Creating Motivational Language Learning Experiences during the “Critical Period”

Junqing Jia


Few studies have touched upon language learning motivation of advanced-level learners of Chinese, even fewer have proposed a pedagogical framework to understand and create motivational pathways. This paper aims to fill the gap by addressing a critical period of foreign language training where students are transforming from learning the foreign language to learning domain knowledge in the foreign language. Having drawn upon Confucian concepts and contextualized curricular examples, this paper proposes a framework suggesting that learners at this stage experience a less discussed psychological complexity due to their high level of language proficiency and lack of multilingual domain capacities. They are also gradually transforming into autonomous language users who expand their social milieu through demonstrating domain expertise. As such, the pedagogical implications place an emphasis on helping advanced-level Chinese learners to establish domain-specific vision and linguistic capability so that they can perform in multicultural contexts. In particular, motivational pathways during this stage should be constructed to encourage learners to constantly reflect on their recent past self and establish visions of the future one.

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