The Relationship Between Self-Determination and English Language Acquisition: A Case Study of Human Determination, Self-Efficacy, & Success

Adil A. Khan, Scott Mavers, Destiny J. Benjamin, Rose Baker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Although technology can overcome decontextualized practices of language learning, learners’ success in independent language learning using the available technology depends on their motivation to carry out self-study. The Self-Determination Theory (SDT) suggests that some humans can remain zealous, motivated, and goal-oriented even when faced with challenges because of belief in their innate abilities. SDT explains such an individual’s confidence in their inherent growth tendencies and innate skills allows them to recognize, pursue, and grasp opportunities that help them meet their psychological needs for competence, connections, and autonomy. SDT extends to consider the mediating and moderating factors, such as educational, family, and community supports that can help individuals develop the levels of self-determination necessary to move beyond their current circumstances and improve their lives regardless of the obstacle they face along the way. Self-efficacy theory (SET) clarifies one’s beliefs of primary motivation to achieve an explicit goal. Within the roles of behavioral perspectives, self-determination, and motivation, educational psychology draws the relationships between cognition and mental physiology that contribute to human educational development. The purpose of this case study was to observe and describe the lived experiences of a Pakistani trash scavenger who rose to fame as an educator and world-famous motivational public speaker because of his personal beliefs and intrinsic motivation to become fluent in English. The study was relevant because it documents correlations between the psychological and sources of personal motivation and self-determination in the language acquisition process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLecture Notes in Educational Technology
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Educational Technology
ISSN (Print)2196-4963
ISSN (Electronic)2196-4971

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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