Identity, Motivation and Autonomy in Language Learning Edited by: Garold Murray, Xuesong (Andy) Gao, Terry Lamb

Ebook(EPUB) - 280 pages
Related Formats:
Paperback Hardback PDF 
14 Apr 2011
Second Language Acquisition
Multilingual Matters
210 x 148


In this volume researchers from Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North and South America employ a variety of theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches in their exploration of the links between identity, motivation, and autonomy in language learning. On a conceptual level the authors explore issues related to agency, metacognition, imagination, beliefs, and self. The book also addresses practice in classroom, self-access, and distance education contexts, considering topics such as teachers’ views on motivation, plurilingual learning, sustaining motivation in distance education, pop culture and gaming, study abroad, and the role of agency and identity in the motivation of pre-service teachers. The book concludes with a discussion of how an approach which sees identity, motivation, and autonomy as interrelated constructs has the potential to inform theory, practice and future research directions in the field of language teaching and learning.


Through the use of qualitative research methods, the authors explore the complex, contingent, and dynamic nature of motivation, identity, and autonomy-both for language learners and teachers-in many different parts of the world. Importantly, they also look for relationships among the three constructs. This is precisely the integrative approach that should be encouraged as we seek to understand the lived experience of individuals.

- Diane Larsen-Freeman, Professor of Education, Professor of Linguistics, Research Scientist, English Language Institute, University of Michigan

There is no doubt that identity, motivation and autonomy are closely related concepts, yet this link has typically been underrepresented in the literature. This rich collection of papers offers to redress this by examining how the language learner’s agency, will and self interact in a wide range of cultures and contexts, and how they jointly shape learner behaviours and classroom practices. A particular strength of the anthology is that it offers a good balance of discussions of the latest theoretical approaches (such as complex dynamic systems theory and sociocultural approaches) and data-based investigations in which we can hear the voices of real learners in real classrooms. Readers will find that the issues are covered in impressive breadth and depth: there is something for everybody in this useful and insightful volume and I am convinced that nobody will leave it ‘empty-handed’. Highly recommended.

- Zoltan Dornyei

A very informative and serious read.

- Humanising Language Teaching Issue 3, June 2012 - Hanna Kryszewska, University of Gdansk, Poland

The book certainly takes an important step towards its stated aim of synergising findings regarding interactions between identity, motivation, and autonomy, and is recommended to anyone interested in the lived, holistic experiences of language learners and those involved with them.

- JALT Journal, 35.2 • November 2013 - Richard J. Sampson, Gunma University, Japan

Author Biography:

Garold Murray is associate professor in the Language Education Centre, Okayama University, Japan. His research employs ethnography and narrative inquiry to explore autonomy, metacognition, and community in relation to classroom, out-of-class, and self-access language learning.

Xuesong (Andy) Gao is assistant professor at the Department of English, Hong Kong Institute of Education. His research interests include language learning strategy, learner narratives and teacher development.

Terry Lamb is based in the School of Education, University of Sheffield, England. He has published widely in the fields of learner and teacher autonomy, multilingualism, language policy, and teacher development.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate

Book Preview