Increasing Student Motivation – Full Video
♪ [music playing– no dialogue]. ♪♪ (Barbara Walvoord). How’s the sound? Can anybody not hear me clearly? Alright, how’s the recording back there? I’m coming through okay? If I’m not, just give me the sign.
Alright, good afternoon, we’re here until 4 o’clock this afternoon, we’ll take a break in the middle, feel free to go out and refresh or drink whenever you want to in addition to that. And the goal here is that you will leave this session with some practical realistic ideas about how to enhance student motivation in the classroom, whether you are a student in that classroom or whether you are a faculty member in that classroom.
So I want to make a couple points at the very beginning, let me ask if there are any who did not get one of these handouts that’s included in the lime colored folder? Anybody not get a handout? Alright.
Here’s a couple things we all know, number one, engagement is critical to learning. Can’t not do it. It’s one of the most important factors in the classroom, and student motivation is something we can affect.
We can affect, students can affect their own motivation, faculty members can affect students’ motivation. It’s not fixed. So when we say, “This is an unmotivated student.” It’s not the same as saying, “This is a student with blue eyes.
” You can change motivation. Things affect it. And that’s the underlying ground of this afternoon session, how can we do that? It’s all too easy to blame the student or blame the teacher, you think it’s somebody else’s fault that I’m not motivated or that my students aren’t motivated.
So now I want to talk the rest of the afternoon about what are the things that affect motivation and how can we make those primary in our classrooms. So I’d like to go around now and ask, not all of you, but a sample of you, to please introduce yourselves, tell your name and your discipline or your where you’re from.
And, if you wish, one question you would like to have addressed during this workshop on motivation. And I’d like to choose the person who is third from the windows in each of the rows, considering a whole row to be all the way across, so third from the windows, start at the beginning, one, two, three.
(male speaker). I think my question is is that ideal magical classroom in which the students are talking and discussing on their own, is that possible or is that fantasy? (Barbara). [laughs] Okay, that’s a great question.
Third over. My name is Tim Kevin, I’m a corporate communications major, I don’t have as good of a question, but how would you motivate someone who isn’t motivated. (Barbara). Good question. Third over.
(female speaker). Hi, I’m [unclear audio], I’m a [unclear audio] technology instruction. I would like to know, how do you actually get students involved, how do you get them to talk? Especially with the seminar class, when it’s not just you talking as the professor, you would like the entire class to participate, how do you do that? (Babara).
Good question. Okay, one, two, three. Hello my name is Patricia Perkins, I’m a graduate student in Communication Studies, question. I think anything I probably would’ve asked has already been taken. (Barbara).
That’s okay, one, two, three. I’m Cindy [unclear dialogue] from the Student Success Center and one of the programs we oversee is a program for students who are on academic warning and they are manditorily placed into a course that they must take.
And they are not motivated in this course and they are very angry about being in this course. So my question would be how can we motivate the students to put their best effort forth in that course, which would then spill over into their other course work? (Barbara).
Good. And…three. Somebody, somebody be third there. Hard to tell who’s the, there you go. (Ryan). My name is Ryan [unclear], a corporate communications major, and I guess my question is, what are you doing to help the students [unclear audio].
(Barbara). Good. Lots of people asking how can we help students to be more vocal, more motivated, why aren’t they, how can and one of the qualities that, by which we measure motivation, is through the people talking in class.
Now I’d like to have us for just a minute brainstorm and call out what are the qualities that cause us to label a student or consider a student to be unmotivated. If you’re a student, or you’re a faculty member, when you talk about a student as being unmotivated, what behaviors are you talking about? Call them out, what do they do? They what? (speaker).
[unclear dialogue]. (Barbara). Lack of effort. What else? They don’t ask any questions, what else? They don’t do their homework. (male speaker). [unclear audio]. (Barbara). How can you tell if a teacher is not motivated, what does she do or he do? (male speaker).
They cancel class a lot, they act like a student. [audience laughter] (Barbara). Okay, other things? (female speaker). Lack of curiosity. (Barbara). Lack of curiosity. How do you know if a student is curious, what do they do that shows curiosity? Ask questions.
(female speaker). If they can paraphrase and then add on to what someone else is saying. (Barbara). Which causes you to conclude that they have listened. (male speaker). The thing is that they don’t see a useful purpose for what they have to do, they don’t connect whatever the teacher’s saying with content.
(Barbara). They don’t connect things to each other. Alright, so these are some of the behaviors that cause us to say that this student is unmotivated, now, I want us to generate as many ideas as possible about why that student is behaving that way.
I don’t want the label unmotivated for now, I want what are the reasons why a student might not come to class, might not say anything, might not appear interested, might not listen, might not follow up on questions? (female speaker).
I think what he said, they don’t make a connection to why its worthwhile to them, but sometimes they don’t think they can succeed. (speaker). [unclear audio] (male speaker). Many times, students think that they have to just repeat what’s already expected, but in higher education you’re supposed to synthesize an idea, but oftentimes students will be quiet because they think that you expecting a particular response, when you’re not.
You’re expecting their response. For example, I’ll ask students questions in class, and someone says, “What do you want me to say?” I’ll tell them, “Well, it’s your brain, how would I know duh?” If I can read your brain, then why are you in here? (male speaker).
I’m in math and a lot of my students just want to pass the test, they’re not interested in thinking or understanding, they just want to know how to get the answer. And if I can memorize something, I’ll get the test, and .
(Barbara). I want to use the word “Goal” here, because it is going to be important. What is the students’ goal? What is our goal for the students? What is the students’ goal? (female speaker). Some of my students are coming late because they can still get the expected grade that they want out of the class without coming on time or coming at all.
(Barbara). Other reasons why students? (female speaker). Some of it’s peer culture, like, it’s not cool to engage, it’s much more cool to act disengaged and detached. (female speaker). Their goal is the grade, and our goal is to make them learn.
(female speaker). I’m going to go a step further and say from their past experiences, if one knows that hey, I have achieved my goal, which is a B [unclear audio] then why do I need to do anything more? (Barbara).
Okay, talk to me about some other reasons. (male speaker). They’re not ready to take ownership of this knowledge they want to support some future event, a job or an activity, they don’t see that connection, I need to master this for myself, for me to get ahead, they see this as just a hurdle to get through.
(female speaker). Simply the teacher may be boring. (Barbara). The teacher may be boring? Could be. What else? Nobody has mentioned nutrition, no one has mentioned sleep deprivation, no one has mentioned my two kids are sick and my car broke down.
So let’s hear some stuff about that, what are students’ lives like? (male speaker). A lot of students go out starting Tuesday. (Barbara). Oh, I’m starting Tuesday. [audience laughter] Monday is to recover from the weekend.
So there’s a party culture that is very, I don’t even know whether attractive is the word, but very compelling for our students. And it is across the country, these student cultures, and if you read medieval records you’ll find that it goes all the way back to the 12th and 13th century when there are complaints written by townspeople about partying university students, and complaints by the monks who taught them, they were unmotivated.
So it goes back a long ways. Others, here. (male speaker). [unclear audio] On top of the class that the student might have, some students have five or six classes total, so I mean a workload and other classes, and sometimes I think teachers might neglect to realize that this isn’t the only class that the student has.
(female speaker). That’s really true and I think our students tend to take more classes than I ever did when I was in a university. Also many of them have to work outside of class a lot more than my fellow students did when I was in college, and I think that the professors come from a culture where we spend all our time on a college campus [unclear dialogue].
(Barbara). Any others? (male speaker). I just wanted to comment about the party culture. Often times one of the problems we have within [unclear audio] foundational values, and we often stop teaching students.
When I was an undergraduate student, you were taught that in order to play hard, you had to work hard, so it didn’t matter if you came in at 3 o’clock in the morning, if you have a class at 8 o’clock, you had better act as if you were there intentionally or either you could not go out.
But see today, in the peer culture, many are taught, “I can do whatever I want to do, as long as I like it.” And, my objective is to get to the product, but you have to walk through the process to get to the product, or either the product will be a guest meal.
(Barbara). So we have named an extraordinary range and number, haven’t we? Of reasons why students may exhibit the behaviors that we tend to label as unmotivated. This is an unmotivated student. But I want to complicate that term, unmotivated, and I want to complicate the term motivated, on the other side of the coin, to understand that there may be many reasons why our students are showing the behaviors that distress us as faculty members and that distress students themselves and their peers.
How many times have you heard or have student feedback come, on your student evaluations and so on, as a teacher, that, “I wish the other students in this class had been more motivated. I wish more people had talked during class, I wish students had come to class prepared,” Or if you ask students, what do you yourself think you could have done to enhance your learning in this class, what’s the most common thing they say? Participated more, read the assignment, come to class prepared.
