Teachers’ and students’ L2 motivational self-system in English-medium instruction: A qualitative approach

TESOL Quarterly

In this paper we analyze university students and teachers working in English-medium instruction (EMI) settings in terms of the L2 Motivational Self System (L2MSS) (Dörnyei, 2005, 2009) from a qualitative perspective through the use of focus groups. This qualitative approach allows us to obtain personal and group information about the participants’ perceptions and opinions on L2MSS in EMI in a Spanish university setting. We approach our participants’ L2 motivation and ‘selves’ in terms of valued personal and professional identities, which are defined, among other things, by proficiency in English. Similarly, we discuss the interaction between the L2MSS and the constructs of identity, investment, imagined community, vulnerability and immunity in the EMI context. The results indicate that the ideal self (i.e. the speaker’s vision of themselves as a competent user of the L2) clearly prevails over the ought-to self (i.e. other people’s vision for the individual) in the case of the teachers, whereas both components are more balanced in the case of students. It has to be noted that the EMI experience also interacts with both students’ and teachers’ L2 motivation.