Asker, Adel (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
In 1990, secondary schools in Libya were transformed into specialized schools; a move, which require all Libyan students to choose a specialty subject which would become the focus of their secondary school learning and determine the academic direction of their future education. This ethnographically-oriented mixed-methods study is concerned with the motivation to learn English as a Foreign Language (EFL) among students in English-specialty secondary schools in Libya. Conceptually, this study builds on Dörnyei’s (2005) L2 Motivational Self-System with the aim to investigate empirically a largely unexplored area within this theoretical framework: the relationship between the learners’ possible L2 selves and their L2 learning situation.
The study was conducted in one secondary school in the north west of Libya over a period of one academic year. The data come from a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. The quantitative data provide a bigger picture of English specialty secondary school students’ motivational orientations, future self guides and their interaction with classroom-specific variables. The focus of the qualitative component is on three key student participants from the same school with the aim to obtain a fine-grained picture from interviews, classroom observations and student diaries of the interaction between their future self guides, their learning experience and their engagement in learning tasks in EFL classes.
The findings show that the relationship between the L2 learning situation and the L2 selves is an intricate and complex one. First, the L2-self construct itself has emerged from this study as a complex nested system of multiple L2 visions that the students entertain in their working self-concept as they choose their specialty. The findings further indicate that the L2 learning situation plays a key role in foregrounding or, in contrast, rendering irrelevant specific L2 selves that the students bring to the L2 learning situation. And finally, the study shows that the students constantly negotiate the relationship between their future guides and their L2 learning situation by either adjusting and adapting their L2 visions in order to give meaning to their L2 learning experience or by actively engaging or disengaging with aspects of their learning situation in order to remain connected with their well defined future L2 selves.
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