Language and Sociocultural Theory, Vol 2, No 1 (2015)

Reexamining motive in L2 oral proficiency development: An activity theory perspective

Lu Yu
Issued Date: 24 Apr 2015


This article investigates the construction and transformation of motive in L2 oral proficiency development. Taking a longitudinal, genetic and case study approach, this study followed a Chinese EFL undergraduate throughout the second semester of her first college year in the class of English Public Speaking. Sources of data include interviews, audio tape recordings of oral data in and out of the classroom, and weekly reflective journals. The study examines the learner's developmental process as constructed by the changing motive, on the one hand, and the learner's motive as shaped by forces of learner history, the mediated learning process, and the institutional context in which the learning was situated, on the other. When development occurred, the learner demonstrated a shift in motive, changes in the quality of independent speech as well as the amount and quality of mediation provided to her partner in collaborative dialogues, and a higher level of self-regulation. The article concludes by discussing its contribution to the ongoing research on learner motive as a socially-mediated construct by showing the mutually constitutive, co-evolving relationship among learner motive, the mediated learning process, and L2 development.

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DOI: 10.1558/lst.v2vi1.22201


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