Vision is defined in the dictionary, as the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.
Stopa,(2009, p1) defines it as a “mental representation that occurs without the need for external sensory input”
How can having a vision influence your results when learning a language?
The way learners perceive themselves, especially the perception of what they desire for themselves in the future is highly influenced by their degree of motivation and their self-esteem. Motivation and self-esteem can in turn influence learners’ behaviours when trying to close the gap between where they are now, and where they want to be.
Various studies point out that there is a correlation between the intensity of motivation and learners’ ability to generate mental images (visualisations).
Success in second language learning is linked to learners ability to see themselves succeeding.
So, it seems that a key factor of second language learners(L2)’ motivation is linked to their ability to produce futuristic images of themselves.
Various experiments have shown the different ways of using images and imagination to empower learners in acquiring a second language. Other research papers focus on the role of images in shaping the motivation to learn a second language through promoting a vivid mental representation of oneself in the future. In such cases, possible selves can be seen as the vision of what might be.
The finding in these research is that mental images use the same neural mechanisms and pathways as the ones used when we are actually seeing an object. Learners with a detailed ideal self-image are more likely to be motivated to take action and study the language than the ones who don’t have a stated goal for themselves.
Learners who have the capability of forming vivid images about their future selves and the positive outcome they are looking for in their language study, and who can also hold on to this image for sufficient time, are the ones who are more likely to succeed.
Pre-living future language experiences boost motivation.
Pre-living future language experiences (producing vivid and lively images) is an important resource that can be used by learners to enhance their motivation when facing setbacks.
“Motivation explains why people select a particular activity, how long they are willing to persist in it and what effort they invest in it.” (Dörnyei,2001)
Therefore, a motivated learner establishes goals, works toward accomplishing them by starting a project, and most importantly carries on maintaining his/her learning effort. Wrapping these all up -as the main driving force of language learning – is the learner’s future self- image. This has the power – as said – to influence effort and persistence in acquiring the desired level in mastering the second language.
Mental imagery – the ability to imagine oneself as a successful user of the language – is paramount.
“I like to think of myself being able to use my second language to communicate at work with potential overseas customers”.
These are the kind of sentences that should be encouraged because they speak about the self-efficacy belief of learners. This is a future-oriented goal and shows the degree of learners’ confidence in reaching these goals.
To conclude, the beliefs learners hold play an important role in second language learning motivation. The ability of learners to hold a vision of themselves succeeding at language learning is essential in keeping motivation and helping them in the use of strategies like setting goals, starting the language journey and maintaining the course. In other words, it influences effort and persistence.
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