What do you consider as the main reason(s) why adult learners decide to participate in an English language course?
Here are my overall conclusions, in brief, so far.
I am basing the following overview on my TESOL experience with adult learners ranging between the ages of 18 to 65+ in post secondary education in Greece. Through discussions with groups of learners but also with the use of my own questionnaires, I was surprised to find out that, in this context of learning, my sample of learners (90 in toto for this research) were not so much keen on acquiring yet another professional qualification per se (only 13 out of 90 chose this).
Quite the contrary, the vast majority (65) were mostly intrinsically motivated and chose to attend because of personal interest in the subject. The second most popular reason for their choice of course was Gnostic aims (59). Self knowledge, inner self development and acquiring the new knowledge were all of equal importance to them. As for their third most popular aim, that was'Escapism' (47). Receiving praise, achieving a sense of self-fulfillment, self worth and escaping the usual routine were some of the parameters the learners themselves put forward. Following that, a good proportion of them (37/70) saw their participation in the language course as an opportunity to socialise and/or assist family members in the learning process.
Adult learners' motivation has always been yet another area of research and consideration. From an English language educator's perspective, this is only the starting point from which course design, materials development and teaching theories can spring.
So, what are your conclusions? It would be great to see more contributions from different angles/experiences.
* Inscription at the Edinburgh Academy secretariat entrance