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LINGUIST List 21.5168

Mon Dec 20 2010

Diss: Applied Ling: Taylor: 'A Quadripolar Model of Identity in ...'

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        1.     Florentina Taylor , A Quadripolar Model of Identity in Adolescent Foreign Language Learners

Message 1: A Quadripolar Model of Identity in Adolescent Foreign Language Learners
Date: 20-Dec-2010
From: Florentina Taylor <florentina.tayloryork.ac.uk>
Subject: A Quadripolar Model of Identity in Adolescent Foreign Language Learners
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Institution: University of Nottingham
Program: School of English Studies
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2010

Author: Florentina Taylor

Dissertation Title: A Quadripolar Model of Identity in Adolescent Foreign Language Learners

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics

Dissertation Director:
Kevin Harvey
Louise Mullany

Dissertation Abstract:

Integrating several psychological theories (e.g., self and identity,
self-presentation and internalisation, possible selves and
self-discrepancy, developmental processes in adolescence), this thesis
proposes a new theoretical framework aiming to facilitate a better
understanding of foreign language learning. The Quadripolar Model of
Identity postulates the existence of four self components (private, public,
ideal and imposed), whose pluridirectional interactions may lead to four
types of self system (submissive, duplicitous, rebellious and harmonious)
hypothesised to differ from one relational context to another (e.g.,
school, family, friends). For students, these identity processes are
expected to fluctuate depending on the subject studied.

A preliminary validation of this new theoretical framework in foreign
language learning, the study reported here represents a mixed-method
cross-sectional investigation with 1,045 participants (mean age 16.47; 339
boys, 645 girls, 61 of undeclared gender) learning English as a foreign
language in five Romanian secondary schools of different specialisms. Of
the 1,045 students who completed a new purposefully-designed self-reported
questionnaire, 32 participated in individual in-depth interviews, the
quantitative and qualitative findings being integrated into a
meta-inferential discussion.

The results offered consistent support for the Quadripolar Model of
Identity, while also facilitating invaluable unexpected insights. Students'
appreciation as individuals was found to predict the nature of their self
system in class, while being also related to their perceived competence in
English, their affective affinities with the foreign language, their
learning orientation and their attributions for success and failure. In the
absence of personal appreciation, an assessment-driven ethos was found to
stimulate the manipulative display of various public selves that had little
connection with the students' private selves. Teachers were identified as
the principal motivator in the English class and differences in perceived
teacher interest were associated with gender differences in perceived L2
competence and context-induced identity display. Implications for research
and teaching practice are discussed.

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