Lack of student motivation complicates our teaching and leads to poor student learning. Often it seems like there is little teachers can do about students' motivation for learning. However, motivation is not a fixed characteristic; teachers can inlfuence students' effort and persistence. We may not transform every student into a self motivated learner--but we can orient our classes and practices to better support student effort and persistence.
Here are some resources and tools to help teachers better understand the factors that underlie student motivation and strategies teachers can use to support student motivation in their classes. These include:
- Motivating Student Learning workshop (PPT slides) held November 2011.
- Motivation Part 1: Factors that Influence Student Motivation (10 minute video).
- Motivation Part 2: Strategies to Improve Student Motivation (10 minute video).
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us (animated presentation by Daniel Pink)
- Exam Wrappers--examples of a technique in which students analyze their preparation and performance on exams (or other assignments) and propose ways they can improve their future learning.
- Can Perseverance be Taught (17 minute TEDxBlue talk by Angela Duckworth)
Exam Wrappers are post-exam assignments in which students analyze their preparation and performance on an exam and then propose ways to improve their future learning. Introduced by Marsha Lovett and colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University, exam wrappers engage students in being more self aware about the relationship between their preparation and performance and act more strategically as they try to improve their learning in a course. See additional examples of how instructors are using these types of metacognitive assignments to promote the development of more sophisticated "self regulated" learning.
Can perseverance be taught? Angela Duckworth's research focuses on the nature and development of dogged perseverance--True Grit--as she calls it.