Document Type : Original Article

Authors

1 Department of English Language, Central Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of English Language, Central Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran ,Iran

Abstract

The present study aimed at investigating any significant relationship between EFL learners' L2 Motivational Self System (L2MSS), its components: Ideal L2 self, Ought to L2 self, L2 learning experience and Academic Resilience. The participants of the study included 123 Iranian male and female EFL learners. The instruments were two questionnaires tapping L2MSS and its components and Academic Resilience. The researchers also interviewed 10 participants in an attempt to triangulate the data collection procedure. The results of statistical analysis indicated that there was a significant and positive relationship between EFL learners' L2MSS and Academic Resilience. It also showed that EFL Learners’ L2MSS could be a significant predictor for their Academic Resilience. Nevertheless, there was no significant relationship between EFL learners' Ideal L2 self, Ought to L2 Self, L2 learning Experience and their Academic Resilience. The results of the interviews confirmed the findings of the quantitative phase of the study.

Keywords

1. Introduction

Learning English language in Iran mostly happens in institutes not in the school curriculum, so EFL learners, especially young learners, face many difficulties spending extra time and effort in order to learn English. Therefore, they face more sources of stress and adversity. Academic resilience can help learners with stress and setbacks during the learning process (Martin & Marsh, 2003) and motivation is one of the factors that can help learners improve their Academic Resilience (Martin, 2002).

Exploration into motivation as one of the important factors in language learning goes back to several decades ago (Busari, 2018). Thus, motivation in the context of learning has been the subject of many investigations (Bravo et al., 2017; Busari, 2018; Järvenoja et al., 2018; Lila, 2016; Oxford & Shearin, 1994; Wijnen et al., 2018). Gardner and Lambert (1959) who proposed the concept of integrativeness and integrative motives did the starting point of motivational studies. However, this approach was later criticized by Dornyei (2005) as a panacea perspective which does not consider the self-image of the learner.

Dörnyei (2005) criticized the idea of integrativeness because he believed language learning is rather related to individuals’ personal core (Dörnyei, 2009). Dörnyei (2009) grounded his proposal based on possible self and future self-guides theories proposed by Markus and Nurius (1986). Dörnyei (2009) proposed the L2MSS with three dimensions: ‘Ideal L2 self, ought to L2 self, L2 learning experience’.  However, it should be mentioned that studies have shown a great deal of relationship between L2MSS and integrativeness especially with one of its dimensions, which is the ideal L2 self (Rajab et al., 2012; Taguchi et al., 2009). In fact, the difference is in the fact that L2 MSS is defined in the context of L2 learning and is more based on individual aspects of motivation (Dörnyei, 2009; Rajab et al., 2012).

It is understood that motivation is critical for learners to start learning a second or foreign language and continuing to do so. The question remains that whether EFL learners’ L2MSS and its dimensions can be related to learners’ ability to cope with the difficulties, adversities, and stressors in the process of learning, a concept that has been introduced as ‘Academic Resilience’. Martin (2002) believes that motivation and academic resilience are “two complementary but not necessarily overlapping constructs” (Martin, 2002, p. 1).

Resilience is defined as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors” (Diaz et al., 2014). Resilience is a broad concept that has been used in many different fields. “Researches over the last 20 years have demonstrated that resilience is a multidimensional characteristic that varies with context, time, age, gender, and cultural origin, as well as within an individual subjected to different life circumstances.” (Connor & Davidson, 2003, p. 76).

Academic resilience is closely related to psychological resilience and is defined as a context-specific approach to resilience. Academic resilience “is concerned primarily with the relevance of resilience in educational context” (Cassidy, 2016, p. 1). Martin and Marsh (2003) define academic resilience as “the ability to effectively deal with setback, stress or pressure in the academic setting” (Martin & Marsh, 2003, p. 1).

Researchers (e.g. Cassidy, 2016; Jowkar et al., 2014; A. Martin, 2002) believe that resilience is a domain and context-specific concept. Therefore, resilience in academic contexts needs a specific focus on the setbacks in this context (e.g. poor performance, stress, and study pressure). Studies done on this issue have shown a positive relationship between academic resilience and motivation achievement (Fallon, 2010, as cited in Cassidy, 2016; Alva, 1991 as cited in Jowkar et al., 2014). Given the importance of motivation and resilience in L2 learning, the current study tried to explore the relationship between the two phenomena using context-specific approaches. L2MSS is an approach to motivation specifically focused on L2 learning and academic resilience is an approach to resilience in the context of learning. In addition, researchers tried to find the most effective dimension of L2MSS on learners’ academic resilience.

