Motivation and Engagement to learn Swedish as a Second Language by Immigrant Adult professionals

Submitted by: Manar Halwani
Abstract: Motivation and Engagement to learn Swedish as a Second Language by Immigrant Adult professionals:

Abstract for the study

The study focusses on immigrant adults’ motivation and engagement to learn Swedish as a second language. Immigrants who have reached a higher level of education in their home country need to master Swedish in order to complete their education/accredit their professional training and integrate in the Swedish labour market. Adult immigrants learn basic Swedish through Swedish for Immigrants (SFI) or/and The Short Road (Korta Vägen) programmes during the two years of their establishment plan. However, after these two years many immigrants’ Swedish is still weak and does not meet the Swedish language requirements of their profession. For example, almost 40% of doctors with non-EU/EES education have failed the medical accreditation test due to language difficulties even when their medical knowledge is sufficient for accreditation (Läkartidningen, 2017). Understanding where the difficulties lie for these academically trained professionals is important, and one aspect that might assist in providing more appropriate teaching that might ameliorate some of these challenges is an understanding of how these students’ motivation with its flows and ebbs interacts with engagement. In other words, motivation for learning professional medical Swedish may affect learners' engagement when constructing, prioritizing, and developing specific linguistic and grammatical aspects in the Swedish language. Via questionnaires and interviews with adult immigrant professional learners of medical Swedish, this study develops a model of interaction between Directed Motivational Currents (Dörnyei et al. 2016) and Engagement with Language (Svalberg, 2009) that affords clearer investigation of the dynamics of processing a second language. Specifically this affords the investigation of relationships between:
1. Facilitative motivation structure and cognitive engagement
2. Positive emotionality and affective engagement
3. Goal-oriented motivation and social engagement
This will provide a better understanding of how learners navigate different situations to develop L2 skills, engage autonomously with the professional language being learnt, and continue interacting with other, including native, speakers of the L2.


Dörnyei, Z, Henry, A. & Muir, CH. (2016) Motivational Currents in Language Learning: Frameworks for Focused Interventions. New York: Routledge.

Läkartidningen. (2017), 114: EIR4.

Svalberg, A. M. L. (2009). Engagement with Language: Interrogating a Construct. Language Awareness, 18(3), pp. 1–17.

Sveriges kommuner och landsting, 2018. Retrieved 2018 December 14 from