It’s not that they don’t know. So, it’s a complicated set of issues that result in what we call the unmotivated student. (male speaker). I think sometimes the style of professors to teach is more of a more mellow style, and this is a generation that is connected differently because of the electronics and telecommunications revolution, the internet revolution that we pretend to keep teaching sometimes from the same old same last 300 years.
And you know, we have to accept that things have happened, things are totally different, and they may, we may need to change too. (Barbara). And maybe even the medieval students didn’t learn all that well by the pedagogical strategies that were used by some of their professors at that time.
One of the complaints that faculty members make about students is that they’re only motivated by grades. So this is the next step in our thinking now, step one is motivation really is critical to learning, and there is a huge body of research.
Number two, what we call motivation is very complicated and the behaviors that we tend to label as “This student is not motivated,” have many possible causes. The third idea then, that I want to address here is that we tend to be motivated externally when the motivation isn’t intrinsic, we tend to be motivated externally.
So I don’t really want to do the laundry, but I want to have clean clothes. Or I don’t want to pay my taxes, but I know there’s a huge penalty for me if I don’t pay my taxes and so, begrudgingly, I just get that done.
That’s one of the things in my life that carries a high penalty, I would like to speed 90 miles per hour between here and Champaign, but unfortunately, as some of you know, it’s possible to get a ticket doing that.
And so I adjust my behavior accordingly, and as faculty members, we tend not to like it very much when we think that students are motivated by the grades. They’re grade grubbers, we say, or they only care about the grade, and students themselves will sometimes enhance this impression by saying “What do I need to do to get,” or “the only thing I want to do is get a,” whatever.
I recently conducted a research project in 533 classes, students were asked in a questionnaire what they wanted to get out of the class. And an awful, awful awful lot of them said, among other things, “I want to get a good grade.
” “I want to get at least a B, I want to get the requirement for the gen-ed course, I want to get the requirement out of the way.” Which is a version of the same thing. But now, so that’s that fourth kind of concept that I have here, and now I want to complicate that concept.
I want to say, what would you think about a student who paid absolutely no attention to grades, whatsoever. Didn’t think about grades at all. Would that student be acting in a realistic way? No, grades are so critical, we have made them.
The students didn’t construct the system, we have constructed a system in which grades are enormously valuable, and they have very very strong rewards and punishments attached to them. So the wise and realistic student pays attention to grades.
I think we have to acknowledge that and acknowledge that that is smart, and realistic for them to do. Now, how can we then make the grading process and grades a positive rather than a negative influence in our classroom? How can we do that? I believe in using grades to motivate students and to direct their behavior, whether or not they are motivated.
And that’s one of the underlying philosophies behind this workshop. I believe that the grading system is one of the tools that we have to increase the behaviors that we call well motivated. And I can’t actually, finally, I can’t tell whether my student is well motivated or not, because that is within his or her head and heart.
All I can tell is behaviors, and I can increase the behaviors of good motivation by the signals that my grading system sends out. And how do I make that one, not the only, but one of the positive influences in my classroom? And in order to talk about grades in this way, I am now at the bottom of page one of the handout.
I want to bring to your attention a very interesting research finding that contradicts what many of us have heard or taken for granted. We tend to think that grades are extrinsic motivation, and to think that it’s just a force, you know, like your mother making you eat spinach or something like that.
You only eat it because you are being made to. It’s like rewarding a dog for jumping through a hoop, well, actually, dogs often love to jump through hoops, but [laughs] The supposedly doing something for a grade is bad because it reduces intrinsic motivation.
You don’t want to do it as much for your own good if somebody makes you do it. But there is some research that questions that, and this is what I want to point out to you, the old system held, and you read this a lot, that the emphasis on grades or other external rewards can decrease the students intrinsic motivation, their love of learning.
However, rewards such as grades do not necessarily decrease intrinsic motivation if, and this is a quote from the research, “they convey competence in information.” So if in addition to the B that I’m giving you on your paper, I’m also giving you some helpful feedback on how to become a better writer, that may enhance your intrinsic motivation.
Not decrease it. So competence information is very important as part of the grading process, and if the feedback is informative, constructive, and conveys positive recognition of creative work. So what we want to do is give grades to students and comments to students and feedback to students in ways that convey information about their level of competence they have achieved and that are informative, constructive, and supportive.
And if we do that, then we can use the grading process in our class as a motivator and a positive and healthy motivator, not an unhealthy motivator. So, what would that look like? What would a healthy grading system look like that actually enhanced students’ motivation? I’m going to skip around a little bit in this handbook.
I want to turn your attention to the very last page of the handout, page 7. This is a student self-report, students turn this in at the end of every class period in a discussion class. And whether or not they can say yes to these things is part of their grade for the course, so this is part of the grading system, these things count for the grade.
The student self-checks their name, the date, and then for each of these ten items, they make a check or not. And then they answer the last three questions on the page, just to give more information to the instructor.
I want to give you a minute to read what’s on this sheet, to imagine yourself as the teacher or the student filling this out for the teacher receiving them, And tell me what you think are the drawbacks and the advantages of asking students for this kind of report on classroom participation.
I’ll just give you a minute to read. Okay, what do you think? (female speaker). It puts the responsibility on them also to monitor themselves helps them to be aware of what is expected of them, and it also establishes a level of trust that you are expecting them to be honest.
(male speaker). It gives you a nice framework to assign a participation grade, instead of, oh, there’s a participation grade. (female speaker). . (Barbara). Does anybody use something like this? Do you have experiences? (female speaker).
I do, but I also do something, and I don’t do it every semester, but I have in the past, I do things at midterm and I do things at the onset of the course, and I really, I love this, but I like to get them, they’re going to leave me after the course, so I want them to have this while they’re with me, so that they’re better students, and that it’s a better environment for the semester that we’re together.
So I’m sending them off with all this wonderful stuff, but I would like to sort of foster that in my class during the, as we go along. (Barbara). Other people have experiences with this kind of report? Self-assessment.
(female speaker). Yes, I used it a lot in maybe one minute of writing, what I added to the class today. My background is music teaching, and so we would do an assessment like this at the end of each class or each rehearsal, what did I work on, what am I prepared for next time, so it’s a lot of reflection, a lot of metacognition and skill development.
So, and it didn’t take much time, in fact it actually paid off really quickly, you know, I thought this was going to take more time than I have, but the truth is, it focuses the student in a completely different way, so.
It did away with a lot of issues. (female speaker). I was just wondering if you could clarify if you meant you gave it at the end of every class meeting or at the end of the semester? (Barbara). Yes, no, at the end of every class meeting.
At the end of every class session. So in other words, if there are 45 class sessions in the semester, and let’s say 30 of them are devoted to discussion or have some discussion in them so that students would have a fair chance to participate.
Then 30 times they would fill this out. And you can keep the, you can keep the thing in the syllabus or online or throw it up on the screen in your class, and they can then just tear off a half of a sheet of paper and put number 1, check, number 2, check, so you don’t use up all this, all these trees.
(female speaker). If you’re doing it all along, I imagine it really changes. (Barbara). It does. (female speaker). So can you tell us about that? (Barbara). I’ve done this at the University of Cincinnati with a very wide variety of students in gen ed courses as well as in English major courses, but in the gen ed courses where students are generally less motivated and many of them are in there with the prayer that they will be able to get through without doing too much hassle or too much writing or having to open their mouths or, or, you know, because they’re, for all the reasons that we mentioned, for all the reasons that we mentioned.
And, so, I use this with a population probably closer to the kind of population you get at a comprehensive state university across a wide range, I also used it at Notre Dame. And, it had the same effect both times, it increases class participation, class attendance, it increases students’ behaviors that I would call well-motivated.
I don’t know if I increased their motivation or not, I can’t know that, but what I can tell you is that it increases the behaviors of the well motivated student. And I think it’s important when I learned to say, towards the bottom of page 7, when I learned to say what the contributions would do.
I’ve seen a number of check sheets like this that other teachers use, particularly I saw one in business management that was published and it merely talked about listening and making contributions, but what I have tried to do in this more recent version is to say what do the contributions do, and so that list of items start the group under number 9, start the group on a rich, productive track by posing a question that has these qualities, responding to others’ contributions by making many of these moves.
These are really moves, aren’t they, they’re conversational moves, and there’s a school of discourse analysis that talks about conversational moves. If one person says this, what would be appropriate moves for somebody else to do.
Well, my students don’t necessarily know what are the appropriate moves for an academic discussion, and so this tries to teach them as well as to record whether they have done those kinds of things or not.
