2. Disciplinary Significance Exemplified
Students’ content disciplines require central attention in the planning, designing and developing of EAP courses. Tertiary studies presuppose strong learner motivation, particularly since higher education is not compulsory and usually entails a considerable financial effort both for students and their families. Even though the choice to attend college may not be genuinely free but influenced by anxiety-provoking alternatives (Deci & Ryan, 1985, pp. 155–156), tertiary learners still decide on a degree programme, and it is reasonable to assume that, in Deci and Ryan’s terms, both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation (p. 66) play a role in such a decision. Furthermore, for accomplishing their goals in life, tertiary learners delay full-time employment and thus income with all its consequences, whereby they signal that they attach vital importance to their choice of studies. Smit and Dafouz (2012) have remarked that “students at university have reached advanced levels of cognitive development and decided to further their education of their own accord” (p. 3). In other words, learners tend to study tertiary subjects because they want to lay the foundations for a living, deepen their knowledge and skills or advance their career prospects in a certain field. It follows that students’ content disciplines are usually more than mere subjects of study and may lead to a personal identification with the discipline, an immersion in a target profession and a desire for advancing knowledge and the human condition through professional activity. Even those students who do not have such clear-cut motives and direct...
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