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Exploring Motivation, Self-concept and Engagement in an EAP Setting: A Mixed Methods Study in Iraqi Kurdistan

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posted on 10.09.2021, 13:39 by Stacey A. Johnson
The aim of this mixed methods study is to explore EAP (English for Academic Purposes) classes at universities in Kurdistan, North Iraq. The relationship between teaching practices and ability grouping on students’ academic motivation, academic self-concept, and classroom engagement is explored through both teachers’ and students’ opinions, beliefs and perspectives via a Complex Dynamic Systems theory framework (Larsen-Freeman, 1997). Employing an exploratory sequential research design, a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies was used to analyse data from questionnaires, interviews and classroom observations.
The quantitative findings, arrived at through descriptive statistics and non-parametric tests, revealed that self-efficacy was significantly higher in single ability groups than in mixed ability groups of EAP learners while values for classroom environment and peer-learning were significantly higher in mixed ability classrooms.
The qualitative findings showed that single ability grouping was preferred by students and teachers as they believed the students’ academic motivation, self-concept and classroom engagement was higher when students studied in level specific classes amongst peers of a similar ability. Both data sets confirmed a correlation between teacher motivated behaviour (TMB) and learner motivated behaviour (LMB).
Overall, the complexity lens highlights the interrelatedness of the three constructs of academic motivation, academic self-concept and classroom engagement in an educational setting as a complex dynamic system. These findings could serve to change education policy in the Kurdistan region of Iraq which could improve teaching and learning outcomes in Kurdish universities.



Agneta Svalberg

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School of Education

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University of Leicester

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