And it tries to get them to think about the quality of their contribution, not just say something for the sake of saying something. So they can get credit. Are there disadvantages to this kind of student self-report? (female speaker).
If you give this in every class, there might be a certain amount of critique after a while students start ticking items off without thinking or really they know the entire thing, they read through it, and they stop really thinking about it.
(Barbara). There is a fatigue factor, especially if a lot of the classes are discussion classes, there is a fatigue factor to this, what I’ve sometimes done with the classes is say, “Do we need this any more? “Will you come to class prepared? “Will you do these things?” And then to say, “Well, alright, then we don’t need to do this reporting any more, provided that the quality of preparation for the discussion in class remains high.
And if it doesn’t, then I’m going to put this back in.” (female speaker). I think this is for like students like us, but the truly unmotivated students, they’re, you know, I find that they’re no bells and whistles that really work with you know, the thing that I find works best with that kind of student is just the one-on-one talk.
You know, some of them are so unmotivated, I had a student recently hand in their exam, their written exams, that I couldn’t read. Turned it in 45 minutes before the hour was up, when everybody else was still writing at the beginning of the hour.
And I said, you know, this is illegible, I can’t even read it, you have 45 minutes, why don’t you re-write it? And he’s like, “oh, that’s my handwriting.” And I’m like, “but I can’t read it.” And he’s like, “yeah, nobody can.
” I’ll have to give you a 0, I mean, you have 45 minutes. He’s like, “what am I supposed to do, I have bad handwriting” He got really obstreperous with me, and I let him go, and he turned in his paper, I gave him a 0, I warned him, if I can’t read it, I can’t I can’t.
Anyway he complained to the dean and the chair and all this stuff, and then I think that, and then I think that the chair told him to come talk to me, which was a blessing. So he came to talk to me, and it always works that way, when they come to me, when they finally do, and I can just be human with them, like you’re being with us, but, then I can connect with them.
And now he’s still in class and actually he’s known as a good example. I said, you know, that took a lot of courage to return to class after, because it was a big blow-up in class, it was embarrassing for everybody.
And he came back, and I sort of made him a good example, that you can start again, you can have all this bad stuff behind you and you can return to class, and that’s a new day, and we can act respectfully and he’s doing very well right now, but there’s a lot of hims that don’t have such a good outcome or that get lost in this, you know.
[unclear audio]. (female speaker). When you said this could be part of the grading system, it would be similar to what we talked about this morning [unclear audio] they turn in 90% of them, then they have an A.
So you could do this along with your preparation, your daily preparation, so like each could be worth 20% or something. (Barbara). For those of you who weren’t here this morning, we talked in that session about it was a session on grading per say, and we talked about using things like this, although I didn’t show this one.
Short class preparatory writings that students would answer a question about the reading on paper and bring it to class to work with, that kind of thing. We talked about counting those things heavily in the grade, so that students cannot survive in the course unless they do it.
And I think that’s what you want, because if a student is not participating, and not preparing for class, then they’re not going to learn what you want them to learn. And the grade should reflect that.
And if a student has gone into the third week and has yet to be prepared for class or yet to participate in class, then that student should either change their behavior or drop while they can still get some of their tuition back.
Right, you’re helping them. Why let this situation go on until they flunk the midterms, and then they’re going to kid themselves that they can pull it out of the hat by the final, and then they can’t.
So now they have an F. Or a D on their record and they spent their tuition money, that’s not a help to them. And they’ve gotten a bunch of wrong ideas along the way. So it seems to me that to identify quickly the students who are not prepared and not participating, to identify them quickly.
And then, you see, alright, now, I’ve got X number of students in my class, three, five, ten, twenty, students in my class who are not preparing and they are not participating. And now I have a choice, whether to call them in and talk to them one by one, whether to choose some of them who seem to need this kind of help to talk to one on one.
Or whether to talk to them all together, or maybe I don’t have time, maybe I don’t have time to deal with them in any other way except within the class as a whole. You have to make those choices, because after all, in the best of all possible worlds, right, each class would have 20 students total, and we would lavish attention and care on each one of them.
But that’s not quite the way it is, so, we need to, we have to make hard choices sometimes on what we can do. (male speaker). [unclear audio] they don’t have the background to take my class still they are allowed, legally, to take it.
And you know, sometimes, maybe there are structural problems in the way programs have [unclear audio] that allow some students to sign up for courses that they obviously don’t have the background to take.
(Barbara). If that happens a lot, what I know a lot of teachers do is to give a test at the very beginning, like the first day of class, in which the student is asked to use or apply or know some of the basic things that are going to ensure their success in the course or not.
So if they need to know certain mathematical rules or formulas coming in, and you assume that, then you give a test on that the first day. And then you say to students, “I can’t legally keep you out of this course, but if you did not get at least an 80 on this course, on this test, you are going to have serious serious trouble in this class.
” So, fairly warned. (female speaker). . for the students to assess themselves, [unclear audio] had several examples in his book, but he doesn’t call it a [unclear audio]. It’s a way for us to take a temperature gauge.
And some people [unclear audio]. When I started implementing that in my classroom, my evaluations went up, so that gives you a response. But I think it’s important, like he says, that you go back out of discussion with your students, and say, “I notice that you say that blah blah blah blah blah, on organization.
” Or “I notice that you made mention of” and I think that it’s critical that you, before they leave you, that you have a discussion that “Oh, you’re just not filling this out,” and moving on, but that you have the discussion that, “I’ve heard you, your voice counts in this class, I’m with you on this.
” (female speaker). Should you assume that you get honest answers to this? (Barbara). I think you should assume that you get honest answers to this. I think that some students, especially number 4, “I have prepared for class by being well-rested, well-nourished, alert, and mentally ready.
” You know, my students, when I can tell how fast readers my students are, because when I pass this out for the first time in class, when they come to number 4, they go, “pfft.” So it goes around class, the fast readers get it first and go “pfft” and then “pfft.
” And you know, they all check it all the time, I know they’re not well nourished, I know they’re not well rested, but it sets the expectation there. It sets the expectation. I didn’t want a sheet that didn’t include that.
And you know, I say to them, look, when you are going to play a game in your sports, this is what your coach expects, isn’t it? And it’s what you expect of yourself. You don’t go into a game without having loaded up on carbs and gotten a good night’s sleep and taken care of your systems so that your body can respond.
Well, this is an even more important performance, class is an even more important performance, you need to be ready. (male speaker). This is very very good, and I do it through application of assignments actually.
In fact, the first thing I tell the students when they come into my classroom is that they will learn from four sources during the course. They’ll learn from the text book, from the readings that I have selected, they will learn from me, I am in the professorial position, they will learn from their colleagues, and they will learn from themselves.
And so I always apologize to them, if you don’t get anything from the authors of the text and reading, perhaps it doesn’t really excite you, If you don’t get anything from my home, observe, personalized experiences and information intake, I don’t know what I can say to you.
If you get nothing from your colleagues, perhaps it was the wrong time in history to take this course. And if you get nothing from the final source, which is you, go to the roof, and jump. [audience laughter].
And then, the application of assignments actually cover all of these things, for example, the very first assignment they have to take the concept ideas, et cetera of the class readings and discussion and apply them to some personal experience within their lives.
And one of the activities that they have to do is actually in little small groups, they have to get together and walk through some of the same individual experiences, and apply the same concepts and ideas from the course to it, and then students are actually, they can say to themselves, what’s listed in number 9, and in the last statement here, talking about how this material relates to my early experience and goals, not by simply doing essays or telling [unclear audio] or repeating what the author said but how does it relate directly to you.
And then I always talk about body postures, facial expressions, et cetera. Because I will ask the student all the time, if you’re looking like this, in my class, first thing I want to ask you is, do you need some help? If any of this is psychological, I’ll call the ambulatory service for you, if it’s sociological, I will get the civil militia, because I think you’re going to get your studies, and so you project a particular message, then yes, I am interpreting it just as you’re projecting it, And I cannot take the chance that perhaps it is sociological, you go to the bathroom, you come back, and you shoot everyone, and I’m surprised when I have allowed you for three weeks of enrolled, coming to class looking like I am mad, I am angry, I’m upset.
I’m going to hurt someone, no. Now, I used to do that as a joke, I’m not new at higher ed teaching, this is my 33rd year actually, and I used to do it as a joke, but today it’s not a joke. Because some people have actually had some sociological issues and gone and come back and some things have occurred.
(Barbara). You know, what you’re talking about really is an ongoing interaction in the class between the faculty and the students that uses these kinds of information as the spur for conversations. So you can talk to the students in the class, and especially you can reinforce.
So you can say, that was a wonderful, John, that was a wonderful way of responding to Richard’s comment, you disagreed with him, but you did it specifically, and you backed up your point with evidence.
