The relationship between L2 motivation and willingness to communicate

Mutahar Al-Murtadha (University of Otago, New Zealand)

The relationship between the recently proposed theory of L2 motivational self system (Dörnyei, 2005, 2009) and L2 willingness to communicate (WTC) remains largely under-researched. The present study explored the relationships among the three components of the L2 motivational self system (ideal L2 self, ought-to L2 self, and L2 learning experience), traditional social-psychological L2 motivation constructs, L2 WTC (inside and outside the classroom), national development (Islam, Lamb & Chambers, 2013), and a proposed new construct, technological interest. The study also explored which of these constructs predicted L2 intended learning effort. A comprehensive questionnaire data were collected from over 900 high school and university EFL learners in the Yemeni under-researched context. Data were entered into SPSS and analyzed using regression analysis. The results showed that ideal L2 self was strongly predicted by intended learning effort, L2 learning experience, technological interest, and L2 WTC outside the classroom. Ought-to L2 self was predicted by national development, technological interest, and L2 anxiety. L2 learning experience was predicted by intended learning effort, ideal L2 self and L2 WTC outside the classroom. With respect to the WTC constructs, L2 WTC inside the classroom was predicted by L2 WTC outside the classroom, L2 anxiety, and L2 learning experience while L2 WTC outside the classroom was predicted by ideal L2 self and technological interest. However, both L2 WTC inside the classroom and L2 WTC outside the classroom were predicted by imagination. Finally, intended learning effort was predicted by ideal L2 self, L2 learning experience, L2 WTC inside the classroom and national development. These results will be discussed based on the socio-educational context of Yemen and will be compared with results of previous studies.


Autonomous language learning and Framework of reference for pluralistic approach FREPA descriptors: a possible match?

Laura Ambrosio (University of Ottawa, Canada)

The autonomy of learners in language learning, and through language learning as well as the training of teachers and the elaboration of new practices in language teacher’s education, are some of the European Center for Modern Languages (ECML) initiatives, part of long term plan, supported by the Council of Europe, ”Learning through Languages”. Among the results of these projects there is a Framework of reference for pluralistic approaches (FREPA). The resources proposed by this framework fosters the continuity of interaction between different linguistic realities with the same goal: sharing knowledge discovery and respect for the culture of the other. This framework is a practical example of knowledge conceptualized and operationalized that can be integrated in a teacher preparation and professional development context. In this presentation, we will parallel this initiative and tool with another perspective chosen by many researchers and practitioners who have integrated in their courses a learning component acquired and evaluated through experiential learning projects with community partners as a widespread way to learn in an autonomous or semi-autonomous way. Through a qualitative analysis of data gathered over 7 years with approximately 400 university students, we will look at the connection between guidelines, scopes and challenges associated with community service learning evaluation descriptors and the role of language constructs and context in language learning as presented by the FREPA and the CEFR descriptors. This links the broader theme of assessment tasks, similar to those that examinees might encounter in real-life contexts and content, with the recognized representation and value of experiential language learning in the community, and the value of assessment based on students’ journals used as an essential reflection and evaluation component. We will discuss the challenges existing between language learning course objectives and learning outcomes and the integration of an optional or compulsory community learning experience.


Psychological aspects of SLA: How gender and personality traits (i-e) direct an L2 acquisition process in teenage learners

Sonja Babic (Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt, Austria)

From about 1970s, in the time of ’cognitive revolution’ in psychology, emotions have been given considerably less importance than the cognitive aspects. However, in 1998 Rosenberg coins the term affective factors arguing that emotions constitute enduring aspects of our personality. At the present time scholars are in general agreement that these aspects strongly influence behavior, cognition and emotions. This case study investigates how pupils’ affective traits, strictly speaking introversion and extraversion, influence an overall L2 language competence. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected in two secondary schools in Serbia, whereby the overall sample includes 295 participants. Pupils were given a test battery consisted of three major parts: a) personal data sheet; b) C-Test; and c) Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ). By means of correlation analysis a negative relationship between the two variables, C-Test and introversion-extraversion continuum, is established. This relationship suggests that the lower score on the dimension of introversion relates to higher language test score, and vice versa. These findings indicate that introverted characteristics in teenage learners of English as a second language in the two secondary schools are beneficial for acquiring language in the school environment. Nevertheless, the research has also shown an enormous disparity between the male and female learners. First discovery reveals that males are generally more successful learners than the females; whereby, a high statistical difference between the two groups of learners is obtained. The final results reveal that a high language competence in female learners increases with introverted characteristics, while extraversion is beneficial for successful language acquisition in male learners.

References:

Arabski, Janusz. 2011. Individual Learner Differences in SLA. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Dörnyei, Zoltan. 2009. The Psychology of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Creating a study abroad culture of engagement

Kirk Belnap, Jennifer Bown, Thomas Bown (Brigham Young University, USA)

Culture shock and unrealistic expectations about language learning frequently result in students losing sight of the vision that once motivated them to study abroad. Because interpersonal communication is inextricably linked with one’s sense of identity and well-being (Norton 2000), language learning, especially in intensive study abroad contexts, can be particularly bruising to one’s sense of self-worth (Pellegrino Aveni 2005). As a result, many fail to fully embrace their learning opportunities and retreat into ”home cultural islands” (Wilkinson 1998). Recent research points to the need for interventions to help students make more of their study abroad experiences (Trentman 2012). In 2010, Project Perseverance was launched to help learners maximize their experience, but some key interventions, such as journaling, were not welcomed. Each new cohort of students, however, has learned from case studies of previous years, leading more and more students to embrace these interventions. In 2015, the 46 students of Arabic studying in Amman, Jordan realized the largest oral proficiency gains to date; they also wrote significantly more in their learning journals than previous students. We will report on qualitative analysis of journal entries, emphasizing individual and contextual themes that explain the students’ success. Furthermore, the expressive content of the entries will be quantitatively assessed to show how the entries may have facilitated student self-regulation. In short, we will report on a new culture of Arabic study abroad that appears to be emerging.

