An Application of the L2 Motivational Self System to Motivate Elementary School English Learners in Singapore

Michael Magid


I will describe a program that I developed to motivate grade five elementary school learners of English in Singapore to put more time and effort into learning English by enhancing their vision of their Ideal second language (L2) self and making their goals for learning English more clear and specific. The Ideal L2 self is the representation of the L2 attributes that one wishes to possess if one is able to master one’s L2.

The participants, who were separated into a control group and an experimental group, lacked both confidence in their English and the motivation to study it. They also had negative attitudes toward studying English. During the training program, which consisted of a series of workshops, I asked the participants in the experimental group to imagine scripted imagery situations to enhance their vision of their Ideal L2 self. I also helped these participants to develop clear and specific goals and action plans for learning English.

The mixed methods longitudinal study, which lasted four months, employed a series of questionnaires and interviews in order to assess the participants’ motivational development. The main findings were that 90% of the participants in the experimental group became more motivated to learn English, more confident in their English, and exhibited more positive attitudes toward learning English as a result of the program.  Only 50% of the participants became motivated, 75% became more confident, and 90% improved their attitudes toward learning English in the control group.

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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