Factors influencing Malaysian ESL learners’ engagement in academic writing (in L2)
This paper examines Malaysian learners’ engagement in academic writing (AW) in a second language (L2) in a higher learning institution. A quantitative means of exploring students’ engagement was incorporated as a starting point to capture a broad cross-sectional snapshot of Malaysian learners’ engagement in academic writing and identify pertinent issues of the target population. The quantitative analysis revealed that the majority of the students were highly engaged and that they responded differently in the engagement domains (e.g., high behavioural engagement and low cognitive engagement). The subsequent exploration in the qualitative phase affirmed that the socio-historical aspects of the Malaysian context (e.g., position of English, identity conflicts, and emphasis on education) were also pertinent factors influencing student engagement in the AW class. While a psychological perspective has helped elucidate how engagement dimensions interacted in the learning process, the broader sociocultural aspects helped provide further insights into the role of contextual influences on student engagement in the AW class, and how these were driven by, and also drive motivation towards academic literacy and legitimacy.
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