On the other hand, most of the studies done on L2MSS and academic resilience have used only questionnaires to collect the data (Jowkar et al., 2014; Moskovsky et al., 2016; Rajab et al., 2012; Tan & Lim, 2017), in this study to triangulate the data collection procedure, the researchers employed qualitative data using a semi-structured interview. Since quantitative data collection was based on self-reported answers, in the qualitative phase of the study, the researchers used open-ended questions to explore in-depth and more personal information about the participants.

 

1.2. Limitations of the Study

 The first limitation of the present study was that the used instruments were questionnaires, as a result, the collected data were self-reported inventories, and thus, the participants may not have had enough and accurate knowledge of themselves. Furthermore, their honesty in responding could not be checked through the triangulation of data.

The second limitation of the study was that the number of male and female participants was not concordant with the male-female ratio of the population of EFL learners in Iran. The researcher, of course, did not have access to the data on that ratio (even if such data exist): thus, the gender ratio within the sample of the study may have acted as an intervening variable.

2.  Literature Review

2.1. Motivation in Language Learning

Gardner (2010) sees motivation as an abstract and complex notion that is used to explain human behavior. Gardner (1985) was the first to study motivation in a second language, he tried to explore the factors affecting learning a language from another culture. He believes language learning is different from other class courses because learning a language is related to the learner’s culture (Gardner, 1985). Therefore, in learning L2 “the dynamics of the classroom and the methodology assume greater importance than they do in other class topics.”(Gardner, 1985, p. 8). Such consideration needs special attention toward motivation and attitude toward learning situations (Gardner, 1985).

Dörnyei (1994) conceptualized a general framework of L2 motivation which includes three levels: The language level, the learner level, and the learning situation level. He believes “the language level is the most general level of the construct which focuses on orientations and motives related to different aspects of the L2, such as the culture it expresses, the community in which it is spoken, and the possible efficacy of proficiency in it (p. 279).   

Dörnyei (2005) also reminds us that in learning a second language, motivation has a unique situation because of the basic differences of language with other class courses. “Language is at the same time: (a) a communication coding system …. (b) an integral part of individual’s identity … and also (c) a channel of social organization” (Dörnyei, 2005, p. 118).

Studies have been done on motivation (e.g. Busari, 2018; Järvenoja et al., 2018; Oxford & Shearin, 1994) reveal that the effect of motivation on learners’ L2 learning is very important. It also provides learners with efforts to continue the course of language learning (Liu, 2007). Researchers (Falout et al., 2009; Hu, 2011; Kyung Ja Kim, 2009) have also found that language learners blame their lack of success in learning L2 on their low motivation levels.

 

2.2. L2 Motivational Self System

Dörnyei (2005) proposes a new conceptualization of L2 motivation based on the theories of self and identity that he believes is a reformation in the field. He believes that “a foreign language is more than a mere communication code that can be learned similarly to other academic subjects” (p.9).

Based on the fact that L2 learning is dependent on the individual differences of the learners, Dörnyei (2009) tried to tie motivation to the self-theories like possible selves and future self-guides to explore “ how individual personality differences are translated into behavioral characteristics” (p.10).  

Possible selves theory is one of the basic theories underlying Dörnyei’s L2MSS. The concept was introduced by Markus and Nurius (1986) as “individuals’ ideas of what they might become, what they would like to become, and what they are afraid of becoming, and thus provide a conceptual link between cognition and motivation.”(Markus & Nurius, 1986, p. 954)

Dörnyei (2005) proposes the L2MSS with three dimensions:

“(1) Ideal L2 Self, referring to the L2-specific facet of one’s ideal self: If the person we would like to become speaks an L2, the Ideal L2 Self is a powerful motivator to learn the L2 because of the desire to reduce the discrepancy between our actual and ideal selves.