References

Norton, Bonnie. 2000. Identity and Language Learning. London: Longman.

Pellegrino Aveni, Valerie. 2005. Study Abroad and Second Language Use: Constructing the self. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Trentman, Emma G. 2012. Study abroad in Egypt: Identity, access, and Arabic language learning. Michigan State University Dissertation.

Wilkinson, Sharon. 1998. On the nature of immersion during study abroad: Some participant perspectives. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad 4, 121-138.


Enaction: Language learners and teachers as people-in-situation

Stephen Scott Brewer (Université Paris Est Créteil / ESPE, France)

As a teacher educator, with an interest in the psychology of learning, I wonder about how to help teachers become aware of and manage their personal relationship to the kind of knowledge that explains things and to the kind of know-how that gets things done. For many students pursuing degrees in education, developing their theoretical understanding of teaching at university can enter into counterproductive competition with what they perceive as a more pressing need to master the practice of teaching in the classroom. As language education theorists and researchers, we ourselves wrestle with numerous dichotomies and tensions at the heart of the paradoxes that motivate us to inquire into the complex nature of the language learning-teaching process. Such tensions concern the nature of language and its development, the nature of proficient human functioning as well as that of ourselves as (meta)conscious beings. Our epistemological assumptions about people, learning and reality are of the utmost pragmatic importance. In order to further explore the ”situated nature of language learner psychology” (Mercer et al., 2012, p. 244), this paper presents a theoretical framework for learning and teaching known as ”enaction” (Masciotra et al., 2007). Calling for a radical reframing of old constructs such as situation, competence and representation, enaction ”expresses the inextricable and interdependent links between the two opposite poles of [what is referred to as] the situating/situated dialectic” (ibid., p. vii). With deep implications for the theory and practice of language teaching and learning, enaction introduces several novel concepts that can enrich our understanding of what it means to be an active being-in-the-world.

References:

Masciotra, D., Roth, W.-M., & Morel, D. (2007). Enaction: Toward a Zen Mind in Learning and Teaching. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Mercer, S., Ryan, S., & Williams, M. (2012). Psychology for Language Learning. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.


Critical incidents in classroom assessment – adolescent learners’ beliefs about foreign language assessment

Anna Czura (University of Wroclaw, Poland)

Language learner beliefs are typically collected by means of questionnaires, BALLI being the most prominent example. However, nowadays research on teacher and learner beliefs is undergoing a paradigmatic shift towards more qualitative approaches. Accordingly, in the present study, the data on learner beliefs were collected by means of critical incident technique (CIT) in which, without any additional prompts from the researcher, it is left to the learners to select and interpret experiences they considered important. The application of CIT aimed to gain in-depth insight into learners’ subjective evaluations of different assessment techniques they experienced in the language classroom. Additionally, content analysis of the critical incidents was hoped to add to the understanding of learner beliefs concerning language assessment as well as emotions and coping strategies such assessment engendered. In total 25 lower secondary school learners (aged 14-16) were invited to take part in an oral interview and to reflect on one positive and one negative experience of being assessed in the course of their language education. The results indicate that the respondents hold predominantly positive beliefs concerning language assessment they have been subjected to. Even though the research was conducted in a relatively traditional and grade-oriented education system, in their accounts of positive critical incidents the learners expressed preference for performance assessment and formative approaches to providing corrective feedback. Conversely, the importance of grades was emphasized mainly in cases when, in learners’ opinion, different properties of good assessment were violated or learners experienced some degree of unfairness.


Role of implicit translation in Second Language Acquisition: A phenomenological study of Urdu-English bilinguals

Aneela Gill (National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad, Pakistan)

The study hypothesizes that less proficient Urdu-English bilinguals accomplish their second language processing (both in speech and writing) by implicitly translating from Urdu into English. The phenomenon of implicit translation in bilinguals has already been investigated using ERP (event-related potentials) priming paradigm (Thierry and Wu, 2007; Wu and Thierry, 2010; Holzen and Mani, 2014). The current study set out to explore the same phenomenon qualitatively using phenomenological paradigm of asking the participants about how they experienced the phenomenon, that is, if there was a role of implicit translation in their second language processing or not and if so, in what terms they defined the role of implicit translation for themselves in their use of the second language, English, and also if there was an increase or decrease in implicit translation with their developing second language proficiency. For this purpose, the data was collected from 15 less proficient and 15 highly proficient Urdu-English bilinguals. Both the groups were further divided into 3 sub-groups of 5 each for 3 different phenomenological methods of data collection, namely: semi-structured life-world interviews, focus group discussions, and essay writing. The analysis of data revealed that the participants experienced a facilitation effect of implicit translation in their second language processing. The highly proficient bilinguals considered the phenomenon an essential tool which helped them acquire proficiency in a second language.


