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.74.6.1464

Q-Methodology in investigating learner conceptualizations of spatial language

Maijastiina Mäntysaari (University of Jyväskylä, Department of Languages, Finland)

This paper examines the potential of Q-Methodology in the study of language learning processes. Learning another language involves learning new ways of thinking while apprehending target-language concepts. Comparative and corpus studies provide valuable information on the language learning process. There is, however, a need for additional research approach which would target learner conceptualizations per se. Q-Methodology clusters similarities and differences in viewpoints. Q-Methodology could also cluster various aspects of the psychology of individual learners, revealing intriguing characteristics of the conceptual level of their language learning. This study investigates the possibility of creating and carrying out a Q-Methodological design for semantic conceptualization investigation and the possibility of a Q-Methodological study addressing both the characteristics of learner-language and those of the learners. This study targets spatial language, a domain particularly rich in conceptual-level differences across languages. First, Q-sets of 36 items are developed for two English prepositions, in and on. Second, the concepts of both prepositions are reconstructed by 20 Finnish adolescent learners of English according to their subjective understandings of the concepts’ semantics. Third, statistical procedures are carried out with the PQMethod-software. The study reveals that decomposing prepositional semantics in a way theoretically supported by academic literature is possible. Moreover, the re-composed concepts can result in solid factor solutions with rich analytical possibilities. Following suggestions are proposed. First, Q-Methodology allows investigating the patterning of sub-themes implanted in the Q-set, allowing, e.g., the study of learners’ conceptual repertoires, and their needs for instruction. Second, Q-Methodology allows comparing factor solutions prompted by different Conditions of Instruction, which permits investigating learner associations, judgments and thought patterns. Third, Q-Methodology effectively groups learners according to their understandings, permitting studying, e.g., what separates more and less proficient learners on the conceptual level, and which particular conceptual changes emerge during learning.

Reflecting on language study: the gap between learners’ thoughts and actual behavior

Midori Tanimura, Rachelle Meilleur & Hiromi Kono (Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, Japan)

Self-regulated learning is one of the key concepts that allows learners to achieve their individual learning goals (Koto & Mynard, 2015). There have been many tracking devices created in which learners log their study to check their learning behavior, but little work has done to closely look at the reflection of not only learners’ behavior but also their thoughts. In this paper we will explore how learners structurally reflect their everyday learning in interviews with their teachers, and we will reveal the gap between learners’ thoughts and actual behavior by analyzing their study log sheets. This is a preliminary study and we selected nine motivated and cooperative learners (six in the first year and three in the second year of our university). They were given a weekly study log sheet every month. They were also interviewed twice, both pre- and post-logging. The last interview is the main focus of this study. The findings interestingly revealed that interviews were roughly divided into two parts. In the first part, the learners’ story was structurally constructed with three steps: expressing thoughts about their learning (ex. I thought I did more but actually I didn’t), expressing their excuses (ex. I had a part time job), followed by their regret, wish or future plan (ex. next time I want to study more). In this point, this indicates that learners reflect on their behavior in a negative way. However, the second half of the interviews revealed that learners’ actual behaviors were well organized, such as how many hours they studied and what strategies they used. Through the interview learners were able to reconstruct the meaning of their learning through interaction with teachers, as Rosenthal (1993, p.3) states that our story isn’t a review of single event but a comprehensive interpretation in Gestalt sense.

Shifting future self-images of EFL teachers in Japan: A time for curriculum innovation

Masako Kumazawa (J. F. Oberlin University, Japan)

The introduction of possible selves theory (Markus & Nurius, 1986) to language education research (Dörnyei, 2005) has provided researchers in this field a helpful analytical tool with which they further delve into the complexity of language learning and teaching. While studies in this area mostly focus on learners, some have applied the theory to acknowledge the significant role the self-related  concepts play in teachers’ professional development (Kubanyiova, 2012). This presentation extends this line of research as the presenter reports on her on-going study on EFL teachers in their transition from pre-service to novice in-service teachers. This qualitative study has followed several students in a teacher training course in a Japanese university since spring 2013. It focuses on the participant teachers’ possible selves as related to the national curriculum reforms toward communicative language teaching (CLT). While Japan has seen a series of educational reforms toward CLT since 1980s, research to date indicates that they have not fully succeeded in changing the local practice. This study has investigated the ”roots” of the issue by initially collecting data from pre-service teachers and following some of them as novice teachers. Data have been collected through interviews, questionnaires, class observations, and school visits, and will be analyzed drawing on the framework of narrative inquiry (e.g., Riessman, 2008) to illuminate how their possible English teacher selves have developed, and to interpret such changes as embedded in their personal histories. Exploring an uncharted area of pre-service and novice teachers’ shifting possible selves, the presentation will be of interest to language teaching researchers. Also, it will add to the geographic diversity of language education contexts by reporting a case in an EFL country in Asia, while addressing issues relevant to all concerned with workable implementations of nation-wide curriculum innovations, effective teacher training, and the complexity of teacher development.