(2) Ought-to L2 Self, referring to the attributes that one believes one ought to possess (i.e., various duties, obligations, or responsibilities) in order to avoid possible negative outcomes…

(3) L2 Learning Experience, which concerns situation-specific motives related to the immediate learning environment and experience…”(page. 105)

Many studies have been done on the relationship between L2MSS introduced by Dörnyei (2009) and EFL learners’L2 achievements (Ghee Tan & Lim, 2017; Moskovsky et al., 2016; Rajab et al., 2012; Tort Calvo, 2015). Moskovsky et al. (2016) found L2MSS to be a significant predictor of learners’ intended learning effort but not correlated significantly with their L2 achievements. Other studies found some of its components to have a significant relationship with EFL learners’ L2 achievement (Gu & Cheung, 2016). In his study on the relationship between EFL learners’ L2 achievement and L2MSS, Calvo (2015) found a strong relationship between Ideal L2 self and  EFL learners’ achievement score while ought to L2 self was found to have an insignificant relationship with their L2 achievement. In another study, Tan et al. (2017) showed L2 learning experience is the most important dimension of L2MSS in students’ learning achievement in learning Madeiran as a second language.

 

2.3. Academic Resilience

Masten (2001) defines resilience as “a class of phenomena characterized by good outcomes despite serious threats to adaptation or development” (Masten, 2001, p. 228).

Resilience is a context-specific concept. “In academic context resilience is students’ ability to deal effectively with setbacks, stress, and study pressure” (Martin, 2002, p. 4).

Howard and Johnson (2002) concluded that certain characteristics of resilient learners could be good sources of strategies to deal with setbacks and use appropriate coping skills. The effect of academic resilience as a context-specific approach to resilience on the learning achievement of students has been investigated in some studies (Borman & Overman, 2004; Cappella & Weinstein, 2001; Mwangi & Okatcha, 2015).

It should be mentioned that resilience is not an extraordinary ability “Resilience does not come from rare and special qualities, but from the everyday magic of ordinary, normative human resources in the minds, brains, and bodies of children, in their families and relationships, and in their communities” (Masten, 2001, p. 235).

 

2.4. Motivation and Academic Resilience

In his paper on motivation and academic resilience, Martin (2002) tries to introduce a model of motivation and explore its relation with academic resilience. He explains that academic resilience and motivation are both needed for learners to be successful. “Although motivation is critical to academic success, academic gains students make can be lost if they are not resilient to setback (e.g. failure, poor performance, and negative feedback from teachers), study pressure, and stress in the school setting” (Martin, 2002, p. 1). He explores that “the two issues of motivation and academic resilience shows that they are complementary but not necessarily overlapping constructs” (Martin, 2002, p. 2).

Martin (2002) conceptualizes motivation as the energy and drive of the learner which needs to be combined with the ability to deal with setbacks and stress which is academic resilience.

 

2.5. Empirical Studies

Rajab et al. (2012) investigated the relationship between the L2 motivational self-system and language learning of TESL students in Iran. The results have shown the multidimensional effects of motivational variables on L2 learning, with the ideal L2 self marching ahead of others (Rajab et al., 2012).

Many works have been done on the theoretical basis of the L2 motivational self-system and specifically on the ideal L2 self and ought to L2 Self.  In their study on 133 learners Tan et al. (2017), explore a significant relationship between language achievement of American learners of Mandarin and the L2 motivational self-system (Tan & Lim, 2017). Calvo (2015) had a similar result in her study on Spanish high school students (Calvo, 2015).

Kim and Kim (2017) studied the constitutional factors of learners’ resilience and their relation with learners’ motivated behavior and their language proficiency the study showed high relation between persistence as a constitute of resilience and learners’ motivational behavior (Kim & Kim, 2017).

In their study on resilience academic motivation and social support, Paul and Subalakshmi (2014) among 200 college students, explored that there is a significant relationship among different dimensions of academic motivation and resilience (Paul et al., 2014).

Gizir and Aydin (2009) in a study of protective factors of academic resilience in Turkey revealed that “home high expectations, school caring relationships and high expectations, and peer caring relationships” are external protective factors and “having positive self-perceptions about one's academic abilities, high educational aspirations, empathic understanding, an internal locus of control, and hope for the future” were proven to the internal factors influencing the academic resilience of these learners (Gizir & Aydin, 2009).