Rachel, that was a really great question, that was a tremendously powerful question for our discussion and did you see how many other people were able to build on that question? So the more positive, I mean, some people will go around and the student who is sleeping, what do you do, you just stand.
And sometimes, don’t you just stand next to them, or some faculty will actually call them out. You probably call them out, do you? (male speaker). [unclear audio] and I’ll be back. And I’ll go ahead with the rest of the class, and we’ll say, okay, now we’re ready.
Because you are a college student, [unclear audio], engaged no matter what. (Barbara). So there’s an interaction there, with students that may do different kinds of things, but this is not a gotcha, this is a guide.
This is a basis for conversation and a basis for working with your class, but it lays out what the expectations are, and it says, this is serious stuff and there are consequences. And I am using the grading process to give you information.
There is a lot of information. To give you information about what’s expected and to let you know how you’re doing here so that you can participate, so that you can do what needs to be done. (female speaker).
[unclear audio] So I’ve always thought, well isn’t it just common sense that they’re not lifting your arm, they’re not hopping, that you’re not going to get the full participation That a lot of times they still feel that they deserve it.
So I am going to take this and revise it to actually put what their contributions are that they, you know, are hopping, they were hopping, they are lifting their arms. (Barbara). You know, we have, you have, at this university, a large number of first generation college students.
You have students coming in from all kinds of cultures and subcultures and socioeconomic classes and situations you don’t even know. And it’s like they moved from the United States to Belgium, you know, or to South Africa.
And they, it’s not bad, they don’t know the culture. They just don’t know the culture. So it’s up to us to articulate for them the expectations of the culture of the academy. And it, we have to remind ourselves how strange and unfamiliar that culture can seem to students coming in if they have not had experience with it.
And how their high school culture may ill prepare them, or counter-prepare them actually, for what we’re going to expect and how their peer culture will not always help them there either. So, this is in a way a kind of cheat sheet, or informant sheet, for academic culture, for what we expect of behavior.
So it becomes then, a guide, a basis for discussion, but also it becomes the basis for saying to students, “you’re not doing it here. You’re not making it, you haven’t handed in any of these sheets for three weeks, so you are not where you need to be.
It’s a [unclear audio], a reality check, [unclear audio]. So here’s what I’m talking about, again at the bottom of page 1. It’s okay to use grades for motivation in your classroom. You don’t have to feel guilty about that and you don’t have to feel like you’re feeding grade grubbing, or making them fixate on the grades as long as your grading system conveys competence information.
I’m reading from the bottom now of page 1. And is, your feedback is informative and constructive and conveys positive recognition of creative work. And I would say as long as your grading system helps the student to figure out what is required here, and to be realistic about what its going to take for them to meet the expectations, then you are absolutely justified in establishing a grading system that demands and rewards the behaviors of the motivated student.
I can’t tell whether they’re motivated or not, I can’t grade them on motivation, but I can grade them on whether or not they come to class prepared, whether or not they participate in class, whether their papers show careful editing for grammar and punctuation and spelling.
Right? Whether they, in other words, whether they exhibit the behaviors of a well motivated student, and that’s what your grading system can concentrate on. You are very justified in doing that. Now I want to go towards another concept here that I think can be very, very helpful to us.
That’s on page 2. Marilla Svinicki is both a psychologist and a faculty developer who’s had a lot of experience in the field and she’s written a book in 2004 called Learning and Motivation in the Postsecondary Classroom.
And in that book she focuses on the role of goals in motivation. That’s why when this question came up earlier on, I said I want to use the word goal here, because it matters greatly what the student’s goal is, what the student’s goal is.
And how that goal is expressed in the relationship between the faculty members’ goals. So here’s what Marilla says, she has this diagram which I have reproduced here. The motivation towards the goal is influenced by the learner’s goal orientation.
That’s the first two lines. Which in turn have these two components. The value of the goal, how valuable is this goal to me, and the learner’s expectation that it can be achieved. So what’s important is what the learner says, this class and the work in it is valuable to me and I know that if I work hard I can do well.
Is valuable and I can do it. If I work hard. A goal that is too easy to achieve is actually, says the literature, demotivating. If I can get it without any effort, I’m not likely to hold it in any high esteem.
So you want a goal that seems worthwhile to your students and that seems achievable with effort. Now ask yourself, how do you, in your class, communicate to students the learning goals of that class and their relevance, their importance, and their achievability? What are some ways in which we can help our students to understand the goals that we have set, own those goals for themselves, and believe in their own ability to reach those goals.
What are some strategies? Let me start out with one and then I’m going to ask for some others. In this study of many, many, many classrooms that I conducted over three years, one of the things that I did in these classes is find out what students’ goals were, coming into the class.
So I asked students on the very first day of class to fill out a questionnaire that said what are your goals for learning in this class, and a lot of them put, among other things, I want to get a B. But they also all put, or almost all put, goals for what they wanted to learn because that is what I asked them.
And some surprising things came up, about what they thought the class was about. And misconceptions about what they thought the class was about, and now let me reveal to you that these were all religious studies courses.
Some of them in public universities like yours, and some of them in private colleges and universities, and some of those were religiously affiliated. But in all of these classes, we had students with an extraordinarily wide range of goals.
And faculty with a very narrow range of goals. A great disparity. Here’s what the faculty say, even at religiously affiliated colleges that were quite conservatively Christian. Faculty almost to a person would say their highest, or very very high goal, was some version of critical thinking.
In this religious studies course, they wanted their students to think critically about religious texts, religious practices, religious beliefs. They wanted students to achieve a kind of objectivity, they wanted them to use reason, they wanted them to use evidence, they wanted them to evaluate the quality of evidence.
They wanted them to critique arguments and make arguments about religious practices and beliefs. The students, very very few of them mentioned any aspect of critical thinking as a learning goal, very few.
Many of them said we want to learn about other religious practices, other peoples’ practices. That’s a fine goal, but I do know it is different from the emphasis the faculty put on critical thinking. A lot of them said I want to become a more Christian person.
Or I want to become a more spiritual person. Or I want to work on my own spiritual development. Usually, even in Christian colleges, not an expressed goal of faculty members. I want to learn more about my own religion.
A few students said I want to learn how to convert my classmates. And then there were some classmates who had very personal goals, one young woman said, and her gender was revealed in some of her other comments, otherwise these were anonymous.
She said, I want to forgive God for taking my mother. Now, you’re not teaching religion, most of you, might have a religion teacher or two in here. But I want you to think about, in your own discipline, whether it’s kinesiology, psychology, english, composition, literature, what history, what do your students want when they walk into your classroom? What do they think your discipline is? What do they think this course is? What do they think the learning goals are? Chances are, there is great disparity.
Because in addition to my own study of religion courses, there is other literature out there that shows that there are enormous disparities between what our students have as their goals and what, excuse me.
What faculty members have as the learning goals for the course. So, how can we deal with it? Here’s one strategy. Use the research guide, on the very first day of the class, ask students to write anonymously five or six minutes, tell them, I don’t want to hear that you want to get a grade, I know you want to get a grade, and I don’t want to hear you want to get the requirement out of the way, I know you do.
And I don’t want to hear that this was the only class that fit your work schedule, I know it. Don’t tell me that stuff, tell me what you want to learn. Pick them up, take a look. Next day, come back to your students, talk to them about what you read.
Get it clear, these are what some people set as goals, but this class will not address those goals, Or this class will address those goals in this and this way, you’re not letting them dictate what the goals, but you’re finding out what their goals are so that you can talk with them about it.
Does any of you do that? Getting information about the students goals on the first day? And how does that work? How do you do it, and how does it work? (female speaker). , I give them each an index card and I get personal information on one side, and on the back side, they write what they want to learn in the class.
And then I look over that, and some of the things are actually things that are going to be addressed in the class, and if they’re things that aren’t, then I bring that up in a discussion that we have next time we meet.
(Barbara). Good, what’s your discipline? (female speaker). Career and Technical Education. (Barbara). And what are some of the misconceptions? (female speaker). Well, with the classes that I teach, the first one is a sophomore level class, and it’s basically an enquiry oriented education class deciding on whether or not they want to teach.
So sometimes they, they think it’s going to be an easy, quick answer, instead of more of an exploratory where they learn a little bit about themselves and their [unclear audio] and interests and get out in the field, so that one’s a little bit more off, can be off the subject a little bit more than some.
(Barbara). Other people? (female speaker). On day 1, I do what I call a student intent form on the last page of my syllabus, and it asks questions such as, How long do I have to be here at EIU? Have you had any other courses in psychology? Have you ever taken any course that is relevant to this class? List them or describe them.
