You are on page 1of 6

Book reviews

Lasagabaster, D., Doiz, A., & Sierra, J. M. (Eds.). (2014). Motivation and
foreign language learning: From theory to practice. Amsterdam: John
Benjamins. ISBN: 9789027269751. 190 pp.
Reviewed by Darío Luis Banegas (University of Warwick, UK)
Following Dörnyei and Ushioda (2011), motivation refers to those forces, whatever their source and direction, that make people decide, engage, and persist. In
education, the study of motivation usually refers to learners (but see Richardson,
Karabenick, & Watt, 2014). In the field of language learning, motivation is a powerful construct which has developed in its own right through the amalgamation
of different theoretical and research perspectives. Recent publications attest to dynamic and international landscape of motivation regarding learners and teachers
in their fluctuant contexts as well as teaching and learning processes (e.g. Csizér,
Kontra & Piniel, 2015; Hadfield & Dörnyei, 2013; Heinzmann, 2013; Ushioda,
2013). These titles also problematize the need to translate theorizing and research
into the classroom with the aim of enacting motivation for language learning and
teaching and promoting teacher inquiry.
It is at this interstice between research and classrooms that we may place the
title edited by Lasagabaster et al. As the editors explain, this book is the outcome
of a conference held at the University of the Basque Country in Vitoria-Gasteiz.
The book is divided into two sections: (1) theoretical and practical insights into
motivation, and (2) studies on motivation in foreign language classrooms. In total,
the book brings together nine chapters aimed at, above all, researchers, teacher
educators and teachers. However, these latter may find the practice side of the
book underdeveloped in terms of applications and motivational strategies. That
said, the quality references each chapter includes may act as a safe net to do teachers’ own bibliographical search.
Part 1 includes four chapters which, to some degree, become a framework
for practical accounts of language learning motivation. In particular, the first two
chapters offer encompassing theoretical insights. Chapter 1, authored by Zoltán
Dörnyei, Christine Muir and Zana Ibrahim, introduces the concept of directed
motivational current (DMC) defined as “an intense motivational drive which is
capable of both stimulating and supporting long-term behavior, such as learning a foreign/second language (L2)” (p. 9). Drawing on what we may call ocean
metaphors, the authors discuss DMC in terms of streams and flows to illustrate the
connections of this concept with theories of goal, self-determination, and vision.
Revista Española de Lingüística Aplicada 28:2 (2015), 641–646.  doi 10.1075/resla.28.2.11ban
issn 0213–2028 / e-issn 2254–6774 © John Benjamins Publishing Company

e. the practical implications put forward by the authors may be assessed as vague by experienced teachers or teacher educators. the practical side of this contribution could have included further guidance on how to enact exploratory practice around motivation and metacognition. From a sociocultural angle. they fail to engage with formal instruction at school. Chapters 3 and 4 assume a holistic stance in relation to the actors inside a classroom: teachers and learners. Chapter 4 by Magdalena Kubanyiova is a gem in the entire book as it is the only one which addresses language teacher motivation and cognition.642 Book reviews DMC is similar to notions of dynamic motivation. in this regard. Chapter 5 by Alastair Henry addresses the perceptions of a group of Swedish learners who are reported to believe that they learn more English outside of school. I believe that Kubanyiova’s concerns with teacher motivation should be a wake-up call for teacher educators and teacher education curriculum developers as more efforts are needed to build a vision for language teaching. I highly value Ushioda’s call to teachers to engage in exploratory practice to “work with their students to develop their will and skill to engage with cognitive and linguistic challenges in their learning” (p. I personally take her chapter as an invitation to engage in researching motivation in pre-service teacher education programmes. I agree with Coyle when she points out that through engaging teachers and learners in research we help materialize co-ownership and celebrate successful learning in language classrooms. The author arrives at this conclusion as the learners believe that while they acquire English in naturalistic environments. Perhaps. In Chapter 2 Ema Ushioda offers a sophisticated examination of the relationship between motivation. both authors succeed in linking theory and practice because they suggest concrete and doable ways of integrating voices and inspiring teachers’ vision. With this research concern in mind. and it helps educators see that motivation is not fixed and what may start as a colossal explosion may die out in time. Part 2 deals with motivation in the language classroom. In a similar vein. It goes without saying that language is a central scaffolding tool and therefore interaction between teachers and learners can help us see motivation in action and how we can engineer language interaction with the aim of assisting learners in the process of understanding their own thinking processes. While the theoretical underpinnings of DMC are robust. Both authors seem to share Ushioda’s interest in promoting teacher research. In this sense. dialogue. and metacognition. autonomy. i. In my view. the author suggests that the interface between L2 motivation and metacognition can be explored through the examination of classroom interaction. Henry adds . 46). While Do Coyle in Chapter 3 encourages the investigation of motivation in CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) settings through LOCIT-driven (Learning-oriented critical incident technique) practitioner research which includes both teachers and learners as researchers.

