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Volume 12 Number 1, Spring 2015, Pages 1-168   

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Interrelated Influence of Internal and External Factors on Malaysian Learners' Self-concept in Academic Writing

    Ida Fatimawati bt Adi Badiozaman

The study examines the factors that shape Malaysian learners' academic self-concept in a specific subject, academic writing (in L2). Data were generated through a mixed methods approach, with an initial survey of 170 students, followed by two semi-structured interviews with each of eight student participants. The quantitative phase of the study identified that there were different self-concepts involved in the formulation of self-concept in academic writing (e.g., self-concept in English and self-concept as a writer). The qualitative findings from four student participants (selected from the eight) further expanded on these and identified interrelated internal and external factors that shape the L2 learners' self-concept and engagement in academic writing. The study proposed that that there is a complementary relationship between multiple internal and/or external factors that are available to students, and that this may influence the nature of their actions in the academic writing class. Overall, this study demonstrated that an L2 learner's self-concept in academic writing is complex and multifaceted and that Malaysia's socio-historical setting tended to have a direct impact in the formulation of this academic self-concept. In light of these findings from the study, it is recommended that institutions provide a supportive educational environment (i.e., appropriate student-teacher ratio, writing support) in order to develop a positive foundation for self-concept enhancement and student engagement in academic writing.

Keywords: academic self-concept, internal and external factors, academic writing