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College of Arts and Letters | Michigan State University

In the Spotlight

On this page we feature a member of the Second Language Studies Program. Right now our spotlight is on Mostafa Papi!

November 2014

Mostafa Papi

Mostafa Papi

My name is Mostafa Papi, and I am a Ph.D. candidate in the SLS Program.

Before coming to MSU, I completed BA and MA degrees in TESOL in Iran, and I taught English for five years in Iran. From the very first days of my teaching career, I felt that a lack of motivation was a problem that stopped my students from succeeding in their English classes. My curiosity for understanding how to motivate learners inspired me to study L2 motivation. My studies have involved a large number of participants and used different research methods to examine the topic including surveys (Papi, 2010; Papi & Teimouri, 2012, 2014; Taguchi, Papi, Magid, 2009), classroom observations (Papi & Abdollahzadeh, 2012), and interviews (Papi, 2013). I am currently using an experimental design for my dissertation project.

L2 motivation research has been overwhelmingly interested in finding the Holy Grail or the single magical motive that can motivate every individual to invest in and learn any language. This quantitative concept of motivation has resulted in the separation of motivation research from the actual process of second language learning and teaching, thereby leaving out the more important questions about how we can make learning better. Language teachers can use motivation research to make tasks more engaging, increase learners’ openness and interest in corrective feedback, motivate focus on form and grammar learning, make assessment a motivational tool, and design a language teaching syllabus that serves differently motivated learners. As a first step in this direction, my dissertation research project investigates how creating fit between language learners’ dominant regulatory focus (promotion vs. prevention) and the incentive structure of an integrated reading/writing task can result in differences in the learners’ engagement in the task, their attentional processes (as measured by eye-tracking), and their L2 vocabulary learning outcomes.

I am excited to be researching topics like motivated learning and motivational teaching, and I hope that my research results contribute to second language research and practice.


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