the authors illustrate their findings with both figures and quotes from learners. In line with the development of motivation research outlined by the authors in Part 1. The materials carefully included in the chapter show how language and thinking skills integration. Personally. we read published research which is a collection of stories of success. grammar and content are combined to scaffold the learning of school content through English. Book reviews 643 a unique angle to his research and book as his is the only chapter which includes gender as a variable to observe and problematise. Thus. and teachers may experience in relation to motivation and learning. thus giving them a voice. it is its implementation in context which will offer alternative learning paths. The chapter stems from a longitudinal . bears connections with Chapters 3 and 5 because of three main reasons: (1) their study placed secondary school learners in the center. As an EFL teacher myself. the author could have offered a more sophisticated treatment of gender differences in beliefs about learning English regardless of the context in which it occurs. Despite this call. their open questionnaire-based study produced qualitative answers which were then quantified to offer a condensed representation of learner voices. In this regard. While Lorenzo constructs a convincing rationale to support CLIL. I find this report extremely realistic for it discusses the advantages and disadvantages of CLIL in secondary education in Spain. sometimes this is done at the expense of EFL. Sadly. and (3) they carried out their research in a CLIL setting. the authors assert that motivation studies should move towards qualitative methods in order to account for thick descriptions and sound understanding of the ecology of learning. Chapter 8 by Vera Busse is unique because it tackles language learning motivation in higher education. Chapter 7 is written by Francisco Lorenzo. we seldom read articles which reflect failure or the major shortcomings that researchers. Although the main focus of the chapter is more Europe-centered. I believe that the situation of learner demotivation in formal instruction and how to tackle it may resonate with contexts outside Europe where learners attend English lessons at private language schools and therefore feel that the English learnt at school is fruitless. teachers. Chapter 6. An approach per se does not guarantee effectiveness. In the same way that Chapter 4 stands out in relation to its research participants. The materials developed under a context-responsive and bottom-up framework evidence the integrative nature of CLIL. I felt that some of Lorenzo’s comments were polemic or circumscribed to his local experiences and perceptions. culture. authored by the book editors. Usually. however. it is also true that we can find good EFL and CLIL practices as well as bad EFL and CLIL practices. While it is true that EFL teaching needs to improve in areas such as focus on meaning and communication. goals. and responses in a CLIL classroom. teacher educators. In his contribution the author examines the relationship between CLIL materials and learners’ positive attitudes. (2) they examined motivation as well as demotivation.

