EXPLORING DIRECTED MOTIVATIONAL CURRENTS OF ENGLISH AS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE LEARNERS AT THE TERTIARY LEVEL THROUGH THE DYNAMIC SYSTEMS PERSPECTIVE
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Having a grasp of foreign language learners’ ebbs and flows patterns and factors of motivation, affective state and effort can be of noteworthy value. This study aims to explore and identify freshman EFL learners’ motivational trajectories, signature dynamics, and patterns and factors of ebbs and flows of motivation, affective state, and effort at the tertiary level through dynamic systems perspective. To generate the participant cases of this study, Retrodictive Qualitative Modelling was utilized to obtain the identification of salient learner archetypes among EFL learners at the particular research site. The data collection instruments were motigraph, individual semi-structured interview, bi-weekly reflective journal, follow-up unstructured interview, and final follow-up semistructured interview. The data were then obtained from eight cases representing different motivational, emotional, cognitive, and behavioural archetypes to gain insights from the motivational archetypes of learners who manage to generate a highly intense goal-directed motivation (Directed Motivational Currents- DMC), those who have properties similar to DMC, and those who have different motivational, emotional, cognitive levels but do not experience a DMC. Qualitative data analyses indicated that the trajectories, patterns, signature dynamics, and factors within their motivational systems of the participant cases’ motivation, affective state, and effort are unique and highly contextualized. However, both their state spaces are driven by only a certain number of attractor states and also the factors are also in a limited number. The results of this study were discussed in relation to dynamic theories of motivation. Both theoretical and pedagogical implications were provided to call for further research.