Issues of motivation and identity positioning: two teachers’ motivational practices for engaging immigrant children in learning heritage languages

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This study investigates two Korean heritage language teachers’ motivational practices in relation to their identity positioning as heritage language (HL) teachers. Constant-comparative analyses of teachers’ interviews and classroom practices showed that the two teachers’ identity positioning as HL teachers was partially shaped by their earlier teaching experiences in specific cultural contexts and by the degree to which they understood their students as a result of their earlier interactions (or lack thereof). In addition, the teachers’ identity positioning of themselves and their students as well as their positioned relationships with students are closely tied to the teachers’ use of various classroom motivational discourses and practices (e.g. various types of autonomy-supportive versus controlling practices). This study concludes that HL teachers need to reflect on their implicit positioning and practices to better address the needs and perspectives of students in language-teaching contexts, where sociocultural complexities are continually evolving.