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Volume 16 Number 3, Autumn 2019, Pages 768-1068 PDF Download

Analysis of Japanese Remedial English Learners' Motivational Trajectories from a Complex Dynamic Systems Theory Perspective

    Kanako Yamaoka

This study examined how low-level Japanese English learners' motivation changes throughout an English course in which English is taught through reflective teaching practice. In order to investigate students' motivational fluctuation, Complex Dynamic Systems Theory (CDST) was applied. CDST can measure how learners' motivation changes by focusing on the process of change, as opposed to whether learners' motivation changed or not by investigating pre- and post-data, which has been the mainstream approach in motivational research for decades. At the end of each class, a “Weekly Motivational Questionnaire” (WMQ) (Nitta, 2013; Nitta & Asano, 2010) was distributed to 14 participants, and the instructor kept a journal after the class. The materials and techniques used in this class included an American TV drama, games related to the class contents, group/pair work, and the Jigsaw Method (Aronson & Patnoe, 1997). Since the class focused on improving student listening and speaking ability, a TV drama was used as the main teaching material. Trajectory patterns were obtained using the results of the WMQ. Consequently, five motivational patterns were recognized. Through individual analyses, for instance, the importance of repeated use of tasks that are related to students' interests are implied. A motivational developmental sequence is also hypothesized.

Keywords: complex dynamic systems theory, motivation, qualitative research, reflective teaching, remedial education