Identifying learner engagement in an early foreign language classroom.

Ewa Guz, Malgorzata Tetiurka (The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Poland)

Learner engagement is a multifaceted construct relating to human behaviour, cognition and affect (Christenson et al., 2012; Finn and Zimmer, 2012). Broadly defined as the extent and manner of involvement manifested by learners in relation to academic tasks, engagement captures such aspects of learner activity as concentration, commitment, interest in and enthusiasm for classroom tasks, as well as learner response to classroom interaction (Fredericks et al., 2004; Janosz, 2012; Schernoff, 2013). In this paper we adopt an on-task, local, short-term, classroom perspective on learner engagement which focuses on the individual ”in the moment” experience of the learner (Lawson and Masyn, 2014: 2) that can be explored in the context of a specific lesson/task serving specific pedagogic goals (Anderman and Patrick, 2012). The analysis is based on 45 video recordings of English lessons conducted by trainee teachers in a range of local primary schools. The data include learner verbal and non-verbal contributions to classroom interaction. The goal is to identify what we have labelled ’periods of heightened engagement’ (PHEs), that is, those stretches of lesson time where learner engagement is at its highest. Here, the focus is on learners’ behavioural engagement, that is, the external, observable, action-oriented performance and the degree and consistency of actual participation in specific activities. For each of the identified PHEs, a description of learner behaviour is provided along with our interpretation of what kind of engagement it is indicative of. In total, 69 PHEs are identified in our data, with 24 lessons (53%) showing no evidence of PHEs at all, and 21 lessons (47%) featuring multiple instances of heightened engagement. We seek to isolate a common core of potential areas for observing engagement along with a set of actual verbal and non-verbal indicators of engaged classroom behaviour.

References

Eyenck, Hans Jürgen. 1981. A Model for Personality. Edited by Hans Jürgen Eyenck. Berlin: Springer.


Individual learning strategies by students of Swedish and Finnish as a L2 in Sweden, Finland and France

Susanna Hakulinen (University of Tampere, Finland & Paris-Sorbonne University, France)

The purpose of this study is to inquire how academic level students of Swedish or Finnish as a Second Language strive for communicative competence in three countries: Finland, Sweden and France. The aspects of individual learning strategies and social networks are explored together with how the students perceive and self-evaluate themselves as language learners. I will present various tendencies between the students of the countries in question while taking into account the ecolinguistic learner context. On the one hand, Finnish and Swedish have a different status in Finland and in Sweden. On the other hand, both languages seem quite exotic to the French students’ ears. Thirdly, the languages are not present in the same way in all of the countries. I shall take a deeper look at the language learning phenomenon anchored in space and time. The presented results are based on my field studies conducted in 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 for my French-Finnish Cotutelle. My data consists of 97 hours of semi-structured interviews with both students and their teachers, 99 questionaries and hours of participant observations during language classes with special focus on oral expression. This ecolinguistic research will expectantly provide new insights into the domain of second language acquisition in a culture specific context.


Intensive group projects: Directed motivational currents in language classrooms

Alastair Henry (University West, Sweden) & Pia Sundqvist (Karlstad University, Sweden)

In SLA, research on motivation is generally conducted with large samples of learners (in questionnaire-based surveys), or selected individuals (using interview- and/or ethnographic-inspired methodologies). For practitioners, however, the unit of analysis of greatest interest is the group. Drawing on theories of group-level motivation, Dörnyei and colleagues (2016) argue that collective flows of motivational energy can be generated in language learning classrooms when students work with an ’intensive group project’ (IGP). An IGP is a learning sequence involving an extended task, that is addressed collectively, that has a common goal, and where students have autonomy to fully engage.

Purpose

Because group-level DMCs have not been empirically investigated, the purpose of this research is to discover (i) whether projects with IGP features can be found in language classrooms, and (ii) whether such projects generate the type of intense motivation described by Dörnyei and colleagues.

Method

A questionnaire containing the open question ’Describe an activity or task that you have carried out with your pupils which you experience has motivated them’, was sent to teachers of English in grades 6–9 (n=252) from a randomly-drawn sample of schools in Sweden (n=64). Completed questionnaires containing activity descriptions were obtained from 94 teachers. 9 activities closely fitting the IGP blueprint were identified. These teachers were contacted and interviewed.

Results

All 9 projects generated motivation of an intensity and duration over and above that which the teachers normally experienced among students. This was true not only for those teachers who employed a variety of pedagogical strategies, but also those who frequently worked with projects. Analyses of the salient features of the 9 projects, and teachers’ descriptions of students’ motivation are presented and critically examined.

References

Dörnyei, Z., Henry, A., & Muir, C. (2016). Motivational currents in language learning: Frameworks for focused interventions. New York: Routledge.