 

  1. 6. The Research Questions

To fulfill the aims of the current study, the researcher formulated the following research questions:

Q1: Is there any significant relationship between EFL learners' L2 motivational self-system and their academic resilience?

Q2: Does EFL learners’ L2 motivational self-system significantly predict their academic resilience?

Q3: Is there any significant relationship between EFL learners' ideal L2 self and their academic resilience?

Q4: Is there any significant relationship between EFL learners' ought to L2 self and their academic resilience?

Q5: Is there any significant relationship between EFL learners' L2 learning experience and their academic resilience?

Q6: Is there any significant difference among EFL learners' ideal L2 self, ought to L2 self, and L2 learning experience in predicting their academic resilience?

 

3. Methodology

3.1 Design and Context of the Study

The present study adopted a sequential mixed-methods design, via analyzing qualitative data in an attempt to triangulate the data collection procedure (Creswell, 2003).

EFL Learners’ L2MSS and its components (Ideal L2 self, ought to L2 self, and learning experience) were examined as the predictors for EFL learners’ academic resilience as the predicted variable.

Accordingly, in the current study, the researchers used questionnaire scores as quantitative data and interview contents as qualitative data.

 

  1. 2. Participants

 The initial participants of the current study were 123 Iranian English language learners (87 females and 36 males) at different levels of language proficiency. The age range of the participants was from 18 to 42. The participants were selected based on convenience sampling due to availability reasons. All the participants spoke Persian as their mother tongue. 64 participants were studying English at two language institutes in Tehran, namely; Safir and Kish, and 59 participants were freshmen and sophomores majoring in English language translation and English language literature in Islamic Azad University, Central Tehran Branch, selected by convenience sampling. In addition, in the second phase of the study 10 learners were randomly selected to participate in the interview.

  1. 3. Instruments

To fulfill the purpose of the study three instruments including two questionnaires (L2 motivational self-system questionnaire and academic resilience questionnaire) and a semi-structured interview in the second phase of the study were used.

 

  1. 3. 1. The L2 Motivational Self System Questionnaire

The questionnaire used to measure the L2 motivational self-system and its components was the L2 motivational self-system questionnaire designed by Taguchi et al. (2009). Taguchi et al. (2009) designed the L2 Motivational Self System questionnaire in three versions (Persian, Japanese, and English) based on the cultural factors of each country:  Iran, Japan, and China. The Persian version of the L2 motivational self-system questionnaire designed by Taguchi et al. (2009) is a 6-point Likert scale (from 1. Completely disagree to 6. Completely agree)  questionnaire with 76 items including 11 parts (criterion measures, Ideal L2 Self, ought to L2 self, family influence, instrumentality (promotion and prevention), attitudes to learning English, cultural interest, attitudes to L2 community and integrativeness). It took 30 to 45 minutes for each participant to answer the questions (Taguchi et al., 2009).

The Cronbach Alpha for the Persian questionnaire was .75 (Taguchi et al. 2009). The average Cronbach Alpha for the ideal L2 self part of the questionnaire was .83 (Alpha=.79 in Iran), for ought to L2 self part was .76 (Alpha= .75 for Iran) and for L2 learning experience part was .84 (Alpha= .82 for Iran) (Taguchi et al., 2009).

The results for the three countries show that all paths were significant at the ρ<0.001 level. For Japanese group, X2 (385) = 1777.47, ρ<0.001, in Chinese group, X2 (284) =748.93, ρ<0.001 and in Iranian group X2 (284) = 748.93, ρ<0.001.

 

  1. 3. 2. Academic Resilience Scale (ARS-30)

The academic resilience scale used in this study was adapted as a multi-dimensional construct measure, designed by Cassidy (2016). It includes one vignette and a five-point Likert scale (from 1. Strongly agree to 5. Strongly disagree) questionnaire with 30 items. The vignette helps students to imagine themselves in a stressful academic situation and experiencing academic adversity and then the ARS-30 explores their responses to this situation(Cassidy, 2016). It took 20 to 30 minutes for each participant to answer the questions.

