Fragile identities: Exploring learner identity, learner autonomy and motivation through young learners’ voices

Lamb, T. 2011. Fragile identities: Exploring learner identity, learner autonomy and motivation through young learners’ voices. Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics. 14 (2), pp. 68-85.

TitleFragile identities: Exploring learner identity, learner autonomy and motivation through young learners’ voices
AuthorsLamb, T.
Abstract

Recent research in the fields of motivation and learner autonomy in language learning has begun to explore their relationships to the construct of identity. This article builds on this through the voices of a group of six learners of French or German in a secondary school in England, over a two-year period. These young learners initially reveal a clear identity as learners responsible for and able to take control of their own learning. However, this identity is seen as fragile when teacher control is increased in response to the external pressure of examinations, and there are indications of loss of motivation. Secondary school teachers, therefore, need to ensure that the learning environment they create engages, nurtures, and protects their learners‟ identity as learners through sustained opportunities for autonomy. Further research is proposed into aspects of learner identity, as well as ways in which changing pedagogy involves changes in teacher identity.
Des études récentes dans les domaines de la motivation et de l‟autonomie de l‟apprenant des langues explorent les relations entre ces deux domaines et l‟identité de l‟apprenant. Cet article contribue à ces recherches, en examinant pendant une période de deux ans la voix d'un groupe de six jeunes qui apprennent le français ou l‟allemand dans une école secondaire en Angleterre. Ces jeunes apprenants révèlent au début une identité claire en tant qu‟apprenants responsables pour et capables de contrôler leur propre apprentissage. Cependant on voit que cette identité est fragile quand le contrôle de l‟enseignant est augmenté face à la pression externe des examens, menant potentiellement a une perte de motivation. Les professeurs du secondaire devraient donc créer un milieu d'apprentissage capable d‟engager, de développer et de protéger l‟identité des apprenants en tant qu'apprenants, en assurant qu‟ils peuvent continuer à jouir des opportunités pour l‟autonomie. Des recherches futures sont proposées sur des aspects de l‟identité des apprenants, et aussi sur les implications des changements de pédagogie pour l‟identité des professeurs.

Keywordslearner identity, learner autonomy, motivation, teacher identity, language learning
JournalCanadian Journal of Applied Linguistics
Journal citation14 (2), pp. 68-85
ISSN1481-868X
Year2011
PublisherCanadian Association of Applied Linguistics
Publisher's version19858-26362-1-PB.pdf
Web address (URL)https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/CJAL/article/view/19858
Publication dates
Published2011
LicenseCC BY 3.0

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