My research involves the psychology of language learning and teaching, and falls into six main areas.
(i) Second Language Motivation
Much of my work has focused on motivation to learn English. As well as empirical studies with an emphasis on motivational dynamics and the employment of complex dynamic systems methodologies, my work has also focused on construct and conceptual development.
Henry, A. & Cliffordson, C. (2017). The impact of out-of-school factors on motivation to learn English: Self-discrepancies, beliefs, and experiences of self-authenticity. Applied Linguistics 38 (5)688-712. https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amv060
Thorsen, C., Henry, A. & Cliffordson, C. (2018, advance access). The case of a missing person? The current L2 self and the L2 Motivational Self System. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2017.1388356
Following on from my thesis work, I have continued to examine the motivational effects of parallel language learning, and the influences – positive and negative – of the simultaneous acquisition of two or more foreign languages.
Henry, A. (2017). L2 motivation and multilingual identities. Modern Language Journal 101 (3) 548-565. https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12412
Henry, A. & Thorsen, C. (2017, advance access). The ideal multilingual self: Validity, influences on motivation, and role in a multilingual education. International Journal of Multilingualism. doi.org/10.1080/14790718.2017.1411916
(iii) Directed Motivational Currents (DMCs)
A directed motivational current is a novel construct that captures high-intensity motivation that endures over time. My work has involved the development and empirical validation of the DMC construct.
Henry, A., Davydenko, S. & Dörnyei, Z. (2015). The anatomy of directed motivational currents: Exploring intense and enduring periods of L2 motivation. Modern Language Journal 99 (2) 329-345. https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12214
Dörnyei, Z., Henry, A. & Muir, C. (2016). Motivational Currents in Language Learning: Frameworks for Focused Interventions. New York: Routledge. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/9781317679257
(iv) Language Teacher Identities
As a language teacher educator, I am interested in all aspects of identity development during programs of preservice education.
Henry, A. (2016). Conceptualizing teacher identity as a complex dynamic system: Tensions during the practicum. Journal of Teacher Education 67 (4), 291-305. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022487116655382
Henry, A. & Tynkkinen, M. (2017). Becoming a process researcher of one’s own development: Using an identity mapping model to make sense of transformation dynamics during the practicum. In T. Gregersen & P. D. MacIntyre (Eds.). Innovative Practices in Language Teacher Education (pp. 295-228). New York: Springer.
(v) Language Learning and Migration
Globalization and increased transnational migration mean that growing numbers of adults find themselves learning additional languages, either by choice or through circumstances not of their choosing. My work has focused on language choices in communication events, and the effects of lingua franca English on willingness to communicate in Swedish.
Henry, A. (2016). Swedish or English? Migrants’ experiences of the exchangeability of language resources. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 19 (4) 442-463. https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2015.1008979
Henry, A. (2016). Enablements and constraints: Inventorying affordances associated with lingua franca English. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism 19 (5) 488-510. https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2015.1014465
(vi) Digital Technologies and Students’ Motivation
Digital technologies constitute an important dimension of language learning, both within and beyond the classroom. My work has focused on the influences of digitally-mediated experiences on motivation to learn English.
Henry, A. (2013). Digital gaming and ELT: Bridging the authenticity gap. In E. Ushioda (Ed.). International perspectives on English language teaching: Motivation (pp. 133-155). Houndmills: Palgrave McMillan. https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9781137000866
Adolphs, S., Clark, L., Dörnyei, Z., Glover, T. Henry, A. Muir, C., Sánchez-Lovano, E., & Valstar, M. (2018, advance access). Digital innovations in L2 motivation: Harnessing the power of the Ideal L2 Self. System. doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2018.07.014
As well as individual studies, I have collaborated on book and anthology projects with leading researchers in the UK, Hungary, Canada and Japan.
Dörnyei, Z., MacIntyre, P. D. & Henry, A. (2015). Motivational Dynamics in Language Learning. Bristol, England: Multilingual Matters. http://www.multilingual-matters.com/display.asp?K=9781783092567
Lamb, M., Csizér, K., Henry, A. & Ryan, S. (in preparation). Handbook of L2 Motivation. Houndmills: Palgrave.
In carrying out research into the psychology of language learning and teaching, and important aim has been to provide accessible and useable guidance and materials to practitioners. In addition to regularly speaking at language teacher conferences, I have written a number of textbooks and collaborated in the development of course syllabi, and production of materials for teachers as part of the ‘Språksprånget’ program (Lärarlyft för Moderna Språk, Skolverket).
Henry, A. (2008). Upside Down A: Stories from the English-speaking world. Stockholm: Natur & Kultur.
Henry, A. (2009). Upside Down B: More stories from the English-speaking world. Stockholm: Natur & Kultur.
Henry, A. (2010). Listen Up! Stockholm: Natur och Kultur.
Henry, A. (2012). Echo Stories (English 5). Stockholm: Natur och Kultur.
Henry, A. (2013). Turning Points. Århus: Systime.
Henry, A. (2013). Upside Down. Århus: Systime.
Henry, A. & Persson Å. (2014). Echo Stories (English 6). Stockholm: Natur och Kultur.
In 2015 the ’Echo’ books were shortlisted for the BELMA (Best European Learning Materials Award). (Aim: to recognise “high quality educational materials that have been produced in any country in Europe”).
A four-year project funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) (Grant no 2013-785, 7.4 mkr). The purpose of the project was to examine the practice of teachers who were successful motivators, to develop conceptual understandings, and to disseminate examples of good practice to language teachers in Sweden and abroad.