To test the validity of the questionnaire Cassidy (2016) designed an alternative vignette to describe the adversity experienced by a fellow student. “A comparison of mean GASE scores across the two vignette groups (Original Group M = 145.78 [SD = 19.3], Alternative Group M = 146.37 [SD = 19.4] did not reveal a significant difference (t = 0.341, df = 529, ρ > 0.05)).” (Cassidy, 2016, p. 6)This result indicates that the difference in ARS-30 scores resulted from manipulating the vignette. In this study, the original form of the questionnaire in English was used.

 

  1. 3. 3. Interview

To be more close to the participants’ opinions and have more detailed qualitative information on the subject, in the second phase of the study, the researchers conducted a semi-structured interview with 10 random participants. Seven questions were designed as an Interview guide. The questions were developed considering the main variables of the study (L2MSS, ideal L2 self, ought to L2 self, L2 learning experience, and academic resilience) and were based on the questionnaires used in the study. Interviewers tried to develop the questions to elicit the participants’ personal experience and based on the setbacks that the participants may face during L2 learning in the context of Iran.

 

  1. 4. Data Collection Procedure

To collect the data for the current study, the following procedure was taken. The researchers selected 123 students of English in two language schools in Tehran namely Kish and Safir, and the students of the first and second year of English translation and English literature in the central branch of Islamic Azad University in Tehran, Iran through availability sampling. In November and December of 2019, the questionnaires were given to the participants in-class time to avoid any possible distraction and rashness in answering the questions. The questionnaires were fully explained to the participants. The researchers were present during the process.  As for the academic resilience questionnaire, the researchers read and explained the vignette to make sure the participants could completely imagine themselves in the situation. The researchers also explained to the participants how to answer the L2 motivational self-system questionnaire and were available during the procedure to give any further explanation.. After the learners filled out the questionnaires, the researchers scored the questionnaires to address the research questions.

In the second phase of the study, researchers also interviewed 10 participants in an attempt to triangulate the data collection procedure.

 

  1. 5. Data Analysis Procedure

To answer the research questions, the researchers used both the descriptive and inferential statistical procedures using SPSS21. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate the mean and standard deviation of the scores. Based on the results of the descriptive analysis, to examine the relationship between L2MSS, ideal L2 self, ought to L2 self and L2 learning experience and academic resilience, the Spearman’s Rank-Order correlation coefficient, a non-parametric formula, was used.

To answer the second research question linear regression and ANOVA were used. Since there were no significant correlations between ideal L2 self, ought to L2 self, L2 learning experience, and academic resilience addressed in the third, fourth, and fifth research question, using multiple regression to answer the sixth research question, was not legitimized. To analyze the qualitative phase of the study the result of the interviews were coded and tabulated.

4. Results
  1. 1. Reliability of the Instruments

The internal consistency of the instruments was estimated at the outset of the statistical analyses. The following tables report the internal consistency of the utilized instruments.

 

Table 1.

 The Internal Consistency of the L2 Motivational Self System Questionnaire and its Three Components

Measure

Cronbach's Alpha

Cronbach's Alpha Based on Standardized Items

N of Items

L2MSS

.888

.893                                              

76

Ideal L2 Self

.790

.799

12

Ought to L2 Self

.835

.836

12

L2 Learning Experience

.857

.870

10

 

Table 2.

 The Internal Consistency of the Academic Resilience Questionnaire

Cronbach's Alpha

Cronbach's Alpha Based on Standardized Items

N of Items

.729

.738

30

 

As demonstrated above, the results indicated that the instruments had acceptable degrees of reliability as computed by Cronbach’s alpha coefficient (0.888, 0.790, 0.835, 0.857 & 0.729).  According to Tabachnick and Fidell (2012), indices above 0.6 are acceptable (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2012).

 

4. 2. The Relationship between L2 Motivational Self System and Academic Resilience

In order to address this question, the data were analyzed using Spearman’s Rank-Order correlation coefficient, a non-parametric formula.  Table 4.3 shows the result of this analysis.

 

 

Table 3.

Spearman’s Correlation between Motivational Self-System and Academic Resilience

 

Motivational Self System

Academic Resilience

Spearman's rho

L2MSS

Correlation Coefficient

1.000

.245**

Sig. (2-tailed)

.

.008

N

115

115

Academic Resilience

Correlation Coefficient

.245**

1.000

Sig. (2-tailed)

.008

.

