Working possible selves—currently activated images of an ideal or feared future self—have been argued to guide one’s motivation and actions. This study investigated how possible selves affect L2 learners’ motivational behaviors of persistence and effort as shown in essay revision and proofreading. One hundred and twelve ESL students were assigned to one of four conditions: successful future selves, unsuccessful future selves, successful past selves, or successful future of others. Participants were asked to imagine and freewrite about their assigned condition and to revise their essay until they were satisfied with the writing. Following this, participants proofread a reading text containing spelling errors. The time spent on revision was considered as an indicator of persistence, and the number of spelling error corrections was taken to represent effort. The analysis of group differences in performance revealed that the successful past selves group persisted longer in the revision task than the successful future selves group. No group differences were found in the proofreading task. The finding that the successful future selves group scored lowest of the four groups in the revision task contrasts sharply with results from previous research. Possible explanations are discussed in relation to the theory of possible selves and task characteristics.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 4, 2015
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