The Same Peak from Different Routes: illuminating L2 Teacher Motivation via TEA, CDST, and AT

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This presentation addresses the interpretational strengths of three phenomenological theories (AT, CDST, TEA) for illuminating data collected during a teacher motivation study at a high school EFL classroom in Beijing. By focusing on mediation (AT), system changes (CDST), and bifurcation points (TEA), researchers can excavate information from various angles.

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In L2 motivation studies, different phenomenological theories can illuminate and interpret data in their own unique ways, allowing researchers and practitioners to excavate information from various angles. For example, L2 teacher motivation can be illustrated in Activity Theory (AT) (Engeström, 2001; Kim, 2017) through a mediational lens consisting of interactions with teaching tools (i.e., classroom activities, textbooks, and other equipment), students, and mentors. It can also be theorized in Complex Dynamic Systems Theory (CDST) (Dörnyei, MacIntyre, & Henry, 2014) by comparing the Attractors and Systems present from where teachers are initially located to where they eventually shift. In the Trajectory Equifinality Approach (TEA) (Sato, Yasuda, Kanzaki, & Valsiner, 2014), a cultural psychology theory describing personal growth and development, the L2 teachers' in-class and out-class motivation can be illustrated at a Bifurcation Point (BFP) where they choose a critical trajectory pathway. This presentation aims to explore comparative interpretations of L2 teacher motivation via these theories. The participants in this study are two EFL teachers from a high school in Beijing, China. One is an expert with 24 years of experience, while the other has been working for only 10 years. Their classes were filmed, and a total of five semi-structured follow-up interviews were conducted from 2017 up to present. These interview narratives were qualitatively analyzed (Miles, Huberman, & Saldana, 2014) via three different theoretical lenses by focusing on mediational activities (AT), system changes (CDST), and critical choices these teachers made during their careers with respect to their BFPs (TEA). Findings have revealed that L2 teacher motivation developed through 1) mediation with mentors; 2) experiencing systems changes between in and out-class activities; and 3) via critical decisions made at BFPs. Based on these findings, the interpretational strengths of AT, CDST, and TEA for L2 motivational studies will be compared and discussed.

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University of Toyama

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