Learner Identity and Motivation: Connections to Aspiration

Guest post by Susan Smith Nash, Ph.D.

(e-Learning Queen) Learning can be a risky business, especially when it has to do with a learner’s sense of self and their identity.  For example, how might a person who is learning a language for the purpose of becoming part of a group comes to realize that the act of learning is modifying who and how she is? Is the change in one’s identity a good thing? If so, how and why? What impact does it have on learner motivation?

Podcast:  http://www.zenzebra.net/podcasts/motivation3-nash.mp3

A good example is the case of learning a language. While learning a language may be for the purposes of assimilating in a society (or, in a broader sense, fitting into a group or workplace) it is important to keep in mind that assimilation should not go too far, and seek to efface or obliterate the identities of the learners.

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