Psychological aspects of Computer Adaptive Testing: loss of learning self-efficacy and motivation

Tetsuo Kimura (Niigata Seiryo University, Japan) & Yukie Koyama (Nagoya Institute of Technology, Japan)

One of the advantages of computer adaptive testing (CAT) is generally regarded as shortening test length without losses in accuracy. In order to achieve this advantage, most CAT algorithms select items that each test-taker should be able to answer correctly at 50% chance level because it maximizes test information for each test-taker. However, previous studies suggested that experience of taking CAT discourages students and may cause backwash effects such as loss of learning self-efficacy and motivation because most of them felt the test had been ”difficult,” and many felt ”discouraged” or ”unsatisfied” with the experience. The authors developed Moodle-based CAT system with a corpus-driven lexical item bank for ESP. About 300 Japanese university freshmen took the five CATs with different item selection rules using the same corpus-driven lexical item bank. The first CAT selected 16 items that test-takers should be able to answer correctly at 50% chance level (rather difficult items). The second CAT selected 25 items that test-takers should be able to answer correctly at 80% chance level (easier items). The third, fourth and fifth CATs selected 19 items with mixed targeted item difficulties: 11 rather difficult items and eight easier items. The third CAT selected easier items for the first eight items, while the fourth CAT selected easier items for the last eight items. The fifth CAT selected easier items for both the first and the last four items. Theoretically these five CATs are supposed to reach about the same measurement precision. Following the authors’ previous studies, the test-takers were asked about their feelings immediately after each CAT administration in order to reveal how they feel about each CAT and which type of CAT they prefer. The details of the results will be presented and discussed at the conference.


The role of gender and language learning strategies in language curriculum planning

Yasuko Koshiyama, Jonathan Aliponga & Hajime Ito (Kansai University of International Studies, Japan)

Looking back after four decades from researchers and educators of English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as Foreign Language (EFL) for how languages were learned differently by individual learners, learner strategy has received increasing attention (Chang, 1999; Cohen, 1998; Rubin, 1975). The relationship of the use of language learning strategies with success in learning a second or foreign language has been investigated in many research studies. Several scholars in the fields of SLA have addressed the influence of gender and language learning strategy use on language learning outcomes, and have found out that gender that can affect language use and acquisition as a result of biological, psychological effects, or socio-cultural influences differences between language use and acquisition. Considering the fact that language learning strategies and gender can promote language achievement, we were very much interested in investigating the strategies male and female students from Southeast Asian countries used in learning Japanese language and English language. In this presentation, we will show how the results, which are important part of our needs analysis, will be integrated into our hybrid language curriculum. In the hybrid language program that we are developing, foreign students, together with the Japanese students, will take English courses and Japanese courses together. We hope that the results of this research project will benefit EFL/ESL language curriculum planners, researchers and teachers not only in other Asian countries, but worldwide, too.


Inclusive practices in teaching students with dyslexia: Foreign language teachers’ concerns, attitudes and self-efficacy beliefs on a massive open online learning course

Judit Kormos (Lancaster University, UK) & Joanna Nijakowska (University of Lodz, Poland)

Self-efficacy beliefs, attitudes and self-confidence of teachers are key factors in implementing inclusion practices in education. The aim of the study reported in this talk was to show how effective a four-week long massive open online course on dyslexia and foreign language teaching was in raising foreign language teachers’ self-confidence, self-efficacy and attitudes to using inclusive educational practices with dyslexic students. We also wanted to find out how these factors change as a result of participation in the online course. The online questionnaire survey of two cohorts, before (n=1956) and after the course (n=1132), showed a significant increase in self-efficacy beliefs, self-confidence, and knowledge of what dyslexia is but indicated no significant change in concerns and attitudes. The results revealed that before the course those who had previous training on dyslexia, experience teaching dyslexic students and longer teaching experience in general had significantly higher self-efficacy beliefs than those who had no prior training, no experience teaching dyslexic students and lower teaching experience in general. We also observed that before the course those with longer teaching experience had higher self-efficacy beliefs, but they also reported to be more concerned about meeting the needs of dyslexic students than less experienced teachers. The differences among participants with regard to previous training and general teaching experience, however, disappeared by the end of the course. These findings suggest that the course was effective in raising teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs irrespective of prior training and teaching experience. Participation in the course, operationalised as the number of units completed, the number of comments written, and the number of replies written to comments, was moderately strongly associated with post-course self-efficacy beliefs and attitudes. Our survey suggests that active involvement in an online teacher training course can contribute to the development of participants’ self-efficacy beliefs and foster positive attitudes to inclusion.


The psychology of language learning and the science of the individual

Diane Larsen-Freeman (University of Michigan, USA)

Research on the psychology of language learning is no different from other social science research in that it has typically assumed implicitly that insights about a population apply to individuals. Arguing again this assumption, Rose, Rouhani, and Fischer propose a ”science of the individual.” Indeed, a science, centered on individual variability, has contributed an important perspective in many fields, including cell biology, cancer, neuroscience, and psychology. Along these same lines, over the past two decades, a substantial body of evidence, informed by Complexity Theory and/or Dynamic Systems Theory, has demonstrated that inferring development about individuals from aggregating information about a population is flawed due to pervasive inter-individual variability (e.g., Larsen-Freeman & Cameron, 2008). The evidence also points to high degree of intra-individual variability, depending on the spatio-temporal-social context. Both types of variability force us to shift perspectives and to expect multiple language learning pathways. In this paper, I will argue that focusing on the individual learner does not mean that we have to jettison generalizing (Van Geert, 2011), nor does it mean that we should not report about groups. What it does mean is that we have to adopt new tools of investigation (Harris, 2015), and cultivate new attitudes towards the importance of the individual in language learning. In return, we will be rewarded by new insights into language learning, and we will make possible better interaction between the two discourse communities of researchers and teachers.

