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A really useful resource: Motivating Students

"I have students that are not engaged, how do I motivate them to learn?" It's a question I imagine we have all asked as teachers at one point or another. There is a lot of information out there dealing with student motivation across all age groups, but I'm looking for advice for the Higher Education context. I think I found a pretty good one from Vanderbilt University, it's nicely laid out, it focuses on core concepts and good practice: http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/teaching-guides/interactions/motivating-students/

Excerpt:

"Effects of Motivation on Learning Styles
  • Deep learners respond well to the challenge of mastering a difficult and complex subject. These are intrinsically motivated students who are often a joy to teach!
  • Strategic learners are motivated primarily by rewards. They react well to competition and the opportunity to best others. They often make good grades but won’t engage deeply with a subject unless there is a clear reward for doing so. They are sometimes called “bulimic learners,” learning as much as they need to do well on a test or exam and then promptly forgetting the material once the assessment is over.Handle strategic learners by avoiding appeals to competition. Appeal to their intrinsic interest in the subject at hand. Design your assignments (tests, papers, projects, etc.) so that deep engagement with the subject is necessary for success on the assignments. Do so by requiring students to apply, synthesize, or evaluate material instead of merely comprehending or memorizing material.
  • Surface learners are often motivated by a desire to avoid failure. They typically avoid deep learning because it they see it as inherently risky behavior. They will often do what it takes to pass an exam or course, but they won’t choose to go beyond the minimum required for fear of failure.Handle surface learners by helping them gain confidence in their abilities to learn and perform. “Scaffold” course material and assignments by designing a series of activities or assignments that build on each other over time in complexity and challenge. Encourage these learners often and help them reflect on what they’ve learned and what they’ve accomplished.
Source: Ken Bain, What the Best College Teachers Do, Harvard University Press, 2004, pages 40-41." (Source: http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/teaching-guides/interactions/motivating-students/)

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