N

115

115

**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

According to the results of the analysis reported in Table 3, it was concluded that there was a significant and positive correlation between L2MSS and academic resilience, ρ= .245, n = 115, p < .05, and high levels of L2MSS were associated with high levels of academic resilience.

In order to measure the predictability power of L2MSS over academic resilience, a linear regression was run. Table 4 summarizes the model of regression. Based on the results, it can be concluded that the regression model enjoyed generalizability power.

 

Table 4.

Regression Model Summary

Model

R

R Square

Adjusted R Square

Std. Error of the Estimate

Durbin-Watson

1

.209a

.044

.035

6.83096

1.551

a. Predictors: (Constant), L2MSS

b. Dependent Variable: Academic Resilience

The Durbin-Watson (DW) index of 1.55indicated that the assumption of independence errors was met. Table 5 examines the statistical significance of the regression model.

 

Table 5.

Regression Output: ANOVA

Model

Sum of Squares

df

Mean Square

F

Sig.

1

Regression

241.133

1

241.133

5.168

.025b

Residual

5272.808

113

46.662

 

 

Total

5513.941

114

 

 

 

a. Dependent Variable: Academic Resilience

b. Predictors: (Constant), L2MSS

The results of the ANOVA (F (1, 113) = 5.17, p = 0.025 < 0.05) indicated that L2MSS significantly predicted academic resilience. Table 6 displays the regression coefficients which can be used to formulate the regression equations, as shown below:

  • Academic Resilience = (L2MSS * B) + Constant -> (L2MSS * 0.203) + 41.382

Table6.

Regression Coefficients

Model

Unstandardized Coefficients

Standardized Coefficients

t

Sig.

95.0% Confidence Interval for B

B

Std. Error

Beta

 

 

Lower Bound

Upper Bound

1

(Constant)

41.382

5.688

 

7.275

.000

30.112

52.652

L2 MSS

.203

.089

.209

2.273

.025

.026

.379

a. Dependent Variable: Academic Resilience

The beta value of  .209 indicated that one full standard deviation change in the score of L2MSS resulted in  .209  standard deviation change in their score of academic resilience. The results of the t-tests (t = 2.273 p = 0.026 < .05, 95% CI [0.206, 0.379]) indicated that the beta value enjoyed statistical significance.

As it is shown in Figure1 the spear of dots conclude that the relationships between the two variables were linear and the assumption of homoscedasticity was met.

Figure 1. Regression relationship between L2MSS and academic resilience

 

4.3. The Relationship between Ideal L2 self and Academic Resilience

The data were analyzed using Spearman’s Rank-Order coefficient of correlation, a non-parametric formula. Table 7 shows the result of this analysis.

 

Table 7.

Spearman’s Correlation between Ideal L2 Self and Academic Resilience

 

Ideal L2 Self

Academic Resilience

Spearman's rho

Ideal L2 Self

Correlation Coefficient

1.000

.028

Sig. (2-tailed)

.

.770

N

115

115

Academic Resilience

Correlation Coefficient

.028

1.000

Sig. (2-tailed)

.770

.

N

115

115

 

According to the results of the analysis reported in Table 7, it was concluded that there was no significant correlation between ideal L2 self and academic resilience, ρ= .028, n = 115, p > .05.

 

  1. 4. The Relationship between Ought to L2 self and Academic Resilience

Using Spearman’s Rank-Order coefficient, researchers investigate the relationship between EFL learners’ Ought to L2 self and their Academic Resilience. Table 8 shows the result of this analysis.

Table 8.

Spearman’s Correlation between Ought to L2 Self and Academic Resilience

 

Ought to L2 Self

Academic Resilience

Spearman's rho

Ought to L2 Self

Correlation Coefficient

1.000

.150

Sig. (2-tailed)

.

.110

N

115

115

Academic Resilience

Correlation Coefficient

.150

1.000

Sig. (2-tailed)

.110

.

N

115

115

According to the results of the analysis reported in Table 8, it was concluded that there was no significant correlation between Ought to L2 self and Academic Resilience, ρ= .15, n = 115, p > .05.

 

4.5. The Relationship between L2 Learning Experience and Academic Resilience

 Table 9 shows the result of the analysis of the data to investigate the relationship between EFL learners’ L2 learning experience and their academic resilience.

Table 9.

