Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Marilyn E. Draheim

First Committee Member

Rachelle Kisst Hackett

Second Committee Member

Elaine Mo


Motivation has been regarded as one key factor for successfully learning a second language (L2). This mixed-method study examined the effects of an Ideal-L2-Self-based intervention on second-year college English majors’ L2 selves (the Ideal L2 Self and the Ought-to L2 Self), learners’ perception of the L2 Learning Experience and the intended learning and motivation efforts needed in L2 learning in China.

The 4-week intervention consisted of 8 whole-class sessions and 2 one-on-one counseling meetings with the instructor. The quasi-experiment included 50 second-year English majors with equal numbers serving in the treatment and control groups. Pretest and posttest data were collected using a L2 Motivation Questionnaire. One-way ANCOVAs were used to address the quantitative research questions. The posttest served as the dependent variable and the pretest served as the covariate, along with group (treatment versus control) as the fixed factor. Content analysis was employed using documents written by all students in the treatment group during the intervention and transcripts of individual interviews conducted with five of these students.

The results of the study showed that the Ideal L2 Self of the students who attended the intervention was significantly strengthened after the intervention by demonstrating extended dimensions, more vivid vision and strengthened confidence in forming the vision. The students’ Ought-to L2 Self was weakened with moderate effect size, by better vision of language learning and more focus on learning aims. The students’ L2 Learning Experience was greatly improved by stronger vision of English use. The students’ Intended L2 Learning Efforts were significantly increased by forming clearer learning aims, turning passive learning to active learning, and having detailed action plans and reflections. The strengthened Ideal L2 Self was effective to weaken the Ought-to L2 Self, and thus decrease the pressure from others’ opinions on students’ language learning. The strong Ideal L2 Self helped to decrease the negative impact of L2 Learning Experience and improve the students’ perception of existing learning experience. Finally, it helped students be more willing to learn English and put more efforts in the learning process.

Thus, this study suggests that the Ideal-L2-Self intervention can be an effective way of promoting the L2 motivation of English majors whose characteristics and context are similar to those participating in this study. In language teaching, it is important for teachers to strengthen learners’ Ideal L2 Self by improving their confidence and encourage students to focus on their own learning process by providing them with various supportive motivational strategies, such as detailed analysis of learning aims, obstacles and a realistic action plan with meaningful reflections.



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