Re: Motives and goals

From: Phil Chappell (
Date: Mon Feb 02 2004 - 04:13:16 PST

Mike refers to my terminology from within ANL's activity theoretic
framework. Okay, so the level of motive accounts for why something is
done, the level of goal what is done, and the level of operations how
it is done. To keep to the second language learning analogy, a language
learning task can result in different kinds of activity because the
task will be approached differently depending on the underlying
motives. The different activities may or may not result in different
operations, and individual's motives and operations are generative in
light of changing sociocultural conditions. This is not to defer to
Eugene's problem of the learner as a container, but rather as an agent
who responds to the shifting constraints and affordances of particular
settings. Learners may approach a task differently on different
occasions; they may think that a task at one time is a fun game, and
at another a serious linguistic pursuit. This makes the analysis of
collaborative learning activity all the more complex; as Jay mentions,
the multi-intentionality of each learner, i.e. agency in situ, prevents
us from making any causal relations. The relevance for the researcher
here is that motives need to be "nailed down" (understood?) so that
attempts can be made at understanding the interactions that occur
during the task (I am defining task as an arena for the construction of
activity). In particular for me, the supportive/"expert other" episodes
that occur during the activity. I guess this might be trying to see as
much of what is going on as we can?


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