chapter  5
30 Pages

Motivation and Identity

The power of real and imagined communities
ByYoke Sim Fong

Between their enrolment in the Bridging Course (BC) and their graduation from the National University of Singapore, it appeared that the learner characteristic of motivation of the seven focal participants had been multi-faceted and complex. It had also retained its largely instrumental orientation and ought-to-self nature. Moreover, the findings indicate that their real or imagined communities had the power to shape their motivation. For instance, at the beginning of the BC, the university and the academic or professional world were the imagined communities they were expecting or aspiring to join as members, and mastery of English was a necessary condition for gaining a foothold in these future communities. Furthermore, their sense of identity in their real or imagined community influenced their investment and agency to make good their claims to membership. Thus, motivation, community, identity, investment and agency were interlinked as a complex of factors that propelled these learners forward in their learning.