Research on L2 motivation: why not look into classrooms?

“Researchers need to see motivation as a changing, dynamic and
micro-contextual phenomenon rather than as a stable psychological construct that
affects learning experiences” (Sert 2015, p. 173).

The picture below comes from a real classroom. The teacher is about to allocate the turn to the student on the left, who is “hiding” by covering his face with his right hand.  I am sure you have done this as a student before, or you have seen your students doing something like this. Unwillingness to Participate (Sert 2013, Sert 2015) can be displayed in many ways, and a conversation analyst can reveal this through an analysis of interaction in (L2) classrooms. This is what has been missing in “motivation” or “willingness to communicate” research in applied linguistics (but see Preston 2009).

A student covering his face with his right hand, as the teacher is about to allocate the turn to him
A student covering his face with his right hand, as the teacher is about to allocate the turn to him

I believe that a microanalytic take on L2 motivation research has lots to offer to further our understanding of language teaching and learning research. Classrooms are ideal places to observe student engagement, or  the lack of it. This has immediate relevance to motivation. Yet, this is still work in progress, and I would like to hear your ideas on methodological and theoretical issues on this phenomenon. Is L2 motivation, or the lack of it, a visible phenomenon?

References:
Preston, A.E. (2009), ‘The contribution of interaction to learner motivation in the MFL classroom’, unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Southampton.

Sert, O. (2013). (Un)willingness to participate as participants’ concern: reconsidering research on motivation in Applied Linguistics. American Associaton for Applied Linguistics Conference 2013. 16-19 March, 2013. Dallas, USA.

Sert, O. (2015). Social Interaction and L2 Classroom Discourse. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

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