Teacher autonomy in contexts: Perspectives from Chinese EFL teachers

Wanjing Zhao (University of Sheffield, UK)

Teacher autonomy has drawn increasingly attention since this concept was introduced into language education. Many studies have been conducted under the background of pedagogy for autonomy. And the concept of teacher autonomy also has been discussed in China, but research was mainly from the Chinese tertiary context and public school context. By exploring teachers’ learning experiences and perspectives and to reflect on the constructs of teacher autonomy, this study aims to find out whether teacher autonomy can be manifest in the context of private education in China. Based on an ontological position of social constructivism and an epistemological position of interpretivism, this multiple case study research recruited fifteen teacher participants from three private English language training and tutoring schools. Data were collected via individual in-depth interviewing, teachers’ weekly learning diary and participant observation. Following the links between learner autonomy and teacher autonomy, also the links between teacher autonomy and professional development, there were three main stages in this research. It first made an attempt to understand teacher learning from the participants’ experiences and perspectives. Then, it investigated the factors that affecting their teacher learning. Thirdly, it further explored how do participants undertake their teacher learning. The conceptual framework of this research, and the mid-term findings, including whether contexts matter for learning and development from participating teachers, will be presented.

The dynamics of motivation in advising in language learning: A longitudinal study

Eduardo Castro (Federal University of Pará, Brazil)

Understanding both motivation and language learning as nested complex dynamic systems has influenced the advising in language learning (ALL) conducted at a Brazilian university. ALL acknowledges the various contexts and identities of the advisees to favor their learning. In this framework, the adviser acts as another agent in the advisees’ learning systems by disturbing and energizing their learning trajectories. Although some studies show the immediate positive effect of ALL on advisees’ motivation, it is not yet investigated how ALL affects the long-term motivation of former advisees. This longitudinal study examined the motivational dynamics of one former advisee over a period of two and a half years. First, learning narratives, questionnaires and recorded sessions were collected during his participation in advising sessions. After a few months, data was collected from different agents besides the former advisee himself in order to account for a systemic view of motivation, as interviews with a couple of his professors and classmates were conducted. Data was also collected from a variety of contexts, as the participant was observed in different learning contexts, such as classroom and workshops. Results showed that ALL had a significant role in empowering the advisee to keep his motivation favorable to his learning process, which was reflected in different learning contexts.

The motivational profiles of Greek learners of Spanish as a foreign language in the Greek context

Alberto Rodríguez-Lifante (Universidad de Alicante, Spain)

In the area of SLS, motivation has been one of the most widely researched concepts (Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2011; Lasagabaster et al., 2014; Dörnyei et al., 2015). More recently, the self-concept, among other variables, is becoming relevant in language learning motivation (Csizér & Magid, 2014). Research on this field has focused on EFL learners in diverse contexts, particularly in Asia and on English as a foreign language. Little research has been carried out in Spanish as a Foreign Language (SFL) in general and in the Greek milieu in particular. This was the aim of the present study. A mixed-methods research design was employed to study the motivational development of Greek learners of SFL at the Centre of Foreign Language of University of Athens. The data, based on learners’ and teachers’ questionnaires and class observations, was collected during the academic years 2010-11 and 2011-12, at the beginning of the economic crisis. Several scales were combined to form this motivational profile: L2 motivational orientations, gender, self-concept and identities, self-efficacy, self-competence as well as attitudes and beliefs towards contextual (teacher, classmates, society or instructional environment) and cultural aspects. The main findings indicated a high level of motivation in these learners, with the predominance of the intrinsic type, as well as highly positive attitudes towards both Spanish language and culture. Also significant correlations were found between the level of learners’ motivation and their self-concept.


Csizér, K. & M. Magid (2014). The impact of self-concept on language learning, Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Dörnyei, Z. & E. Ushioda (eds.) (2011). Teaching and researching motivation, Harlow, UK: Addison Wesley Longman.

Dörnyei, Z., MacIntyre, P. & A. Henry (eds.) (2015). Motivational dynamics in language learning, Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Lasagabaster, D., Doiz, A. & J. M. Sierra (eds.) (2014). Motivation and foreign language learning. From theory to practice, John Benjamins.