Spearman’s Correlation between L2 Learning Experience and Academic Resilience

 

L2Learning       Experience

Academic Resilience

Spearman's rho

L2 Learning Experience

Correlation Coefficient

1.000

.162

Sig. (2-tailed)

.

.084

N

115

115

Academic Resilience

Correlation Coefficient

.162

1.000

Sig. (2-tailed)

.084

.

N

115

115

According to the results of the analysis reported in Table 9, it was concluded that there was no significant correlation between the L2 learning experience and Academic Resilience, ρ= .084, n = 115, p > .05

 

  1. 6. The Difference of the Three Dimensions of L2 Motivational Self System in Predicting Academic Resilience

The final aim of this research was to compare the predictability powers of the three components of L2MSS in predicting academic resilience. The legitimacy of this question, however, lied in a significant correlation between academic resilience on one hand, and the three components of L2MSS, on the other hand. The results showed no such significant correlations; so, none of the three components is considered as a significant predictor of academic resilience, let alone being significantly better from one another in such a prediction.

 

4.7. Interview

In the second phase of the study, 10 participants were randomly selected to sit in a semi-structured interview, and answers to each category were coded and tabulated.

 

4.7.1. Academic Resilience

Out of the 10 interviewees, three of them had breaking intervals in their learnings and 5 others expressed that there were times where they did not want to continue studying. Only three of them expressed that they loved English from the beginning and continued to learn it. Four reasons were pointed out for (wanting to) stop learning: a) time management; b) not liking the instructor; c) having to learn English with no structure; d) being forced to learn by parents. Figure 2 depicts the results.

 

Figure 2. Pie-chart of the reasons for (wanting to) stop learning

Moreover, the participants were asked for the reasons they dealt with or continued studying. The answers were coded into the following categories: a) Loving English from the beginning; b) Having difficulties at early stages but starting to love it; c) Needing English for the major/future job/ personal interest, and d) being inspired by friends/parents. Figure 3 depicts the results.

 

Figure 3. Pie chart of the reasons for continuing to learn

 

4.7.2. Ideal L2 Self

In the coding of the answers, the ideal L2 self was categorized into four classes of the negative picture, having no idea, positive picture, and strongly positive picture. The reasons for the picture were also categorized into two classes of meeting self-expectations or other exceptions. The tabulation of the answers are presented in Figure 4. As it is evident from the picture, self-expectation is more associated with positive and strongly positive self-picturing.

Figure 4.  Bar chart of ideal L2 self-picture and its reasons

 

4.7.3. Ought to L2 Self

All of the participants in the interview considered learning English necessary for their future. They maintain three main reasons for their answers: a) success in career, b) educational/research purposes, and d) communicational purposes. Table 10 tabulates the results. Note that some of the interviewees mentioned more than one of the above-mentioned reasons. That is why the overall number of answers is more than 10.

 

Table 10

Frequency of the Reasons for Ought to L2 Self by Interviewees

 

N

Frequency

Reasons for Ought to L2 self

Career

8

80.0%

Education/ Research

5

50.0%

Communication

7

70.0%

 

 As reported, the most common reason for the necessity of learning English by the interviewees was the occupational need, followed by the need for making the communication. Educational and research purposes ranked the last.

 

4.7.4. L2 Learning Experience

Based on the answers of the interviewees, four categories were shaped: a) excellent, b) mainly good, c) so so, and d) mainly bad. Moreover, three main factors were mentioned for both good and bad experiences of the learners: instructor, self-interest, friends, and family.

 

Figure 5. Bar chart of classroom experience and its reasons

 

As it is evident from Figure 5, the instructor was considered as an effective factor in both good and bad experiences. Moreover, self-interest was reported only in good and excellent experiences.

 

4.7.5. Overall Evaluation

 As the tabulation of the results showed, the majority of the participants faced challenging situations, causing them to consider stop learning English. The inspection of the Ideal L2 self results showed that self-expected pictures of the future in the participants are the driving forces in learning L2. Three main reasons of career, education/research, and communication (Ought to L2 Self) were also mentioned as driving forces of perceiving the necessity of learning L2. Moreover, participants addressed three main causes of the instructor, classroom friends, and self-interest for their good and bad experiences of English classroom where the instructor’s role was highlighted in all situations and self-interest was only associated with positive and excellent experiences. From the above brief demonstration, it is evident that L2MSS is a multi-factorial facet that can be influenced by different aspects. While none of these factors may be the sole cause of Academic Resilience, together they may be correlated with academic resilience. Therefore, the results of the interview can be considered triangulating the results obtained from the quantitative phase.

