Motivation and Agency in Learning

By: Tristan Verboven  

In multicultural classrooms, the dynamics drive the pedagogy. Student motivation can be impeded by a wide range of factors. A student’s identity, education and background have an important influence on the learning process. Research reveals that the factors influencing learning all manifest themselves similarly: they affect student’s motivation. When motivation types are identified, they lay the groundwork for effective pedagogical design. This study focused on identifying levels of motivation in diverse adult-education ESL (English as a Second Language) classrooms. Since the courses were not driven by evaluations, and attendance was not compulsory, students were outside of the context of standard education. The study identified levels of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, investment in the culture of the language, and factors of agency that determine success. This analysis was then applied to larger groups of students to determine if motivational types or categories were consistent with group success rates. Results showed that pertinent information can be organized by broad motivational theories, and that motivational profiles can predict success outcomes, and guide educators to reaching students’ pedagogical needs. This is relevant to adult-education courses, but can be applied to a wide range of education, management and training contexts. Motivation plays an important role in all learning, regardless of its place within an educational system.

Motivation, ESL, Adult, Education
Organizational Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Tristan Verboven

Lecturer, Modern Languages, CEGEP Bois de Boulogne, Canada