English learning as a means of self-fulfilment : a grounded theory of language learning behaviour
In this thesis I present an original theory of language learning behaviour derived from a grounded theory analysis of interview testimony from five Japanese learners of English. The theory takes the form of the basic English Learning as a Means of Self-fulfilment (ELMS) model. This model explains English-learning behaviour in terms of the engagement of four types of self-fulfilment drive: a drive for intellectual and affective stimulation (entertainment drive); a drive to ‘expand one’s horizons’ (perspective drive); a drive to make a ‘success’ of oneself (status drive); and a drive to engage in interaction with others (communication drive). Two additional models built on the foundation of the basic ELMS model are also introduced: the expanded ELMS model explains how learning behaviour is mediated by cultural and institutional context, and by the individual’s attempts to make sense of, and control, experience; and the Learning as a Means of Self-fulfilment (LMS) model is a hypothetical general model of learning which incorporates existing concepts from the literature.\ud \ud The results of the analysis demonstrate the importance of structure, rather than agency, in shaping language-learning behaviour. The theoretical rendering of motivation that emerges from the analysis is differentiated from that of motivation as a force constantly underlying behaviour. Instead, motivation is seen to make only sporadic appearances on the stage of consciousness, and to be responsible for behavioural change rather than behavioural routine. It follows that unexpected events that stimulate changes in beliefs about the self or about language learning may have much to tell us about motivation.\ud \ud This research does not so much build upon existing theory as problematise it. The results challenge prevailing conceptualisations of motivation, dominant discourses and practices associated with the term within applied linguistics and Japanese English language education, and the utility of the concept itself. It is a methodologically innovative investigation into the relationship between motivation and English learning in the Japanese context, with implications that extend beyond this context.
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