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The Dynamics of Possible Selves
University West, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, Division for Educational Science and Languages. (BUV)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7789-9032
2014 (English)In: Motivational dynamics in language learning / [ed] Dörnyei, Zoltán, MacIntyre, Peter D. & Henry, Alastair, Bristol: Multilingual Matters, 2014, 83-94 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Dörnyei’s recasting of L2 motivation as a process of self-discrepancy has not only generated scores of journal articles and book chapters focusing on the motivational effects of L2 self-guides, but through practitioner-oriented publications (Dörnyei & Kubanyiova, 2014; Gregersen & MacIntyre, 2013; Hadfield & Dörnyei, 2013) the Ideal L2 Self is beginning to find its way into motivational practices in the classroom. Widely recognised as potentially powerful generators of motivation, ideal L2 selves risk however being conceptualized as static constructs, fixed ‘targets’ that the individual strives to achieve or live up to. Such a view does not fit easily with the current trend in SLA towards the application of dynamic approaches. For this reason an elaboration of the dynamics of possible selves seems timely.

   In this chapter I explore two important dynamic processes. First I look at the ways in which ideal L2 selves are upward- and downwardly revised as a result of assessments of the likelihood of their achievement. I then consider processes in which changes in language speaking/using self-guides are triggered as a consequence of interactions with other self-concepts. While the identification of this first type of dynamic stems from the notion that, during a period of learning (long or short), the learner’s goalposts are likely to shift, the second is a development of the long-held recognition that motivated behaviours do not take place in relative isolation, but are shaped by the other ongoing activities in which the learner is engaged (Dörnyei, 2005; Ushioda, this volume). Before looking at these two processes, I begin by outlining three aspects of complex dynamic systems (CDS) theory of particular importance in developing an understanding of self-guide dynamics. These are, respectively, changes to attractor states, system connectedness and timescales.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bristol: Multilingual Matters, 2014. 83-94 p.
Keyword [en]
Second language acquisition, Identity
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
HUMANITIES, English
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-6900Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84949204173ISBN: 978-1-78309-255-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-6900DiVA: diva2:758287
Available from: 2014-10-26 Created: 2014-10-26 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved

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