The role of learner identity and learner beliefs in the process of composing EFL texts
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The present dissertation examines the process of writing in a foreign language, focusing on advanced EFL learners` beliefs and learner identity. The dissertation consists of six chapters: the first three provide a theoretical background, while the remaining three report on the conducted research studies and their findings. The thesis investigates students` attitudes and beliefs concerning writing, both in L1 and in L2. It also set out to verify whether the students` beliefs are reflected in their actual writing practices. The last issue investigated in the present thesis concerns the advanced EFL students` perception of the writing processes in the two languages, namely in Polish and in English, as well as the opportunities EFL writing creates for mature EFL writers. Namely, an exploration of the students` perceptions and feelings concerning writing in L1 and L2 is undertaken in order to understand the student writer L2 self better. The present thesis is hoped to have contributed to the existing research on the concept of student writer identity in foreign language writing. The author wished to demonstrate that the process of writing in the foreign language is much more complex and personal than many writing instructors may think. On the one hand, writing in L2 poses problems of linguistic nature; on the other hand, for the advanced EFL learners writing in L2 creates opportunities they would never have when composing in their mother tongue: they may treat their L2 as a protective shield when expressing emotions or voicing controversial opinions; they are given freedom in creating themselves from the very beginning as they may escape their everyday lives which are grounded in their mother tongue and they may try to become a part of the world which speaks the foreign language. Some may call it putting on a mask, while some will talk about becoming a new person when composing in the foreign language. Whatever we call this change within us, it is undisputed that in the case of the advanced EFL learners who prefer to compose in the foreign language, 289 the foreign language creates opportunities they do not have in their mother tongue. And in contrast to doubts and insecurities of bilinguals who often face problems deciding which self is truly theirs, EFL learners, at least advanced EFL learners, welcome the opportunities which are created thanks to the foreign language.