CRAL
Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics
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Christine Muir

Assistant Professor in Second Language Acquisition, Faculty of Arts

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Expertise Summary

Areas of expertise

My primary research interests include second language acquisition (particularly related to the psychology of the language learner, including language learning motivation), group dynamics, the role of 'the self' in language learning, possibilities in language learning and teaching related to vision and mental imagery, directed motivational currents (DMCs), complex dynamic systems theory & related developments in research methodology.

Outreach and Public Engagement

As a member of the School of English I am involved in outreach activities and community engagement. I am currently also involved in several collaborative research projects with both the British Council and Cambridge University Press.

Teaching Summary

I began my career in the field of English Language Teaching (ELT) and have spent many years abroad teaching in diverse countries including Russia, Finland and the Czech Republic, and also back in the… read more

Research Summary

My primary research interests in recent years has been centred around a novel motivational framework: directed motivational currents (DMCs). A directed motivational current can be described as an… read more

Recent Publications

  • DÖRNYEI, Z., HENRY, A. and MUIR, C., 2016. Motivational currents in language learning: Frameworks for focused interventions. New York: Routledge.
  • DÖRNYEI, Z., IBRAHIM, Z. and MUIR, C., 2015. 'Directed Motivational Currents': Regulating complex dynamic systems through motivational surges. In: Z. DÖRNYEI, P. MACINTYRE and A. HENRY, eds., Motivational dynamics in language learning. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. Pp. 95-105.
  • DÖRNYEI, Z., MUIR, C. and IBRAHIM, Z., 2014. Directed Motivational Currents: Energising language learning by creating intense motivational pathways. In: D. LASAGABASTER, A. DOIZ and J.M. SIERRA, eds., Motivation and foreign language learning: From theory to practice. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Pp. 9-29.
  • MUIR, C. and DÖRNYEI, Z., 2013. Directed Motivational Currents: Using vision to create effective motivational pathways. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching. 3(3), 357-375.

I began my career in the field of English Language Teaching (ELT) and have spent many years abroad teaching in diverse countries including Russia, Finland and the Czech Republic, and also back in the UK. I have experience with course and materials writing, and have collaborated with international language schools in the development of language testing materials for diverse contexts.

My current teaching draws both on this experience and my personal research interests centred around the psychology of the language learner.

Undergraduate teaching

I am involved in teaching content related to second language acquisition and English language learning and teaching. Much of my undergraduate teaching is on the Year 2 module Second Language Learning, a broad introductory course which looks at a variety of issues surrounding both the theory and the more practical issues surrounding the learning and teaching of a second language.

Masters teaching

My Masters teaching is likewise based around the fields of second language acquisition and English language learning and teaching, and also includes the supervision of both live and distance dissertations.

Current Research

My primary research interests in recent years has been centred around a novel motivational framework: directed motivational currents (DMCs). A directed motivational current can be described as an intense motivational drive capable of both stimulating and supporting long term behaviour, such as language learning. It draws from several prominent strands of current theory, including the L2 motivational self system, goal and vision theories, and complex dynamic systems theory. The notion of directed motivational currents is unique in that it does not separate motivational impetus and subsequent action - as is the case in all other theories of motivation - but instead views them as a unified construct. A directed motivational current can function as a fundamental organiser of thought and action and so offers compelling motivational possibilities both inside the language classroom and in other contexts. My research has been aimed towards developing both our theoretical understanding of directed motivational currents and also their practical implications within the language classroom.

I am also involved in work on the project 'MOTIVATE: a multimodal approach to language learning motivation' (EPRSC Reference: EP/M02315X/1) based at the University of Nottingham. This interdisciplinary project - encompassing the fields of second language learning motivation, corpus linguistics and computer science - is following a groundbreaking research agenda looking to develop theories of possible selves (the 'ideal L2 Self' in particular) to develop the technology necessary that might allow language learners to actually see versions of their ideal selves visually on screen, rather than solely through their imaginations.

  • DÖRNYEI, Z., HENRY, A. and MUIR, C., 2016. Motivational currents in language learning: Frameworks for focused interventions. New York: Routledge.
  • DÖRNYEI, Z., IBRAHIM, Z. and MUIR, C., 2015. 'Directed Motivational Currents': Regulating complex dynamic systems through motivational surges. In: Z. DÖRNYEI, P. MACINTYRE and A. HENRY, eds., Motivational dynamics in language learning. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. Pp. 95-105.
  • DÖRNYEI, Z., MUIR, C. and IBRAHIM, Z., 2014. Directed Motivational Currents: Energising language learning by creating intense motivational pathways. In: D. LASAGABASTER, A. DOIZ and J.M. SIERRA, eds., Motivation and foreign language learning: From theory to practice. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Pp. 9-29.
  • MUIR, C. and DÖRNYEI, Z., 2013. Directed Motivational Currents: Using vision to create effective motivational pathways. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching. 3(3), 357-375.

Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics

The University of Nottingham
Nottingham
NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5900
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 5924
email: cral@nottingham.ac.uk