Last night we had the latest installment of the Community College class for intermediate students. Since Nigel Fogden commented on one of the posts here, I've again been thinking about what motivates students to come out to attend an 8pm class in all kinds of weather. So I asked some of the participants last night what their motivations were.
Here is what they said about it:
uses English everyday in his work, and in addition to being enjoyable, he would like to be better at it.
finds out about language
learns knowledge important for us to live
accumulates knowledge, like a hobby
boosts self confidence through self improvement
Whether I can capitalize on any of these motivations as a language teacher is questionable. What I do believe is that these answers, though they may be part of the big picture, are just the convenient, easy to discuss answers that these learners have.
Motivations that were not mentioned are also fascinating. No one mentioned anything related to a career, for example, "English skills will get me a promotion." Aside from the feelings of self confidence, no one mentioned anything about good feelings. No one said that learning was just plain fun, lots more fun than sitting at home watching TV.