Their suggestions and examined trajectories of research on motivation are clear indicators of the developments in this area and the future directions it seems to be heading to. In addition. teachers and researchers. the most prolific and outstanding names in language learning motivation: Dörnyei and Ushioda. we may tend to signal mistakes and issues over positive aspects or progress achieved by higher education learners. Busse poses questions which can help learners visualize their own motivation trajectories and reflect upon their own learning experiences. goals. socioconstructivism. On the one hand. I believe that teacher educators and lecturers will find her motivational downward spiral helpful to guide their practices around feedback and assessment. As a researcher I found the book extremely updated and cutting-edge for it includes. The author succeeds in showing the impact that feedback has on learner motivation. sparkle teacher reflection and research interests. The authors recover the contributions of each author in the book. Last. vision. in my view. As an experienced practitioner I felt partially deceived. . The authors are aware of the fact that while Part 1 can resonate with general contexts. and interaction at different levels of formal education.644 Book reviews study carried out at two UK universities offering German degree courses. the book boasts powerful internal coherence. In this chapter the book editors bring together the theoretical framework discussed in Part 1 and the more specific research and account experiences included in Part 2. but seem to favor the dimensions of DMC as an umbrella framework to condense the book contents. and reality. goals. and a focus on Dörnyei’s L2 Motivational Self System successfully run across the contributions. That said. I expected accounts rooted in different language learning approaches. The title reads Motivation and foreign language learning: From theory to practice. In addition. a democratic and holistic view of motivation. all those who work in foreign language teacher education should become involved in action as well as exploratory research which helps us socialize our context-responsive practices. this chapter highlights a niche in the CLIL agenda: CLIL in language teaching programs. the authors scrutinize with clarity the mapping of the complex networks organized by notions such as metacognition. To curb this practice. Qualitative research. Similarly to Kubanyiova’s call. I should point out the general strengths and weaknesses I found in the book after approaching it through my double identity of practitioner and researcher. Consequently. Such an approach to constructing this chapter is effective because it helps the reader join the dots and recreate a mental picture of the complex but clear portrait of motivation in relation to learners. Chapter 9 is the epilogue to the volume. All the contributions constitute a strong scientific community in a Khunian sense of paradigm-tied community. Part 2’s suggestions are more context-bound. particularly as regards written assignments. More often than not.

W. An investigation of the self-related concepts and foreign language motivation of young Deaf and hard-of-hearing learners in Hungary.).uk . Karabenick. most of the contributions are CLIL-derived.. J.). Z.1057/9781137000873 Author’s address Darío Luis Banegas Sarmiento 798. (2015). (Ed. Despite the weaknesses I observed as a teacher. E. the practice side lacks development and variety in terms of scaffolding tools for teachers.). & Watt. S. I found that the practical suggestions and implications were perhaps more suitable for novice teachers. & Dörnyei. This may indicate two possible scenarios: (1) CLIL as an educational or language learning approach shows exponential expansion across Europe. 229–249. Teaching and researching motivation (2nd ed.Banegas@warwick. New York/Abingdon: Routledge. H. 2B CP 9200. (2013). K.. E. a prism. Book reviews 645 However. International perspectives on motivation: Language learning and professional challenges. (Eds.. Young language learners’ motivation and attitudes: Longitudinal. Esquel Argentina D. (2014). Hadfield. H. I highly recommend this book for teacher educators and CLIL researchers and practitioners interested in gaining deep insights into the dialogue between motivation and the integration of curricular content and language learning from a qualitative relational view. Kontra. comparative and explanatory perspectives.. K. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching. P. the book helped me understand the state of the art in the field of motivation at a theoretical level in an accessible reader-friendly manner. Heinzmann. On the other hand.. A. References Csizér. Z. the book is. Nevertheless. & Piniel. (2013). M. DOI: 10. Harlow: Pearson. London/New York: Bloomsbury. In general. (2011). & Ushioda. Motivating learning. (2013).. G. and (2) CLIL advocates need to prove with sound data and through different fronts that CLIL is an approach which deserves our full attention because there is research which supports its implementation. 5(2). S. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Dörnyei. E. It is built on a solid theoretical framework carefully constructed to disperse the motivation field into a spectrum of interdependent research possibilities. Richardson. Teacher motivation: Theory and practice. all in all.ac. the journey from theory to practice was short. Harlow: Pearson. Ushioda.

He is a curriculum developer and teacher educator at the Ministry of Education of the Chubut Province in Argentina. educational action research.646 Book reviews About the author Darío Luis Banegas holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Warwick (UK). materials development. He is also an associate fellow at the Centre for Applied Linguistics (University of Warwick) and research project director at University of La Sabana (Colombia) and University of La Plata (Argentina). His main interests are: CLIL. Darío is editor of the Argentinian Journal of Applied Linguistics. and initial language teacher education. .