Author Topic: Strategies for Motivating Students  (Read 344 times)

Offline A.S. Rafi

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Strategies for Motivating Students
« on: June 01, 2014, 05:05:56 PM »
James Middleton, Joan Littlefield, and Rich Lehrer have proposed the following model of intrinsic academic motivation.

    First, given the opportunity to engage in a learning activity, a student determines if the activity is one that is known to be interesting.  If so, the student engages in the activity.
    If not, then the student evaluates the activity on two factors—the stimulation (e.g. challenge, curiosity, fantasy) it provides and the personal control (e.g. free choice, not too difficult) it affords.
    If the student perceives the activity as stimulating and controllable, then the student tentatively labels the activity as interesting and engages in it.  If either condition becomes insufficient, then the student disengages from the activity—unless some extrinsic motivator influences the student to continue.
    If the activity is repeatedly deemed stimulating and controllable, then the student may deem the activity interesting.  Then the student will be more likely to engage in the activity in the future.
    If over time activities that are deemed interesting provide little stimulation or control, then the student will remove the activity from his or her mental list of interesting activities.

The challenge, then, is to provide teaching and learning activities that are both stimulating and offer students a degree of personal control.

Source: James A. Middleton, “A Study of Intrinsic Motivation in the Mathematics Classroom: A Personal Constructs Approach,” Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, Vol. 26, No. 3, pages 255-257.
Strategies for Motivating Students

Following are some research-based strategies for motivating students to learn.

    Become a role model for student interest. Deliver your presentations with energy and enthusiasm.  As a display of your motivation, your passion motivates your students. Make the course personal, showing why you are interested in the material.
    Get to know your students. You will be able to better tailor your instruction to the students’ concerns and backgrounds, and your personal interest in them will inspire their personal loyalty to you. Display a strong interest in students’ learning and a faith in their abilities.
    Use examples freely. Many students want to be shown why a concept or technique is useful before they want to study it further. Inform students about how your course prepares students for future opportunities.
    Use a variety of student-active teaching activities. These activities directly engage students in the material and give them opportunities to achieve a level of mastery.
        Teach by discovery.  Students find as satisfying as reasoning through a problem and discovering the underlying principle on their own.
        Cooperative learning activities are particularly effective as they also provide positive social pressure.
    Set realistic performance goals and help students achieve them by encouraging them to set their own reasonable goals. Design assignments that are appropriately challenging in view of the experience and aptitude of the class.
    Place appropriate emphasis on testing and grading. Tests should be a means of showing what students have mastered, not what they have not. Avoid grading on the curve and give everyone the opportunity to achieve the highest standard and grades.
    Be free with praise and constructive in criticism. Negative comments should pertain to particular performances, not the performer. Offer nonjudgmental feedback on students’ work, stress opportunities to improve, look for ways to stimulate advancement, and avoid dividing students into sheep and goats.

    Give students as much control over their own education as possible. Let students choose paper and project topics that interest them. Assess them in a variety of ways (tests, papers, projects, presentations, etc.) to give students more control over how they show their understanding to you. Give students options for how these assignments are weighted.

Sources:

    Ken Bain, What the Best College Teachers Do, Harvard University Press, 2004, pages 32-42.
    Linda Nilson, Teaching At Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors, 2nd edition, Anker Publishing, 2003, pages 41-44.
    Matt DeLong and Dale Winter, Learning to Teaching and Teaching to Learn Mathematics: Resources for Professional Development, Mathematical Association of America, 2002, pages 159-168.
Abu Saleh Md. Rafi
Senior Lecturer,
Department of English.
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Daffodil International University.