PhD Oral Exam - Yeji Han, Education
When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.
Motivation plays a crucial role in second language (L2) learning processes. A substantial body of recent L2 motivation research has adopted the ideal and ought-to L2 selves as a theoretical framework to understand L2 motivation. However, the learning mechanisms underlying the L2 selves have not been fully explored. This dissertation addresses the influence of promotion and prevention foci, operationalized as motivational tendencies of the ideal and ought-to L2 selves and as task-induced conditions on L2 oral task performance, targeting Vietnamese learners of L2 Korean.
Study 1 explored the linguistic signature of promotion and prevention foci, operationalized as 1) trait-based motivational tendencies measured by the promotion- and prevention-instrumentality scales (Taguchi, Magid, & Papi, 2009) and 2) decision-making tasks with approach and avoidance instructions to temporarily trigger promotion and prevention foci. The results showed that the prevention-oriented task led to more accurate and fluent speech, while no main or interaction effects were found from trait-based promotion- and prevention-instrumentality. The promotion- and prevention-instrumentality scales showed low internal consistency, possibly due to the different learning contexts from the original study (Taguchi et al., 2009).
Therefore, Study 2 aimed to test the applicability of the promotion- and prevention-instrumentality scales, targeting Vietnamese learners of L2 Korean. Furthermore, the promotion and prevention concept was applied to develop the promotion- and prevention-motivated behaviour scales. Since promotion- and prevention-motivated behaviour was a new construct, its construct validity was tested through principal component analysis (PCA) of the questionnaire items and chi-square analysis with two groups of learners with the promotion- and prevention-motivated behavioural tendencies and their ideal and ought-to L2 selves distributions. The L2 selves were measured by open-ended questions and qualitatively coded in order to examine context-specific L2 selves among the learner population.
Study 3 was a conceptual extension of Study 1, investigating the main and interaction effects of promotion and prevention foci as trait-based tendencies and task-induced temporary conditions on the quality of L2 speech performance. In addition, attentional focus on task performance was qualitatively explored by stimulated recall episodes. The measure for the promotion and prevention orientations was adopted from Study 2, and the oral task was collaborative reasoning interactional role-play.