References:

Harris, K. (2015). The single case experiment. NEP/15 Educational Psychology, pp. 1-2.

Larsen-Freeman, D., & Cameron, L. (2008). Complex systems and applied linguistics. Oxford University Press.

Rose, L. T., Rouhani, P., & Fischer, K. W. (2013). The science of the individual. Mind, Brain, and Education. 7, 152-158.

Van Geert, P. (2011). The contribution of complex dynamic systems to development. Child Development Perspectives, 5, 273-278.


Dynamics in interaction in bilingual team teaching in a Finnish preschool classroom

Karita Mård-Miettinen (University of Vaasa, Finland) & Åsa Palviainen (University of Jyväskylä, Finland)

In our presentation we focus on dynamic patterns of interaction between teachers in a bilingual preschool classroom in Finland. As for context, we selected a typical team-teaching routine in Finnish preschools: circle time. The data consist of two video-recorded circle times (about 30 minutes each) team taught by two teachers. One of them had a predefined role as a Finnish speaker while the other was assigned a bilingual, Swedish/Finnish-speaking role. In the two recorded sessions, they also had predefined pedagogical roles: the Finnish-speaking teacher was in charge of both circle times, with the bilingual teacher acting as a co-teacher. All the recorded material was transcribed and categorized and analysed for activity (categorized according to their content, e.g. calendar, reading books, etc.) participant roles (type of leadership, Park 2014) and language use and distribution. The results showed that all the three types of leadership in Park (co-leadership, single leadership, alternated leadership) were present during the course of the circle times. There was also flexibility in how the predefined language roles were implemented: both teachers communicated monolingually as well as bilingually in the various circle time activities and used both disciplinary and instructional register. We further selected three activities – each representing one type of leadership – for a micro-level analysis of teacher turn-taking patterns and language practices. The microanalysis showed that the bilingual teacher who had the main responsibility of the bilingual pedagogy adapted her language use to the communication situation, using equal amounts of the two languages when single-leading an activity and more Swedish when co-leading an activity. Further, the Finnish-speaking teacher gave the floor to the bilingual teacher to create opportunities for the children to receive Swedish input whenever she asked for it.

References

Park, J-E. (2014). English co-teaching and teacher collaboration: a micro-interactional perspective. System, 44, 34–44.


Making meaning with objects: A multimodal analysis of children’s reasoning

Katalin Nagy (University of Jyväskylä, Finland)

This qualitative study presents how 9 year-old Hungarian students negotiate power relationships between each other through they relation to objects. In the context of a video-recorded experiment, pairs of students were asked to choose 7 objects out of 14 to take with themselves to a deserted island. The presentation will provide insight into how object appropriations (i. e. children taking away objects from each other or replacing an object their partner had chosen) were used to create power relations between the interactors. Although the interactional view of power is known in psychological literature, a little is known about how the power relations evolve at the micro-level of communication. To investigate this, multimodal interaction analysis is applied. Although information has already been collected about gestures, it can be argued that a wider range of kinetic activities is in use in everyday interaction and working with material artefacts is an important dimension. It is already known that students better solve mathematical problems and create justifications with the help of tools, but there is a lack of information on how kinetic practices contribute in social meaning-making. To fill this gap, this study explores: 1. How object appropriation is involved in children’s argumentation and 2. how these practices contributed in the consensual formation of power relations between the partners. The microanalysis suggested that taking away an object could be used in opposite meaning, either as an acceptance or a rejection of the partner’s choice. Therefore a mere listing of the object-related movements did not seem sufficient in interpreting their situated meanings and role in argumentation. The findings indicate that in further research the multimodal analysis of action sequences should be extended to the complete range of sensory-motor activities in order to understand how meaning making takes place in everyday situations.


Second language learning dynamics – Verb and complement competing for the attention of the learner?

Eeva Nikkola (University of Jyväskylä, Finland)

If we look at the grammar as emergent dynamic system, we can see it evolving according to rules that are difficult to predict. Nevertheless, second language teaching relies on the presumption that learning proceeds in piecemeal fashion: some things are learned before others in order to reach native-like way of expression. The basic assumption of this research goes beyond the accuracy and complexity of three different learner groups in comparison: the scope of this study is to find some prevalent linguistic features and morphosyntactic representations that distinguish L2 variation from target language (Finnish) variation, and variation between the three different age groups. The data of this study consists of 1180 morphosyntactic units of language learner groups (children, youngsters and adults). Linguistic structures are subdivided into inflectional categories which, together with syntactic arguments, form a meaningful unit. By taking a root morpheme and extracting it from the inflectional morpheme, we explore the degree of elaboration in the expression. Each morpheme is labeled as a native-like morpheme, a zero-morpheme, a form-function error or as reduplication. We will reach another level of analysis by taking each predicate verb and looking for its counterparts in complements. Each predicate-complement combination counts as a marker of a possible fragile zone in the language learner’s emergent grammar. Preliminary results suggest that the synchronic variation between the conjugation and declension processes is not completely free. Instead it seems that a language learner of Finnish puts the cognitive effort to each of which separately. This is demonstrated with a principal component analysis and Chi-square test. It is noteworthy to pay attention to the clear distinction of processing patterns. The analysis indicates that second language learning is rooted firstly to the automatized verb conjugations and secondly to declensions which cause somewhat more variability in the form.