Alastair Henry, University West (PI)
Cecilia Thorsen, University West
Pia Sundqvist, Karlstad University
In Sweden, students have extensive encounters with English outside the classroom. The major motivational challenge facing teachers is therefore to create goal-directed learning opportunities that connect with students’ out-of-school experiences. With the purpose of investigating the practice of teachers who are successful in meeting this challenge, ethnographic research was carried out in the classrooms of 16 “successful motivators” (Lamb, 2017). These teachers were identified in a survey were a randomly drawn sample of English teachers in grades 6–9 had been asked about beliefs and practices. The research took place during 2015 and 2016. Three types of data were collected: (a) field data: observations of lessons, including informal conversations with teachers and students, (b) interview data: semi-structured interviews with teachers and focus group interviews with students, and (c) documentary data: lesson plans, teaching materials, and artifacts produced by students.
Investigations of the following topic areas have been carried out:
• Teachers’ motivational strategies
• Digital media creation and L2 motivation
• Culturally-responsive teaching and L2 motivation
• Teacher–student relationships and the influences on students’ motivation
• Teachers’ self-disclosure practices and the influences on students’ motivation
• Teacher empathy and students’ motivation
• Students’ engagement and disaffection
• Motivation and project work
Henry, A., Korp, H., Sundqvist, P. & Thorsen, C. (2018). Motivational strategies and the reframing of English: Activity design and challenges for teachers in contexts of extensive extramural encounters. TESOL Quarterly, 52 (2), 247-273. https://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.394
Henry, A. & Thorsen, C. (2018). Teacher-student relationships and L2 motivation. Modern Language Journal 102 (1), 218–241. https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12446
Henry, A. & Thorsen, C. (2018, advance access). Teachers’ self-disclosures and influences on students’ motivation: A relational perspective. International Journal of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education. doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2018.1441261
Henry, A. & Thorsen, C. (in press). Weaving webs of connection: Empathy, perspective taking, and students’ motivation. Studies in Second Language learning and Teaching.
Henry, A & Thorsen, C. (in press). Disaffection and agentic engagement: ‘redesigning’ activities to enable authentic self-expression. Language Teaching Research.
Henry, A. (in review). Online media creation and L2 motivation: a socially-situated perspective.
Henry, A., Sundqvist, P. & Thorsen, C., (in press, publication Autumn, 2018) Motivational Practice: Insights from the Classroom. Lund: Studentlitteratur.
I teach language education on programs for primary, secondary and upper secondary teachers. In addition I teach on courses in general education, and supervise and examine undergraduate degree projects.
Identity is of increasing interest in teacher education. Crucial for resilience, the development of a coherent professional identity has been...
I kapitlet beskrivs språk som en kontext, och fokus är på identitetsskapande som kan kopplas till inlärning av främmande språk och språkanvändning.
Inspired by Steenbeek and van Geert’s (2015) proposal that teachers need to become process researchers of their own development, and making use of...
It has been suggested that in foreign language learning and ELF situations, identity might not be implicated in any great extent. Focusing on the...
Currently, the inner dynamics of teacher identity transformations remain a âblack box.â Conceptualizing preservice teacher identity as a comple...
Motivation in simultaneous L2 learning situations is an area of research largely overlooked and studies from contexts where people are engaged in...
The purpose of this questionnaire-based study is to investigate whether differences in ways in which teachers of English view the challenge of...
In this chapter I will suggest that in cultural contexts such as Sweden where English is an integral part of young people’s everyday lives and is...
Sustained motivation is crucial to learning a second language (L2), and one way to support this can be through the mental visualisation of ideal L2...
This chapter introduces the idea of directed motivational currents (DMCs), and maps out the conceptual antecedents. Explaining how the construct is...
Demotivation (Dörnyei & Ushioda, 2011) and non-participation (Norton, 2001) characterise negative responses to classroom practice of a generally...
Transcultural flows of capital, culture and communication have created conditions for the widespread movement of people around the globe, leading t...
This conceptual article focuses on student engagement, and the use of digital games in language classrooms. In making a contribution to the mapping...
In this Swedish case study of four upper secondary students engaged in simultaneous L2 (English) and L3 (Spanish, French and Russian) learning, a...
Introduction This paper explores multi-sited ethnography (Marcus, 2011) as a research strategy in L2 classroom research in regard to a specific...
Along with aptitude, motivation is the primary determiner of learning outcomes in second language (L2) learning. Widely regarded as an activity...
Students’ declining motivation to learn English in school presents a major challenge for teachers (Ushioda, 2013) and motivation researchers need t...
This article describes two inter-related research projects concerned with the teaching and learning of English in contemporary contexts, where...
This study explores the use of ‘retrodictive qualitative modelling’ (RQM), a novel approach described for L2 research by Dörnyei (2014) that involv...
Multiple language learning has been largely neglected in L2 motivation research. Recently, complexity principles have been used to model multilingu...
With roots in social psychology, second language (L2) motivation has largely been investigated using self-report techniques. Studies drawing on...
Building on Zoltán Dörnyei's authoritative work in the field of learner motivation, this book introduces a new conceptualization-Directed...
Motivational strategies are underresearched, and studies so far conducted have been in sociolinguistic contexts where English is not extensively...
Language teaching is all about relationships. As Earl Stevick famously put it, success in learning a language “depends less on materials, technique...
Digital technologies are increasingly common in language learning. Online media creation provides scope for agency and spaces for identity...
In this paper we offer an evaluation of 'retrodictive qualitative modelling' (RQM) in action. Drawing on data from a Hong Kong setting, we offer an...