Towards an Understanding of the L2 Selves of Australian Community/Heritage Language Learners

Towards an Understanding of the L2 Selves of Australian Community/Heritage Language Learners
Elke Stracke, PhD
Associate Professor in Applied Linguistics and TESOL
University of Canberra, Australia

About the Presentation
There are over 1,000 community language schools in Australia. They are complementary providers of languages education to mainstream schools. They are non-profit, after-hours institutions, and open to students regardless of their linguistic backgrounds.

Dr. Stracke will share information about her study exploring the motivation of children and teenagers learning community/heritage languages in Australia. The aim of this study is to profile the motivation of 8-17 year old learners using a multi-mixed method drawing on survey and interview data collected in selected community schools in the Australian Capital Territory. The L2 Motivational Self System formulated by Dörnyei (2005) serves as the theoretical framework for this study. In this presentation, I will discuss selected case studies from my rich interview data with learners of languages as diverse as Chinese, Mon or Tongan. My analysis will focus on the learners’ development of their ideal L2 self and/or ought-to self, since highly motivated L2 learners conceive their ideal self as an L2-speaking self. This research will shed light on these ideal selves, thus narrowing a research gap in motivation research by expanding the L2 Motivational Self System to the community/heritage language learning context, a new, not yet researched context. The study will add to an understanding of the nexus between motivation, culture, language, and identity.

Reference: Dörnyei, Z. (2005). The psychology of the language learner: individual differences in second language acquisition. Mahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum, 2005.

About the Presenter
Elke Stracke is an Associate Professor in Applied Linguistics and TESOL at the University of Canberra, Australia. Prior to joining the University of Canberra in 2007, she held university teaching and research positions in New Zealand (University of Otago), Australia (Australian National University) and Germany (University of Münster). Dr Stracke has held visiting scholarships in Australia (Australian National University; University of Melbourne), New Zealand (University of Otago), and the United States (UCLA) and lectured, among others, in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam. At the University of Canberra she has served as Associate Dean International, Head of Discipline of Applied Linguistics and Languages, and Higher Degree by Research Coordinator in the Faculty of Arts and Design. She is Research Ambassador and mentor for the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and is called on frequently for consultation on research and practice issues at overseas universities (e.g. University of the South Pacific, Fiji; University of Dammam, Saudi Arabia).

Dr. Stracke’s teaching and research interests have focused on educational and applied linguistics and sociolinguistics as well as doctoral education. For her work as PhD supervisor, she was awarded a University of Canberra Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in 2012. In 2014, she was nominated for a Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning by the Australian Office for Learning and Teaching as well as for a University of Canberra Award for Excellence in Supervision of Higher Degree by Research Students.

Her research interests concentrate on two broad areas: blended and independent language learning and their relationship with learner autonomy and, lately, language learning motivation; and feedback and assessment practices and peer learning in postgraduate supervision practice. Recent articles have appeared in Teaching in Higher Education, the Journal of English for Academic Purposes, the University of Sydney Papers in TESOL, the Journal of University Teaching and Learning Practice, and Reflective Practice: International and Multidisciplinary Perspectives, and a recent chapter appeared in the 2014 volume The Impact of Self-concept on Language Learning (Multilingual Matters). Dr Stracke served as associate editor for the Asian EFL Journal. She is also editor of the 2015 volume Intersections: Applied Linguistics as a Meeting Place (Cambridge Scholars Publishing) that explores the field of Applied Linguistics and its connections with other disciplines.

Dr. Stracke is currently on sabbatical and working on two projects: one a collaborative project (with Dr Vijay Kumar, University of Otago, New Zealand) on the assessment of PhD theses, and the second investigating the language learning motivation of Australian community/heritage language learners. During her Visiting Scholarship at CAL, she is focusing on her work in heritage language education.

Space is limited for this event. Please register no later than May 6, 2015 by emailing