And then what are your expectations of this class, and then they have, because we’ve gone through the syllabus already, so I ask them what is the most interesting topic and what is the least interesting topic, or talk about your least interesting [unclear audio].
In terms of misconceptions, because education of psychology, I have students who think that I would like to [unclear audio] do a lesson plan or that’s for methods. So it’s more a theory and conceptual application type, that’s the reason why you do a lesson plan this way, not how do you do a lesson plan.
That’s what’s so, many of them are disappointed because they’re so much, there’s less of the “here’s how you go about doing a lesson plan,” more of “why do you do a lesson plan this way, and why?” So, so.
(Barbara). Many disciplines faculty report to me that students do not understand and are disappointed when they do understand that there is a lot of theory in a course. Courses that are heavily theory oriented, they just want to know how to do it.
They don’t recognize the importance of theoretical grounding for what they do as professionals, so. That’s another point that you often have to make clear. (female speaker). I followed those same principles, I’m sorry, I don’t know your name, that she does with the card on the first day, but then I follow up with that throughout the semester and then they have to do exit questions, I have a box made up at the back of the room, not every time, but whenever I do, that says “exit” And to leave, they have to write a response to something we’ve done in class or what we’ve done, how they think they’re going to be able to use that in the real world.
And to get out of the room they have to give me an exit question and answer. (Barbara). Nice. (female speaker). On the first day I use index cards that I had the previous semester fill out about the class, so it’s like advice from the students that had it the previous semester.
And that tends to answer a lot of their questions, and I just did it this semester for the first time, but a lot of them are relieved after, because we went around the room and they read their student response out loud, but I didn’t specifically ask them what they wanted to learn, so I want to add that to that [unclear audio].
(Barbara). Other ideas people have tried, problems they see? (female speaker). Well, if I can go back to what you said about so many of the instructers’ goals involve critical thinking, but isn’t a lot of the research showing that even until late adolescence, early adulthood, we’re just learning to be critical thinkers? So that isn’t even on the radar for most of our learners, because they don’t know how to do it.
They sort of are getting some of it, and then just developmentally and lose a lot of that, and it has to come back, so maybe we need to be more focused. This excercise helps us define our goals and we certainly can teach critical thinking, but they need to learn the skills of critical thinking within the context of our courses.
(Barbara). And we can scaffold, we can scaffold for it. That is, we can lead them, not leaps, leap, not leaps and leaps ahead of where they are developmentally, but a little bit ahead of where they are developmentally by certain strategies.
(female speaker). And that’s where it’s, you know, disconnect between my non-traditional students and my more directly from from [unclear audio]. My non-traditional students get very frustrated with the inability of younger students to make those connections, but you know, you’ve got 20 or 30 years of life on them.
And so that’s a disconnect from that. (female speaker). Well, I was just going to say that’s why this question is so revealing, like you can almost discern from this question, the first day of class, who’s going to get what grade.
Because I can tell, you know, and I’ve even looked back at them, and sometimes the best answers will become our English majors. They’ll go turn into the students that are, you know. And you can tell where they’re at by the answer to that question, and they kind of sort of stay that way, but grow.
Yeah. (Barbara). Yep, yep, yep. It strikes me that if you got your students into small groups to share this with each other, that you might help to form the culture of your class, and you might help students learn from each other, and these students who have the most, what we would call, I guess, the most sophisticated or nuanced goals, to influence the other students, so they hear, somebody said peer culture doesn’t always reward the student who is well-motivated, it’s cool to be cool, but you create a culture in your classroom that counters that in some way.
(female speaker). I think we might create some of this in the course descriptions, the students do read the course descriptions as they’re signing up for classes, and the course descriptions are written in a way that sort of sounds like we’re going to give you some knowledge.
And you wouldn’t want to have a 150 word course description, but by using that shorthand, I think we led the students to believe that’s all they’re going to get out of the class. (Barbara). This course will cover.
(female speaker). Yeah. (male speaker). Actually, that’s one of the things that I do to incorporate these kind of motivation, is to coconstruct our learning environment and explain it to the students at the very first day.
It’s a co-constructed learning environment, I myself as a professor don’t want to teach a course multiple semesters, and I myself not learning anything. [unclear audio] all you know is just something in your memory, you’re not actually applying it yourself, so I often teach my students that every class is a co-constructed learning environment.
Then in addition to the goals, the students always take grades as goals, but I also input particular activities so that they learn to think about objectives as well. The objective is, how much .
Yes, I want you to learn something, but I also want you to learn not just the content, but the skill as well, and not just the ideology, but the application, and how to appropriately communicate it, but also effectively, therefore it has to be how much by when? So you don’t know a lot now, okay, by the third assignment, you should know a lot more than you did the first assignment, so by the time you graduate, you are involved in the public sector, you are afraid you have no skill and knowledge, so you don’t apply what you have learned, in what is higher education, actually is .
So it’s somewhat and perspective. (Barbara). What a lot of people do is to follow up throughout the semester. We’ve heard a little bit about that, one of the faculty members with whom I worked had a sheet, and I didn’t include it in this, in this handout, but I can just describe it to you.
She asked her students at the beginning of the semester to say what their learning goals were, and then to say, what were the strategies that they intended to use to reach these learning goals? They, not me the teacher, but they, what do you intend to do.
And she asked them particularly in terms of reading before class, class attendance, class participation, preparation of the papers, studying for the test, I forget one or two other things. In each of these categories, which of these do you intend to use to reach your learning goals.
And they put these things. Then at midterm, she asked them to get these out again, she doesn’t grade them, but she does require them, and she looks at them. At midterm get these out again, how are you doing at achieving your learning goals and how well are you doing at following the strategies? Now write another reflection in what you say, alright, what do I need to do now towards, until the end.
And then at the end, she has them reflect again, so that she has an ongoing, so in other words, she has an ongoing reflective process here that is structured for her students, which links, not this is what I want to achieve, lots of people want to achieve, lots of people want to be rich, lots of people want to be doctors, it’s a question of how, what are the steps to get there.
(female speaker). [no audio] students write like a two page paper at the beginning of the semester what they need to do to succeed in the course and I encourage them list things and categorize things.
And it was profoundly interesting how little they knew about what they needed to do to succeed. Of course, they’re college freshmen, but when, so when I took some time to talk to them, well, like, to revisit this, the thing is, I have to teach literature, I don’t really have time to teach motivation.
So I really think, what would be beneficial, if the university actually had a course, a serious course, in these matters where students could actually learn what they needed to do to succeed as a student, because honestly, they come in having literally very, like I said, I’ve got to study harder, I’ve got to study a lot, but then they don’t.
(Barbara). They may not really even know what that means, what it means to study. (female speaker). Right, and then I find myself teaching motivation or teaching whatever I’m teaching, social work, sociology, and you know, I want to be teaching Willa Cather You know, so like, I’m constantly drawn from my discipline, and that’s a big problem for the faculty.
(Barbara). It is a big problem, and it’s got to be addressed because no matter what you’re teaching, you’re teaching reading. You’re teaching writing. You’re teaching motivation, you’re teaching work habits, you’re teaching the behaviors of the aspirant middle class, which is what many of your students are.
The aspirant middle class. And you’re teaching the behaviors of the aspirant middle class. Being on time, following instructions, working in certain planful ways, goal-directed behaviors, those are behaviors of the aspirant middle class.
And that’s what we are teaching, whether we like it or not. So, I think we’re just going to have to balance those things all the way along, no way around it. (female speaker). Just want to say, just as an informational piece for there is a class at EIU that is focused on those issues.
Unfortunately, right now, it’s only required for students who are going on academic warning, so that they can get back on track and start to learn some of those behaviors that will help them in the classroom.
But we do allow one on one counseling at the Student Success Center that, so if you have students who you see are not motivated, you certainly can refer them to our office and we’ll start to work with them to get them back on track.
(Barbara). Thank you, that is good. Alright, this page two here deals with goals. And Svinicki points out the importance of goal setting and goal achievement to motivation. And I want to pick out one part of the value of the goal, one part here, the value of the goal.
It’s really important that students see how this class can do them some good, that means something to them, so now let’s talk about that. How can you make clear to students why they need to value this course? Who has strategies that you use to make clear to students, to students, not to you, not in the abstract, not because just it is valuable, but how do you help students to see the value of the course? (female speaker).
[no audio] directly applicable and a lot of them reflect the grade, so that they realize they don’t have those extra skills or the knowledge or those dispositions in place at this time to function successfully.
(Barbara). Good. (male speaker). I teach a course in quality, a senior course in quality that requires a lot of stats and math and, and what I have noticed improved a lot is when I call a quality engineer from a company, a former EIU student who works for the car industry come and tell them, you know, this course is important because I use it every day.