Influence of learner beliefs and gender on the motivating power of future L2 selves

Tomoko Yashima (Kansai University, Japan) & Rieko Nishida (Osaka University, Japan)

L2 motivational self-system theory is a widely used framework in motivation research. While many studies have confirmed the link between both ideal and ought-to selves and motivational intensity to learn the L2, little research has validated the theory using an objective measure of L2 proficiency. This study fills the gap by investigating not only the influence of ideal and ought-to L2 selves on intended effort to learn the language but also this link’s potential for predicting L2 proficiency (RQ1). In addition, we investigate as possible antecedents beliefs about effective teaching and learning methods – namely a communicative orientation and a grammar-translation orientation – L2 learners come to acquire through their learning history as well as the influence these beliefs may have on future selves (RQ2). Further, following Henry (2009), we explore the part gender differences may play in the processes investigated in RQs 1 and 2. (RQ3). A total of 2,242 university freshmen responded to a questionnaire designed to assess the following constructs: ideal self, ought-to self, intended learning effort, communicative orientation to L2 learning, and grammar-translation orientation to L2 learning. Proficiency was measured as scores on the ITP TOEFL test. Structural equation modeling (SEM) confirmed that stronger visions of ideal and ought-to selves lead learners to make greater effort, which in turn results in higher proficiency. It was also found that while a communicative orientation influences ideal L2 self more strongly than a grammar-translation orientation, the latter influences ought-to L2 self more strongly. Regarding gender differences, female respondents scored higher on ideal self, intended effort, proficiency, and communicative orientation. The results of multiple-group SEM revealed that the influence of ideal self on intended effort was stronger among female students than among male students, while the reverse was true of ought-to self.


A strategic perspective on L2 speech fluency: Exploring individual repertoires of fluency resources

Pauliina Peltonen (University of Turku, Finland)

L2 fluency research has mostly focused on quantitative comparisons between learner groups. High within-group variations found in the use of filled pauses (FPs) and repair features (e.g. repetition; see e.g. Kahng 2014) suggest that these features are multifunctional and affected by individual differences. Instead of being straightforward ’disfluency markers’, FPs and repairs can even contribute to fluency by reducing time spent in silence. Despite these findings, learners’ individual means for maintaining fluency have received little attention in L2 fluency studies. To address this gap in research, the present study introduces the Fluency Resources Framework for studying how learners use problem-solving mechanisms to keep the flow of talk going. Fluency resources include stalling mechanisms (e.g. FPs and repetitions) that help in coping with processing time pressure (see Dörnyei & Kormos 1998) and communication strategies (CSs) that aid in overcoming lexis-related problems. Although strategic competence is likely to contribute to fluency, the connection between CSs and fluency has not previously been studied empirically. In the presentation, I will first briefly discuss general tendencies in the types and uses of fluency resources in dialogue data from Finnish learners of English (20 ninth graders, 15-year-olds, and 30 upper secondary school students, 17–18-year-olds). After that, selected subjects’ individual repertoires of fluency resources will be discussed. In addition to illustrating how learners use various mechanisms to maintain fluency during a problem-solving task, stimulated recall data will be presented to highlight the subjects’ views of their own strategy use.

References

Dörnyei, Z. & Kormos, J. (1998). Problem-solving mechanisms in L2 communication: A psycholinguistic perspective. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 20: 349–385.

Kahng, J. (2014). Exploring utterance and cognitive fluency of L1 and L2 English speakers: Temporal measures and stimulated recall. Language Learning 64: 809–854.


Processes of lexical attrition in multilinguals: A study of lexical problem-solving behaviour

Verena Platzgummer & Ulrike Jessner (University of Innsbruck, Austria)

Multilingual development is a “nonlinear and complex dynamic process depending on a number of interacting factors” (Jessner, 2008). Throughout a multilingual speaker’s lifetime, his or her language systems constantly change and adapt to communicative needs. By recognising the dynamic nature of language development, one also needs to acknowledge it as consisting of two complementary processes: language acquisition and language attrition. Whereas the former has always been a major research focus, the latter has remained under-researched by comparison. The present study thus explores if L4 lexical attrition can be observed in the writing performance of young multilingual adults after a period of non-use of L4. It also examines if the learners’ lexical problem-solving changes after this period. The study includes 30 young quadrilingual (German, Italian, English and French) adults from South Tyrol, Italy. The participants performed a letter-writing task in L4 French before and after a 1-1.5 year period of non-use of L4. The study is based on the writing products and on introspective data on the writing process in the form of concurrent and retrospective protocols. An analysis of the writing products failed to show a significant decrease in lexical diversity. However, an increase in the occurrence of lexical problems in the concurrent protocols indicates that lexical attrition did take place. Furthermore, interpersonal variation was found in the participants’ lexical problem-solving behaviour: they differed both in the kinds of strategies they applied and in their attitude towards lexical problems. On the other hand, the individual participants applied similar problem-solving strategies at both test times. This suggests that individual learners might possess a certain style for lexical problem-solving that remains fairly consistent even after prolonged non-use of L4.

References

Jessner, U. (2008). A DST model of multilingualism and the role of metalinguistic awareness. The Modern Language Journal, 92(2), 270–283.