The process of change in Korean students’ motivational factors throughout genre-based English writing

Jiwon Han (International Graduate School of English, South Korea)

According to Dörnyei (2001), motivation can account for ”why people select a particular activity, how long they are willing to persist at it, and what effort they invest in it” (p. 8). It means that motivation could be a key to explain students’ differential success in language learning. Kormos (2012) argued that ”writing is not only a complex task but also a time-consuming activity that requires concentration and determination” (p.390). These characteristics of writing suggests that learners’ motivation can play an important role in L2 writing; consequently, the relationship between motivational variables and various writing outcomes have been explored by a number of researchers (Pajares, 2003). Since learners’ motivational constructs can account for their success in learning writing skill, considering learners’ motivation in EFL writing instruction is essential in EFL writing instruction. In fact, lots of Korean secondary students have difficulties in writing in English due to the characteristics that writing has, Korean education system, etc. As the motivational construction, this research focused on anxiety, self-efficacy, and self-regulation. The objective of this study is to conduct an in-depth analysis of the process of change in those students’ motivational factors throughout genre-based writing instruction. In this regard, the research questions of this study as follows:

  1. What types of cluster of EFL students exist in the middle school writing class?
  2. What is the process of change in EFL students’ anxiety, self-efficacy, and self-regulation throughoutthe writing instruction?
  3. What factors influence the process of change in terms of writing?

Thinking about what occurs in a Japanese university writing center session

Nicholas Delgrego (J.F. Oberlin University, Japan)

One new context for language learning at Japanese universities is the writing center. In the past ten years several writing centers have become integrated into Japanese universities (Delgrego, 2016; Johnston, Cornwell & Yoshida, 2008). One common struggle at Japanese University Writing Centers (JUWCs) is students’ innate desire to rely on tutors. This can be especially problematic for Japanese students who tend not to engage in critical discussion of their own work. Traditionally, Japanese students believe teachers hold the answers and the best action is to remain attentive yet passive (Yoneyama, 1999). Japanese students are likely to consider what they learn at the writing center as a kind of “knowledge transfer”, instead of the more beneficial notion of “transfer” (Devet, 2015). Furthermore, many JUWC tutors are native speakers of English, and Phillipson’s (1992) native speaker fallacy only compounds student desire to default to the teacher/tutor. This presentation shows specific examples of tutoring advice (Sadoshima, 2010) used to help students deconstruct their preconceived notion of what a session at a JUWC ought to be. Data was collected from entry-sheets completed by students prior to sessions, feedback sheets completed after sessions and interviews with tutors/students. The mostly qualitative data was screened for incidences where the tutors/students acknowledged their views on how to utilize a session had changed. Several students specifically mentioned their increased desire to prepare more for each session after receiving advice from tutors. By continuing this advice-feedback loop, tutors at JUWCs can help students become more active in their own learning by reducing the need to rely on tutors, and ultimately, allow  students to better utilize their sessions. Finally, these findings can be applied to other developing writing centers or other similar learning contexts such as students studying abroad or dealing with students from other cultural backgrounds.

“Now I have more self-confidence to speak Swedish” – Finnish-speaking medical students experiences of using Swedish with a native speaker

Annmari Sahlstein (Language Centre, University of Turku, Finland)

As Swedish is the second national language in Finland it is taught at all school levels. In the Faculty of Medicine (University of Turku) it is taught as an integrated course and includes both knowledge in medical Swedish and an introduction to the culture of Swedish-speaking Finns. An interview with a Swedish-speaking pensioner in the Archipelago of Turku is therefore an essential part of the Swedish course. Before the course many of the students expressed in a questionnaire doubts about the need  or Swedish later in their working lives as doctors. Several of them also mentioned a negative attitude and a low motivation to learn Swedish in Finland in the school or at the university as the main reason. An other common reason for this negative attitude was that they feel uncomfortable and insecure about using Swedish out of the classroom and with a native-speaker. However, answers to the questionnaire after the course showed that students’ attitudes to the need for Swedish had changed remarkably. Almost all students commented that the face-to-face contact with a native speaker firstly had helped them to deal with their feelings in a new situation and secondly that their motivation to learn and practice Swedish during the studies had increased. In this poster my aim is to discuss these findings and to analyze the students’ beliefs of themselves before and after the course including the interview.


Karlsson, L. & Kjisik, F. (2011). Lifewide and lifedeep learning and the autonomous learner In: Out-of-classroom language learning. [21.2.2016]

Sahlstein, A. (2013). Skärgårdsmedicin och kultur – ”pakkoruotsia” Turun yliopiston lääketieteellisessä tiedekunnassa In: M. Maijala, M. Nelson & T. Hulkko (eds.) Kielikeskus tutkii 1, 103-114.