Following Lantolf and Pavlenko (2001), Ushioda (2009) argues that
where L2 motivation is concerned we need to understand second language
learners as real people who are necessarily located in particular
cultural and historical contexts, and whose motivation and identities
shape and are shaped by these contexts.
Ushioda (2009) pointsout that much of the research on individual differences is likely to focus on “averages andaggregates that group together people who share certain characteristics” (e.g. high or low intrinsic motivation or self-efficacy), rather than focusing on “differences between individuals” (p.215).
In relying on the statistical principles of averaging and probability,
quantitative research cannot of course shed light on individual motivational
perspectives or experiences, or offer detailed insights into how these
evolve in dynamic interaction with surrounding social-environmental factors. While longitudinal designs with repeated administration of motivation measures
may be able to capture general patterns of change or stability over time
within an examined sample
In a 2009 article Ushioda (2009) adopts an ontological position that understands
motivation as developing “from relations between real persons, with particular social
identities, and the unfolding cultural context of activity” (Ushioda 2009: p. 215).
a ‘person-in-context’ approach has been identified across multiple fields (Beltman & Volet, 2007; Ushioda, 2009) stressing that individuals and context are mutually dependent and are in a ‘dynamic, complex and non-linear’ relationship (Ushioda 2009: 218). In language education, this approach emerged as a reaction to the dualistic perspective on learner motivation, for example, integrative versus instrumental or intrinsic versus extrinsic (Clarke & Henning, 2013) focusing on linear cause and effect relationships in order to arrive at generalization and generate motivational patterns. Instead, as Ushioda (2009, 2011) argues, it is crucial to understand the relationships of various contextual components and consider motivation as a process deriving from multifaceted interrelations.
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