How assessment affects individuals: The impact of assessment on students’ experiences of their EFL studies in a Finnish upper secondary school

Pirjo Pollari (Teacher Training School, University of Jyväskylä, Finland)

Assessment has a great impact on students. It determines whether students have succeeded or not and may also affect their future choices, for instance. Therefore, it may motivate students externally but also cause them stress and anxiety. Yet, there is little research on how students experience assessment and its power in general, let alone in foreign or second language studies. To find out how students at our school experienced assessment and its effects on their learning, agency, motivation and self-efficacy, for instance, a total of 146 students answered a web-based questionnaire dealing with assessment and feedback during their English (as FL) upper secondary studies. The results showed that most students were quite satisfied with assessment and its effects. However, there were also very different experiences. For instance, there were students who felt undermined and distressed by assessment, and, subsequently, some of them had lost their motivation to study English as well as their belief in themselves as learners of English. Then again, some students did not seem to be affected by assessment in the least. What might explain the individuals’ diverse, even contrasting, reactions to assessment and feedback in one school where assessment and feedback methods do not presumably differ very much? This presentation focuses on four individual student cases that showcase very different experiences of and reactions to assessment and feedback. Although individual students, they also represent larger groups of students with somewhat similar experiences and reactions. The presentation will also look for possible explanations or predictors for these differing experiences and draws on mixed methods and data, both quantitative and qualitative, in its analyses.


Tolerance of ambiguity in advanced language learners and language professionals

Alexandra Rosiers, June Eyckmans (Ghent University, Belgium)

In recent years socio-psychological language research has influenced the fields of translation and interpreting studies resulting in a growing interest in personality traits such as extraversion, emotional stability, self-efficacy and risk-taking as relevant constructs of translator competence and interpreter aptitude (Hubscher-Davidson, 2009; Jiménez Ivars, Pinazo Catalayud, & Ruiz i Forés, 2014). In an earlier study, we looked into personality differences in student interpreters, student translators and students in multilingual communication. Our investigation of five personality dimensions – social initiative, open-mindedness, flexibility, cultural empathy and emotional stability –, showed that student interpreters are more likely to take initiative in social encounters than the other two groups and that they also have a higher degree of emotional stability (authors, submitted). In this follow-up study, we focus on tolerance of ambiguity (TA). TA is generally described as the ability to manage situations that are new, complex or insoluble. These types of situations seem to be inherent to the translation and interpreting practice. In this study we used the Tolerance for Ambiguity Scale (Herman, Stevens, Bird, Mendenhall, and Oddou, 2010) to measure the TA of the three student populations (n=60) and two professional populations of interpreters (n=22) and translators (n=20). The results indicate a significant difference between interpreters and translators at the professional level. In this presentation, we will discuss these results and consider their relevance for training.

References

Herman, J. L., Stevens, M. J., Bird, A., Mendenhall, M., & Oddou, G. (2010). The Tolerance for Ambiguity Scale: Towards a more refined measure for international management research. IJIR, 34(1), 58-65.

Hubscher-Davidson, S. E. (2009). Personal diversity and diverse personalities in translation: a study of individual differences. Perspectives, 17(3), 175-192.

Jiménez Ivars, A., Pinazo Catalayud, D., & Ruiz i Forés, M. (2014). Self-efficacy and language proficiency in interpreter trainees. The Interpreter and Translator Trainer, 8(2), 167-182.


How does the linguistic distance between spoken and standard language in Arabic affect recall and recognition performances during verbal memory examination

Haitham Taha (Sakhnin College for Education, Israel)

Diglossia in Arabic is manifested by the existence of two linguistic branches of the language, the spoken and the standard language. The current research examined how the performance on verbal learning memory in Arabic can be affected by this lingual situation. Thirty native Arab college students were tested using auditory verbal memory test that was adapted according to the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT) and developed in three versions: Pure spoken language version (SL), pure standard language version (SA), and Phonologically similar version (PS). The testing procedure contained three major parts: free recall, delayed recall and recognition. The result showed that for immediate free-recall, the performances were better for the SL and the PS conditions compared to the SA one. However, for the parts of delayed recall and recognition, the results did not reveal any significant consistent effect of diglossia. Accordingly, it was suggested that diglossia has a significant effect on the storage and short term memory functions but not on the process of delayed recall and recognition which are associated with long term memory functions. The results were discussed in light of different approaches in the field of bilingual memory and the Arabic-diglossia effect on the short and long term memory functions.


Self-efficacy of English listening skills in Japanese college EFL freshmen: Quantitative and qualitative analyses

Yuichi Todaka (Miyazaki Municipal University, Japan)

The present study is the third in a series of studies on self-efficacy of English listening skills in Japanese college EFL freshmen. Based on our 2014 study, our students were able to improve their English listening skills throughout the academic year at the 95 percent confidence level; however, Usher and Pajares (2008) noted that research into self-efficacy has predominantly relied upon quantitative measures. The present study therefore employed both quantitative and qualitative analyses to better understand the causes of unmotivated and distracted behaviors among students. Furthermore, the essential development of a cycle of self-regulated learning (Bridges, DiPietro, Lovett, & Norman, 2010) was focused upon to promote better learning strategies and to maintain motivation to study English. Based upon the quantitative and qualitative analyses, we found that (1) all the students except for advanced students made significant improvements on TOEIC during the first term.; (2) all the students except for intermediate II students made significant improvements on self-efficacy; (3) a positive correlation between English listening skills and self-efficacy was found; (4) the establishment of (new) concrete English study reasons have to be prioritized before English activities targeted to enhance self-efficacy can help Japanese college EFL freshmen sustain their motivation to study English; (5) much more consideration needs to be given to help Japanese college EFL learners understand the importance of study plans to carry out necessary tasks to improve their English listening skills; (6) time management skills to prioritize English study need to be taught to help distracted freshmen set a time to improve their English listening skills; and (7) individualized educational guidance sessions need to be re-implemented in our English curricular activities to help Japanese college EFL freshmen understand the significance of time management skills, and of self-regulated skills. Based on the findings, suggestions for further studies will be made.