So that could be another just to call, make, someone from a company is inviting or heard to talk about it. (Barbara). Or put that person on video tape, then you can show that tape forever after.
(male speaker). I do teach Introduction to Religious Studies, so one of my goals is to help students to understand the pervasiveness of religion in public life. And so, I try to, at least once a week, quite unrelated to the reading or the other sort of assignments, I have a little segment I stole from the daily show called “This Week in God” where I pull something newsworthy out of some aspect, and I try to get a little bit offbeat a religious issue, the effect of public policy, a holiday, or whatever it is, and spend 10 minutes talking about that and getting them to think about it.
(Barbara). What I’ve done in a composition class, first year students sitting there, and you know, like, I don’t want to write, I don’t want to learn to write, and I can’t learn to write, and it’s no good to write, and nobody writes anymore, and I’m just going to do emails.
I ask my students to go out and each of them to interview somebody who is fully employed in a field that they might be interested in someday. And they can ask any questions they want to, but they have to ask these questions, Number 1, what portion of your work time do you spend writing or preparing to write? Number 2, what do you wish you had learned about writing? and Number 3, what advice do you have to give to a student who is enrolled in a college writing class? And they bring those reports back and then we share them in class.
A typical response was a student who was going to go into data management, and she said, “I was going to go into data management because I thought people didn’t have to write very much, and I hate to write.
” She said, “And I went and interviewed a data management person, and she said she spent 60% of her time writing or preparing to write.” Woah. So that was an eye opener for her in her career planning, not only, but also in how she better get prepared to be a writer no matter whether she was going to go into data management or not.
Other ideas, suggestions, what have you done to help students make the goal real to them, important to them? (female speaker). I don’t know if it worked at all, but I read the book “Motivational Interviewing,” and so I try to, it’s supposed to be for health behaviors, but I try to get to use it in class to help them to change their perspective on grades and how important they are.
So I would say, how important are grades on a scale of 0 to 10, give me a number. And then I would ask, what would we need to change in order for that to move, that rating, that number to move higher.
So then, instead of me telling them why grades are important, they start telling me why grades are important. And, you know, I don’t get to see the effects of that, even within a semester, but I’m hoping I start to get them thinking about change, at least.
(Barbara). Another that I know some faculty members do is with every assignment that comes in, whether it is a paper or a homework, problems or whatever, put a coversheet. The student says, and ask the student to reply, to write, just briefly, why do you think I made this assignment? What did I hope you would get out of it? What did you get out of it? How could you use it later? Some set of questions like that.
So they actually have to think beyond the, this is due on Tuesday, they have to think beyond that to why did she ask us to do this? What’s the good of it? How’s it going to benefit me? Won’t help with every student, but again, just everything you can do.
Here’s the point, and we’re going to move on to another aspect. Here’s the point: Svinicki’s work emphasizes for us, as does the work of lots of other motivational people, the importance of goals. And anything we can do in our classes to make students aware of their own goals and of our goals for their learning, to help them to hang on to those goals throughout the course to help them to see the behaviors they need to do in order to reach those goals and then to see how important those goals are to them, anything that we can do along that line ought to be able to help the level of motivation in our classrooms.
So this is how far we’ve gotten so far, when we come back after break, we will take up some other ways in which we can help students to be well motivated and to show the behaviors of well motivated people in our classes.
Let’s take about a fifteen minute break, we’ll come back about twenty minutes to three. [people talking with one another in background during break]. (Barbara). I’ve got a reading assignment for you.
That’s motivating, isn’t it? I’m going to show you a couple of pages in the hand out and ask you to just skim. These are lists of teaching strategies that supposedly enhance motivation and learning, and what I’d like you to do is pick out one that you think is most powerful or very powerful, that has worked for you as a teacher or worked for you as a student.
So going to be reading a couple of pages that are just lists of things that are supposed, supposedly enhanced information. Pick out one that is most powerful in your experience and we’re going to talk about how these various strategies can be used.
So begin on page [no audio] Page 3 is a list of 10 strategies taken from research, best principles for teaching undergraduates. And that’s best principles for their learning, best principles for their engagement and motivation.
I better not set this down. So read those, then go to page 4. This is a review of the literature on adult learners. Twelve ideas. Next, page 5. Three different lists of strategies for enhancing student motivation.
Fife’s list, Svinicki’s list, and my list. Read those three pages, just look at those, I mean, some of them are just going to swim by. But pick something from those lists that rings a bell for you, that says, yes, I know how this works for motivation, either when I was a student, I went into a class, I wasn’t very interested in, and the teacher did this, and it made all the difference or, I’m a teacher, when I did this in my class, it made all the difference.
Something that you think has been powerful for you as a student or a teacher. Something from one of those lists on pages 3, 4, or 5. Let me give you about 10 minutes, it’s okay if you talk to each other as you do this, but about 10 minutes for you to think of something that has really worked for you, or rings true to you.
And then we’re going to share those experiences and ideas. [people talking with one another]. Okay, I would like especially to hear from people who have not yet talked in the workshop. And what I’m looking for is some experience or story or, what, tip that represents either your experience as a student, your experience as a teacher, something that worked to help students be well motivated.
You can draw explicitly on these lists, or not, as you please. But what we’re looking for is ideas of things that really work in the classroom. (female speaker). Okay, well I think, as most people here, we were motivated students, we loved school, but I was thinking about how I always tried to emulate my best teachers, who inspire me and so, on the list called “adult learners,” there’s one that says, “Learning is shaped by social context in which it occurs.
And I was thinking of the times that teachers saw something in me that I didn’t see myself, those kinds of comments like, “oh, what a good writer you are.” or, “Oh, of course you could do this.” Or whatever.
And often they would choose certain kinds of students to take to conventions or on field trips and those kinds of things, and I appreciated that, and the learning that happened in those environments, where the teacher had expectations you didn’t even know you could have met, you wouldn’t have even anticipated the high expectations that teacher had for you.
That motivated me in a way, and I think I try to do that for my students, I try to see things that, [unclear audio], maybe you could apply for this position, maybe you can [unclear audio] and help them achieve that.
And I think that’s a social context, right? (Barbara). Absolutely, that’s a wonderful story. (female speaker). On page 5, it says “Provide choice and control over goals and strategies for learners.” In the course I teach, we have a goal sheet, you have your end-semester goal, what you want to do, and then I have my students set weekly goals to meet them.
And then for their homework assignments, they have two journals that come out of their textbooks, but I let them have the option of writing one journal from their textbook and having a reflective goal journal to talk about what their goal was, how did they meet it, did they meet it, did they not meet it, who helped them achieve it, how did it feel to meet your goal, how did it feel to not meet your goal.
And at first, my students were really bad, I had one student who would like, he would write journals that were like this long, and now they’re like pages. So it’s amazing to see progress, that helped me.
So he had the choice to do it, and he was reflecting on what he did. (Barbara). Nice, nice. Let’s hear some others. (female speaker). As far as group work, this is an exercise that I’m not sure I myself can replicate but I’m [unclear audio] professor.
He was teaching an ancient world history class, and he broke the students down into groups at the beginning of the semester and they worked together in those groups for the rest of the semester, and they were to create dramatic presentations of different concepts in ancient history, and the students, there was also an element of competition between groups throughout the entire semester, and so you could tell in that students who found ways to get costumes, or students who found ways to do interesting powerpoint presentations that people were really driving on the competitive aspect as well as a very public aspect.
(Barbara). Nice. Now we’ll open it up to people who have talked before. (female speaker). I was going to say, I’ve already shared a lot, but I am really excited about this example because, this is my third year, and I’ve just started, what I’m going to explain this year, and the environment and atmosphere in my class was so much different than my first two years.
But last time I took an online class offered by Eastern called “Developing Character in Youth.” And they offered a lot of character development websites, and we go there, and a lot of times they offer resources, and so I ordered a book about building positive community in classrooms.
So we do little things, they don’t take very long, I use a lot of index cards, but probably my favorite activity that I do, I got out of the chicken soup for the college soul book and it was a story about a professor who used a thought card, an index card, every Tuesday, that was their ticket to enter class, and on their thought card they had to write down a thought that concerned a feeling or whatever is on their mind.
And I was really nervous about trying this in class, I didn’t know if the students would reject it, if they would think it was stupid, if they would even, these are my students. (Barbara). Hi, students.
(female speaker). If they would even write something down or not, so like I said, this is the last fall of the first semester that I did it, and I was just so amazed at what they would write down, like personally, about their lives and it really helped to establish rapport of teacher and student.
