Student Volunteer Motivations in a Student Support Centre for English for Academic Purposes Students


  • Joe Dobson Thompson Rivers University
  • Hilda Freimuth Thompson Rivers University
  • Ishka Rodriques Thompson Rivers University



Post-secondary Students, Motivation, Learning Centre, Volunteering, Self-Access Centre, English for Academic Purposes


The findings presented in this paper look at the motivations of volunteers who supported English for Academic Purposes students at a self-access Language Learning Centre at a university in Canada. It also importantly sheds light on the motivations of a less investigated aspect of volunteerism, that of non-native English speakers who provide support to English language learners. In this study, 90% of the volunteers were non-native speakers of English, with most being international students. The majority of the volunteers were also graduate students (90%). Thirty volunteers in total participated in the survey, with seven volunteers participating in the focus group study. The data gleaned from both the survey and the focus groups in terms of motivations were analyzed (the latter via a content analysis) and then placed into the categories of Clary et al.’s (1998) Volunteer Function Inventory. The analysis revealed that a strong motivating factor for many was career-related, with a secondary motive of learning through volunteering in the centre or of using previously unused skills at the centre. Additionally, 97% of the volunteer students surveyed stated their work at the centre was an opportunity to make new friends.

Author Biographies

Joe Dobson, Thompson Rivers University

Joe Dobson is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of English Language Learning and Teaching at Thompson Rivers University.

Hilda Freimuth, Thompson Rivers University

Dr. Hilda Freimuth is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the English as a Second Language Department at Thompson Rivers University.

Ishka Rodriques, Thompson Rivers University

Ishka Rodriques is a Master of Education student at Thompson Rivers University.




How to Cite

Dobson, J., Freimuth, H., & Rodriques, I. (2021). Student Volunteer Motivations in a Student Support Centre for English for Academic Purposes Students . BC TEAL Journal, 6(1), 59–77.