Changing Language Learning Mindsets: The Role of Implicit Theories of L2 Intelligence for Goal Orientations and Responses to Failure

  • Author / Creator
    Lou, Man-Tou
  • Most people likely hold mindsets, or beliefs, about language learning. Some people ascribe successful second language (L2) learning to a natural talent or an innate ability that cannot be further developed (i.e., an entity mindset), while other people believe that L2 learning is a flexible ability that can be improved (i.e., an incremental mindset). The mindsets that we hold orient our approach to the learning task at hand. This research applied Dweck’s (1999) implicit theories framework to the L2 context to understand the causal relation among students’ mindsets, goal orientations (i.e., learning goal, performance-approach goal, and performance-avoidance goal) and responses to failure situations (i.e., mastery response, helpless response, anxiety, and fear of failure). University students (N = 150) who registered a L2 class were randomly assigned to two experimental conditions in which different mindsets were primed, and then they complete a questionnaire about their L2 goals and responses in failure situations. The results showed that priming for an incremental mindsets, regardless of their perceived L2 ability, participants set higher learning goals and in turn expressed more mastery-orientated responses in failure situations. L2 learners who were primed for an entity theory, if they perceived themselves to have strong L2 skills, set higher performance-approach goals and in turn were more fearful of failure. The implications of these findings for L2 education are discussed in terms of changing L2 learners mindsets.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2014
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Daniels, Lia (Educational Psychology)
    • Masuda, Takahiko (Psychology)
    • Ranta, Leila (Educational Psychology)