The role of peer editing in first and second language writing

Satu von Boehm, Marja Suojala (University of Helsinki, Finland)

In the past few decades, peer editing has established its place in teaching languages and writing. Peer editing is based on a view on learning where knowledge is actively and jointly constructed, shared and discussed. Giving and receiving feedback on their own writing strengthens students’ analytic approaches to language and writing by enhancing their metacognitive and self-regulation skills (Orsmond et al. 2013, Nicol & Macfarlane-Dick 2006), thus increasing their motivation to write. Peer editing is part of a social culture of learning and assessment where students’ agency plays a central role (Sadler 2010, Virtanen et al. 2015). In this presentation, we explore students’ peer editing experiences in writing and language courses at the university level. Our results are based on a student questionnaire (N=149) focusing on peer editing as a process. The students are from various levels of language learning, from A1-level students of French to B2- and C1-level students of English to students writing in their mother tongue, Finnish. The presentation focuses on what the students perceive as the benefits from the peer editing process, what kind of difficulties they find with the approach and what their views are on the relation between peer and teacher feedback. The results show that most students have a positive view on peer editing. Our results also indicate that peer editing is a successful approach even at beginner-level language courses, but what the students gain from peer editing at that level is different from what more advanced learners find useful. Moreover, there are individual differences in what is considered difficult in the process. Some respondents wanted to emphasize the fact that although they appreciate peer feedback, they find it necessary to get feedback from the language teacher as well. More details and pedagogical implications are discussed in the presentation.


Differences in how individual EFL learners parse English sentences? The five sentence types

Kozo Yanagawa (Hosei University, Japan)

Parsing is a crucial L2 (second language) processing step, after the input text is perceived and recognized. This study aims to reveal differences in how individual EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learners parse English sentences. The Five Sentence Types, or Five Canonical Clause Structures framework, which has long been used in ELT (English Language Teaching) at secondary schools in Japan, has historically facilitated L2 processing. However, new ELT approaches such as CLT (Communicative Language Teaching) or CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) place less emphasis on lower-level processing or parsing, than on achieving communication goals. Despite this paradigm shift in ELT, little research has been conducted into how EFL learners now parse input text, and how relevant parsing is at different proficiency levels. These are important and imminent issues, as they will provide insight into how parsing should be taught within new ELT paradigms, as well as how grammar should be taught at secondary schools. This study aims to reveal how Japanese EFL learners today process input text, using the conventional framework of the Five Sentence Types (Research Question 1), how their processing differs according to their proficiency level (Research Question 2), and how their processing differs from that of native speakers of English and Japanese teachers of English (Research Question 3). A pilot study of 248 university students was conducted to verify the unidimensionality of a 36-item diagnosis test. This report presents the results of the main study of 300 university students who completed the diagnosis test. Factor and/or cluster analysis, and correlation analysis on standardized test scores are used to answer Research Questions 1 and 2, respectively. Research Question 3 is answered through comparison and discussion of the results of Research Question 1.


L2 buoyancy: Exploring learners’ everyday resilience in the language classroom

Saerom Yun (International Graduate School of English, South Korea), Phil Hiver (International Graduate School of English, South Korea) & Ali Al-Hoorie (University of Nottingham, United Kingdom)

Recent work in language learner psychology has shown the potential contributions of positive psychology for the field of second language acquisition. This study was designed to explore the rationale for buoyancy (Martin & Marsh, 2008, 2009)–the capacity to overcome the setbacks, challenges, and pressures that are part of the ordinary course of school lifewithin the ranks of L2 learners. We begin by providing a conceptual overview of the buoyancy construct, and propose that while motivation may be critical to L2 learning success, because challenges and setbacks are an everyday reality of language learning in instructed settings (e.g., poor grades, competing deadlines, exam pressure, performance failures) the learning gains that students make can also be lost if they are not resilient to adversity and are unable to overcome the pressures that are part of the ordinary course of language learning. We then report on a study designed to investigate the buoyancy profiles of college-level L2 learners (N = 879) in South Korea. Through questionnaire data we assessed their academic buoyancy and a set of six hypothesized predictors (i.e., L2 self-efficacy, L2 self-regulation, ideal L2 self, L2 learning persistence, L2 learning anxiety, and teacher-student relationship). Using a two-step cluster analysis of this data, we identified five prominent L2 learner archetypes across the spectrum of buoyancy, ranging from the ”ideally buoyant” L2 learner to the ”academically fragile” L2 learner. We consider the implications of this novel construct for instructed L2 learning and propose that, from this perspective, buoyancy provides learners with the capacity to negotiate the ups and downs of language learning, and to overcome everyday adversities on the path to L2 learning success. We discuss these findings as a springboard for future research on the language learner using insights from positive psychology.