And it made our classroom a safe positive learning environment, so I was just so excited about that. (female speaker). Was the thought connected to the coursework, or was it just whatever? (female speaker).
It could be, it could be, but what most of them , and I would reply to their thought card and give it back to them in that class, every time. and so I think it helps them trust me, and it made them want to try harder to be present in class, to participate in class, and do their homework, and not be late.
(female speaker). What size did you have? (female speaker). 27. I do it in another class that I have 37 in, yeah, it’s time consuming, I mean, during lunch a lot of times, I’m sitting there responding to the thought cards, but it’s worth it.
I mean, I believe that they’re getting more out of that than the teaching. (female speaker). Can you give us an example of like something they write? (female speaker). Okay, yeah, that first semester I did it, thought cards, they, a lot of my students were writing you know, they were really down and depressed and tired and sick.
And it was just a lot of negativity on the cards, so what they did one day in class is we went out on campus and we did a free hug day. And we held up posters that said, you know, Free Hugs, and that’s what we did for the class, and it just really lifted, it was more for their benefit than you know, the people we hugged, but it just was really cool.
(female speaker). Yeah, they really love stuff like that, but I’m always torn between doing that and doing what I feel like I should be doing. (female speaker). Right, I was too at first, that’s why the first two years I was all about, I was going to tell you what you need to know, but I try to balance it now.
and if I do a little bit more of the other, that’s cool. (female speaker). Just wanted to say how great it is to think you are so excited about your teaching, I mean, seriously. I’m a teacher, that’s what I do, and I work with people who are teachers, and it’s so exciting to see people in the academy that may or may not have a background in teaching say “I want to be a better teacher.
” I think that’s what a lot of our, many of our students, and our frustrations, particularly those in education, of which there are 4,087 on campus, and that’s the number right now, because I just read the report.
But they have an expectation of what teaching should be, they’re learning to be teachers, and they go to classes where they’re learning passion for their subject, but they never really have modeled for them good teaching, or they’ve never learned themselves to reflect on their teaching and be better teachers.
So thank you for offering these sorts of lectures, but also it’s [unclear audio] to honor you for saying it’s so exciting that you care that deeply that you’re making those changes. It makes the difference in the lives of the student, so yeah, maybe you don’t cover that day [unclear audio] you’ve taught them something about paying attention to their own selves and to others in their community.
And I think that’s more important than a lecture. (Barbara). We talked this morning about moving, we talking this morning about moving first exposure from class to students’ own time. First exposure being defined as what you would normally lecture, or what students would read in a book, or get in some other way, that they are first exposed to.
New information, new concepts, a new laboratory procedure, new theories, new whatever. We normally do a lot of lecturing of first exposure material in the classroom, students take notes, we feel like we have to cover all this stuff, they feel like we have to tell them everything that’s going to be on the test.
And everybody gets into this round. In which then there is no time in class for motivation, no time to really pay attention to motivation, no time to interact, no time to establish community, no time to teach really using and interacting with the material because we’re just covering, covering, covering.
We get into that mentality to the extent that you can require your students and encourage your students to do the first exposure outside of class in their own time. So they come to class really prepared.
So now what’s the task of class? Motivation and the most sophisticated thinking that you can drive them to, the stuff they couldn’t do on their own. So you push their thinking really really hard, you interact, you make it lively, that’s what all these strategies on page 3 are about.
Have students write about and discuss what they are learning, student/faculty contact, students working out inside and outside of class, prompt feedback and communicate, make explicit, use problems, questions, or issues.
It’s all about stirring things up, it’s not about lecture clearly, although that is important, but it’s not about lecture all the stuff that you know your students should know. It’s about engaging them, it’s about making everything active and interactive and to the extent that you can hold your students responsible for getting outside of class, from the book, from the interactive software, from whatever, the stuff you would otherwise lecture, now, that huge burden is off your shoulders.
You don’t have to spend the time lecturing everything the students should know, instead they’re responsible for that on their own. In class, it is your responsibility to create a lively, highly motivating, interactive learning community that pushes students really hard in terms of the quality of their thinking and their ability to plot and to apply what they are learning.
So that’s what I hear going on and that is the answer to this struggle that we have in our own minds always. Shouldn’t I be using this time to lecture more stuff? Because they need to know it, which they do, but, let’s hear some other.
(female speaker). I don’t know how I can accomplish the objectives of the course that are mandated to me, I mean, I know I can do what you’re talking about, I do it, but I want to do what I’m supposed to do as well.
(Barbara). What are you supposed to do? (female speaker). Teach them about literature, the elements of literature, teach them how to read, which is an arduous task. You can’t do it in one class period, it really takes a semester, and my comp class, where I teach writing, really needs to be a whole year.
I get a semester where I need a really good year with them, then I’m supposed to teach writing and literature at the same time, and I’m already totally overwhelmed with all the stuff I’m supposed to do for my discipline.
And I do do a lot of this stuff, because I’ve evolved to connect with the times, the student of the times, because when I was a student, and we were students, it was much different. You went in there and you read Sir Thomas More’s Utopia and you wrote a paper.
I mean like, it was in a foreign language, and you went to foreign language films and you wrote papers. You were in a foreign world but you thrived or survived or managed. (Barbara). Or not. (female speaker).
But you can’t get away with that today, you know, I don’t know why, things have really changed a lot, you have to really connect, you have to do the balloons and all that stuff. And you know, the thought cards, and I like those, they’re wonderful, but they really take time, and I need a lot of time, if I were teaching philosophy, you need a lot of time to cover all of that.
So, I don’t know how I could do what I’m mandated to do. (female speaker). And you’re not alone, just so you know. (male speaker). I think it depends too, the kind of courses you teach. For example, I have to teach two courses that leads them to professional certification as a technician in telecommunications.
So, you know, it’s not a matter of, “well, I won’t teach this.” Because they are expecting that at the end of those two semesters, they will go professionally to a college that will certify them as Cisco, for example, Cisco engineers.
So it’s not a matter of well, I well take two classes to take care of the need as much as I want, but you know, there are material to cover that are really specific. You have to do it, there is no chance to take other things, because they have to pass that exam the same for example that they have to be certified as quality engineers for example.
So there is no, there is not too much room. So there are certain courses in which the same nature of the course helps you to be [unclear audio] your students and help them with their personal things. But there are certain courses where you can not do that, because they are expecting to pass that exam for certification, so you have to squeeze every second of the class trying for them to pass their certification.
(female speaker). But by the same point, you can still, and I completely agree with you, you can still say, I’m going to engender a safe environment, I’m going to engender a respectful environment. (male speaker).
Well, sure, sure. (female speaker). Which is what I think Sviniki’s list really is. It’s not really touchy-feely, it’s just saying, you know, but these things are going to ensure greater engagement. But you’re right, there are courses with very high stakes tests, very expensive tests, these students have to pass this or they can’t even graduate from their program.
(Barbara). So each of us can list, and many of us do, could list when they finish this course, my students have to, or I want my students to be able to. For you it’s pass this certification exam and have all the knowledge and skills that that implies.
For you, it’s read a piece of literature with understanding and be able to analyze it and be able to write about it, or some version of that. Each of us, not I have to cover, but by the time they finish this course, my students need to be able to.
So take two minutes right now, write down, as many as you can of those things, and then we’re going to do an exercise to work with those. Write down as many as you can of those things, pick a course, any course, in which you feel most pressured to cover stuff.
And write down, “When they finish this course, my students have to be able to…” Or, “I want my students to be able to…” Finish, ah, two minutes, so you’ll only be able to write one or two things. Okay, now, you got one or two things down? Now I want to make a really really important point.
All the literature says that there are ways in which students more efficaciously learn to do these things and less efficaciously. In other words, it’s possible to structure a course which makes it easier for students to learn these things, and it’s possible to structure a course that makes it harder for students to learn these things.
But your legitimate goal is for you to help those students to learn those things. It’s not about taking time out to be touchy-feely, it’s not about taking time out to be personal with them, it’s not about watering down or neglecting or chipping off pieces of the learning in order to do other kinds of soft touchy-feely things.
That is not what this is about. This is about what are the most effective ways for your students to reach those learning goals. Whether it’s pass a Cisco certification, whether it’s read and write about literature in an intelligent way, whether it’s whatever else it is.
It’s about how do my students best learn this. Now let’s go back to that quotation on the very first page. The very first one, the very first quote. Other things being equal, the strongest evidence indicated, Now these are two giant, giant researchers.
Folks who have done enormous education research projects themselves and who in this volume create what is widely regarded as kind of the bible of higher education research. In this summary of research, it’s not a summary, it’s a huge, thick book, very great detail, but it’s a drawing together of what matters in college, what affects students learning.
