Possible L2 Selves for Students of Science and Engineering

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Glen Hill, Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine; Joseph Falout, Nihon University; Matthew Apple, Ritsumeikan University


Reliance on effective use of English for international collaborative endeavors permeates all science and engineering (S&E) fields—domains of research and development and production that hold a key intellectual resource for saving our planet from many problems it is facing. But S&E students in Japan lack motivation to learn English, although they are very much aware that English abilities are valued in scientific communities and will be needed for success in their future careers. Particularly deficient are these students’ abilities to imagine themselves using English in the future, a deficiency associated with feelings of present incompetence and incuriosity about making friends in communities that use English. This paper summarizes 3 studies designed to investigate the interplay of psychological factors leading to these motivational deficiencies and offers teachers examples for countering this dilemma in their classrooms.