• Positive Psychology and Second Language Motivation: Empirically Validating a Model of Positive L2 Self

      Sawyer, Mark; Beglar, David J.; Swenson, Tamara; Kozaki, Yoko; Elwood, James Andrew (Temple University. Libraries, 2015)
      Positive psychology is rapidly developing as a field in psychology. Many constructs associated with positive psychology have been developed but relationships have not been demonstrated to second language (L2) learning or L2 learning motivation. The main purpose of this study was to explore empirically some core constructs of positive psychology and L2 learning motivation by testing a structural model of the causal relationships among levels of self-concept, and L2 proficiency. In order to do that, it was first necessary to validate measurable components of each of the levels. The self-concept constructs were: a global positive self-concept, a domain-specific positive L2 self, and L2 skill specific self-efficacy. The various self-constructs were organized into finer levels of specificity, from the global to L2 domain to L2 domain skills. A structural model was created from three latent variables that were in turn created from measured variables at each level of specificity. For the latent positive self-concept the measured variables consisted of flourishing, hope, and curiosity. For the latent variable of positive L2 self the measured variables consisted of an interested-in-L2 self, passion-for-L2-learning self, and L2 mastery goal orientation. For the latent motivational variable of L2 self-efficacy the measured variables were L2 speaking self-efficacy, L2 listening self-efficacy, and L2 reading self-efficacy. The measured variables were based on adapted or newly created self-reports. To demonstrate that the model holds beyond self-reports, objective L2 proficiency measures were also modeled with the latent variables of positive self-concept and positive L2 self. To demonstrate the generalizability of the self-model with L2 proficiency, a cross-validation study was done with two different objective measures of L2 proficiency, TOEIC and TOEIC Bridge. The results for the study were all positive for the creation of composite variables and fit to causal models. Latent variables were created for a composite positive self-concept, a composite positive L2 self, and a composite L2 motivation variable. The positive self-concept and positive L2 self also fit a model that included an objective measure of L2 proficiency. Finally, structural equation modeling confirmed causal relationships among positive self-concept, positive L2 self with both L2 motivation and with L2 proficiency. This study showed how constructs from the rapidly expanding field of positive psychology can be integrated with second language motivation. This study showed one way positive psychology can be applied to second language learning and suggests that positive psychology might invigorate future L2 motivation studies.