Variables Affecting Adult Motivation and Interventions in ESL

Lejla Bilal

What is the relationship between motivation and outside variables such as learners’ skill level, age, gender, and first language competency?

An increasing enrollment number in adult ELL programs produces a greater need for adult-focused research. One area of interest is adult classroom motivation and specific variables that affect it (i.e., gender, age, background education, L2 competency). Variables affecting motivation have been studied extensively among linguists and psychologists alike, namely Paul Pintrich and Bernard Weiner, but with a focus in primary and secondary settings. Some research exists pertaining to motivation in higher education settings, with a variety of concentrations surrounding motivation and also engagement as an expression of motivation.

Because classroom dynamics differ significantly, focusing on adults in motivational research could produce useful and unique results. Looking at the specific variables mentioned above, a correlational study among adults at an adult language center will be conducted in hopes of uncovering the role these variables play in motivation in the ELL classroom. While we can rely on results from similar studies that focus on a different demographic to assist in intervention ideas and development, adult motivational research on its own deserves some consideration.

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