 

5. Discussion

The present study aimed at investigating any significant relationship between EFL learners' L2MSS, Ideal L2 self, Ought to L2 self, L2 learning experience, and Academic Resilience. Moreover, the study set out to explore that if EFL learners’ L2MSS significantly predict their Academic Resilience. Furthermore, the study tried to explore if there is any significant difference among EFL learners' Ideal L2 self, Ought to L2 self, and L2 learning experience in predicting their academic resilience.

The results of statistical analysis indicated that there is a significant and positive relationship between EFL learners' L2MSS and academic resilience. Also based on the results of the study EFL learners’ L2MSS is a significant predictor for their Academic Resilience. However, there was no significant relationship between EFL learners' Ideal L2 self, Ought to L2 self, L2 learning experience, and their academic resilience. Considering that in measuring L2MSS other basic assumptions of motivation are included, the concept as a whole can predict learners’ Academic Resilience.  Nevertheless, based on the results of the first phase of the study and the findings of the qualitative phase of this study, it can be concluded that the participants’ differences may cause different levels of scores in the components of L2MSS.

Kim and Kim (2017) in their study investigated the relationship between resilience, motivated behavior, and English proficiency of EFL learners to find the components of learners’ resilience, and to explore that how these factors are related to L2 learning. In their study, Kim and Kim (2017) measured the factors of L2 learning motivational behavior based on the L2MSS theory and the questionnaire developed by Taguchi et al. (2009). They found a significant correlation between learners’ resilience factor and their motivational behavior, which is in line with the finding of this study (Kim & Kim, 2017).

The finding of Paul, Srirum, Subalukshmi, and Mala (2014) in their study to explore the relationship among resilience, academic motivation, and social support among college students, that showed there is a significant relationship between resilience and different dimensions of academic motivation scale, was also in line with the finding of this study in its answer to the first research question (Paul et al., 2014).

The results of the present study can be justified based on the definitions of motivation and resilience. In fact, the more an individual is motivated to accomplish a task, the more the individual will show persistence to achieve the set goal.  However, as the components of L2MSS are concerned, the results of the study show that the three components of L2MSS cannot individually predict academic resilience in participants. The L2MSS as a whole concept measures other basic assumptions of motivation while measuring its three major components. Thus, the whole concept shows significant relationship with academic resilience while its component show different results.  This suggests variance in scores of participants in each of these components caused by learners’ individual differences, which can also be inferred from the results of the interviews. In the second phase of the study, the results of the qualitative data analysis showed each participant has different reason to keep motivated and each reason can be categorized in one of the dimensions of L2MSS.

 

  1. Conclusion

In line with other studies on the relationship between motivation and resilience (Kim & Kim, 2017; Martin, 2002; Paul et al., 2014), using contextualized concepts of motivation and resilience in the field of learning, the findings of this study showed that EFL learners’ L2MSS could significantly predict their academic resilience. Thus, to enhance EFL learners’ ability to cope with the difficulties they face in learning L2, increasing the level of L2MSS can be helpful.

On the other hand, the result of the first and second phases of the study showed that due to individual differences of the learners, for each learner the level of L2MSS can be dependent on any of the three dimensions of the concept. Therefore, L2MSS as a whole and each of the three components (Ideal L2 self, ought to L2 self, and L2 learning experience) could be effective in the level of EFL learners’ academic resilience.

6.1. Suggestions for Further Research

Based on the findings of the present study, the following suggestions for further research are recommended:

  • The participants of the study were 123 students of English in two language schools in Tehran and the students of the first and second year of English translation and English literature in the central branch of Islamic Azad University in Tehran, Iran. Similar studies can be done with learners from state schools as well to add to the generalizability strength of the findings.
  • The interaction of academic resilience and L2MSS with other variables such as teaching style, learning style, educational background, etc. are suggested to come up with a more comprehensive picture of the role of resilience and motivation in both teaching and learning.

 

 

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