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Abstract: This paper aims to investigate how virtual social spaces facilitate the expression of female and male Omani student-teachers’ identities, as compared to classroom contexts. The study follows a qualitative research design that is grounded in an interpretivist/constructivist paradigm. Focus group discussions and Language Learning Histories were used for data collection. Fourteen Omani EFL student-teachers participated in this study. The findings are discussed in relation to Dörnyei’s L2 Motivational Self System (2009), the Self-Determination Theory (2002), and Yashima’s International Posture (2009). The research data support the tripartite motivational model, with the expression of Omani-Islamic identity as a powerful motivation for Omani learners to participate in social media. Significantly, the findings reveal that participants’ online identity relates to their actual identity and, thus, bringing their offline identity to the digital context. In a sense, what they consumed offline fed into their online identity. Their online identity was filtered through the lens of English which facilitated their participation in virtual social spaces. The paper argues that social and cultural platforms afford wealthy exposure to and participatory involvement in multicultural-oriented spaces, promoting extensive research of the digital context. The findings of the research are topical as they resonate with the current thinking in the realm of motivation.
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