This section will feature news and reports of progress with the PhD. It is created for both supervisors and participants with the research, and in the hopes of encouraging collaboration from others. Please feel free to add comments and suggestions on the work as it unfolds.
For some, motivation is the single most important factor in determining the success of a learner to achieve their linguistic goals (Dörnyei, 1994; Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2011; Gao & Lamb, 2011). The importance of motivation is rarely understated, so it is little wonder that the research on motivation in both educational psychology and second language acquisition enjoys a rich and complex history. And yet, despite its frequent occurrence in language teaching and research, motivation is a difficult term to define.
In this section I will briefly touch on some of the development and evolution of motivational theories in second language acquisition, paying special attention to the “fluidity of today’s learning contexts” (Ushioda, 2013a, p. 5) and the nature of theoretical motivational models based on different research paradigms, i.e. the move from positivist to ontological approaches (Ushioda, 2009) and the tension between reductionist and comprehensive theories (Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2011, p. 8). Because I wish to trace a strong conceptual link between authenticity and motivation, and the basis of this link is the content, materials and tasks being selected by the teacher in order to facilitate language interaction with the students, I will also examine briefly teacher motivation. Teacher motivation has an important relationship with student motivation, and this is a vital link in the chain between authenticity and motivation. I will posit that one important concept from motivational dynamics, Flow Theory, has the potential to provide a tenable link between authenticity and motivation by showing the connection between student and teacher motivation. From this position, I will then outline the link between authenticity and motivation as two concepts essential to successful classroom learning and with deeply entwined theoretical roots. Authenticity and motivation are common collocates in the literature on SLA and perhaps even more common in staff-rooms around the world. But very few studies have tested this connection empirically. In trying to recognise the complexity of this relationship I hope to explain it more clearly and recognise it as part of a complex dynamic system with interconnected components.