And here’s one of the most important statements in here, “the strongest evidence indicated that the greater a student’s engagement, the greater his or her level of knowledge acquisition and general cognitive growth.
” So engagement is a key to learning, you can’t just lecture this stuff unless you can help your students to be engaged, and they can’t learn it as well if they’re disengaged as if they are engaged. They must be engaged.
So if you say to yourself, how can my students learn to be certified Cisco…people. Or how can my students learn to read literature intelligently and write about it, or call out some of your other goals.
(female speaker). Analyze historical documents. (Barbara). Yeah, analyze historical documents. What else? (female speaker). Pass a teacher certification exam. (Barbara). Sure. What else? (female speaker).
Design learning centers for diverse students. (Barbara). All that kind of stuff, you don’t need to take time out from those goals in order to be touchy-feely with your students. Your only goal is to say, “How do my students best learn this?” And what the educational research is saying to you, they’ve got to be engaged.
And so whatever it takes for you to help them to be engaged, that is directly on task for their learning. Now your students who are probably seeking this certification may come into the class with more focused, more intensive motivation.
So you have probably less work to do in terms of wooing their engagement. (male speaker). Besides the Cisco Academy, which is, they tell you what to do. They have to do this lab, you have to cover this and exactly after that, you have to cover this lab.
These are the questions that you ask. So that’s why I was telling you, sometimes, yes, it is easier, it depends on the course you teach. (Barbara). Now you can do that, you can follow their guidelines more or less engagingly, shall we say.
You certainly can communicate, and you do, one sees that you do communicate in your classroom, an interest in students and a kind of liveliness, an interest in your subject, and all those kinds of things.
And those will be crucially important. But, you may have to judge, “Alright, what do I have to do to maximally help these students be engaged in this learning and whatever it takes is what you have to do.
” It’s not taking time out from achieving your goals, it’s the way to achieve your goals. And this list on page, what is it 3? Yes, research based principles and good practice. This is based on, this list of ten, this is based on the literature and it’s a longstanding and deep literature about what are the most effective teaching techniques.
Not for a soft feeling of welcome and community, not for making friendships in your class, but to teach students what they need to know. This is about learning, this is about knowledge, this is about skills, And the way to help them, research has shown, have students write about and discuss what they are learning, encourage faculty-student contact, get students working with one another, give prompt and frequent feedback.
So these strategies are the way you help your students learn. They are the way to achieve those highest course goals and you can’t not take time for them, because if you don’t then you’re not teaching to your goals.
Do you see what I mean? So think about your class, it’s different for different disciplines, it’s different for different levels of students, some students bring in more readiness, more motivation. But this is what you have to do, this is what you have to do.
So, when you, when you’re trying to decide how I’m going to organize students in-class work and their out-of-class work, you have to arrange a series, a logical sequence of educational activities that lead them to the learning that you want.
And that’s going to include engaging them to the greatest extent possible. So that’s really what these stories are about. So what I’m trying to do here is to shape our ways of handling this very common and very real dilemma.
How do I deal with what I have to cover, what I know they have to know how to do, and how do I, at the same time, make time for these community creating activities? How do I make time for interaction in the classroom? It’s always a balance, but I don’t want you to see it as a dichotomy, I don’t want you to see it as sacrificing learning in order to get community, because community is the way to learn.
Engagement is the way to learn. It’s the sine qua non. (female speaker). I’m living the nightmare right now. I don’t know if it’s appropriate, but it really speaks to what we’re talking about. I have a delightful class section of literature students for a semester of literature.
And we were analyzing a poem, and we had like a five-star class. This is just a class that was moving beyond belief, it was like what every teacher’s dream is. It was a great class. But out of this wonder came this inspiration, and you know, I kind of started it, I have to admit, I was a springboard for it, I told my students an idea that occurred to me instead of doing this, and they built from it.
Well, now it’s turned into this huge project that they’re working on, and they are so excited, and they are so involved, and it is kind of a high goal for us. But it has taken us away from the literature that I want to be teaching, and I keep trying to work it in, and they keep saying, “No, no, no, don’t do that.
” And I keep trying to slip it in in every way I can, but really what they’re doing, they’re using the skills that I would have them do, but I would apply it to a different subject. Do you understand? What it might mean, or mode.
They’re not talking about, you know, published works or short stories or plays, but it all was born out of that. (Barbara). You know, that’s a common dilemma, isn’t it? That you get students going on some exciting project, and they like the talking part, and they like the interacting part, and they like the stories part, but they don’t really get down into the academic subject matter in the way that you want them to.
Somebody talked this morning about students getting into sharing war stories in a business class, this happens especially with adults who are already employed, right. They want to tell war stories, but they don’t want to get into the theoretical stuff, which is what the purpose of the class is to give their practice a theoretical grounding.
And that’s harder for them, so they kind of resist going there. So what do you do about that? (female speaker). Help. (Barbara). Help. People had those kinds of experiences? (female speaker). I don’t know if maybe there’s anything you can do about it this semester, at this point, maybe you kind of have to let it ride out, and then the next semester look back and see what you’ve learned from this, and see how maybe you can take this motivation and incorporate the literature into it more.
(female speaker). Sometimes, you know, it’s such a positive thing that it hate to, and they would hate me if I stopped them, they are so in love with what they’re doing, and it’s such a good thing. But, it, and they’re working hard, they’re very busy with it, so they’re really not time.
I even took them to the library and made them do some research on it, and they did that, but there’s no time to continue with the research, they want to work. And it’s to the point where I can’t, I really don’t even know what to test them on for a final, and so I went to my chair and I said, you know, “I don’t even think I can give them a final.
” And he’s like, “Well, you have to.” And so, I’m like, okay, I’ve got to go back there and tell them, “I have to teach you this stuff so I have something to test you on.” You know, but I hate to take this moment from them.
I have two other classes very involved in the literature, and they’re doing all scientific, disciplined, it’s there, but theoretical and all that good stuff is right on task. But this one class, we got off track with the Orpah Winfrey thing, it’s as big as Oprah Winfrey, I just don’t know what to do.
(male speaker). I think I agree with you, I mean, sometimes we make some huge mistakes, that happens to me, the middle of the semester, the only choice is just to let it go. And next semester, correct it.
(female speaker). But see, I don’t feel like it’s a mistake, it’s a wonderful thing. (Barbara). It feels good, so let it be its own thing. Let it be its own thing, right? (female speaker). I think you’re philosophically having a hard time because you have the sense that you have the content.
(female speaker). I am dedicated to my discipline. (female speaker). To the content, that you have to send sort of a great books credo, they need to know these, and at the moment, I’m the same way. You have to let that piece go for them, but perhaps what they have learned is a greater set of skills, and your final could be reflecting upon that.
And your final could be, I’m giving you a poem, and they have to apply all these skills you learned to this poem and write. (female speaker). It all came from a poem, it all started from a poem. (female speaker).
So that’s a logical, that’s a closing up that circle then. Look at all these amazing higher-ordered thinking skills you’ve learned. That’s to me, a logical climax. But I think it’s a philosophical debate in your heart.
(female speaker). But can’t you take it to the nature of debriefing any exercise? It’s debriefing, you know, what have we learned? Even though we applied it out here, which isn’t where I was really planning on going with it.
(female speaker). I could certainly developed a test which reflects the [unclear audio] and what they’ve done, but it won’t be about what we’ve learned and how else can we use this. (Barbara). All done, too bad for Ernie.
Maybe that’s the piece. (female speaker). We give you permission. (female speaker). Let’s take a vote. (female speaker). And have the department chair fire me? (Barbara). At your trial. (female speaker).
Let me take your names and numbers. My support group. (Barbara). Let me shift ground and talk about one thing that comes up in here, and that is the importance of student/faculty contact. It’s come up along the line as we’ve talked.
It’s come up in terms of responding to students intake cards, writing comments back to students, but the research literature shows that, I think probably more strongly than anything except page 3 on this sheet, which gives a place to the student/faculty contact that student/faculty contact it turns out, in the literature, it can be a huge motivator and a huge tool for retention and a huge inspiration of both the faculty member and the students.
So let’s talk about ways to do that that are legitimate that don’t get you into some kind of trouble, whatever that kind of trouble may be. Either you’re spending way too much time on it, or you’re getting too close to students in inappropriate ways.
You’re moving over the line from teacher to therapist or teacher to pastor or rabbi, or something like that. You don’t want to do any of those things. What are some ways that we can enhance interaction with our students? And let me tell you one thing that comes out of the literature.
Show up to class 5 minutes early and talk to your students, just that. And you know where that comes from? It comes from something that may or may not surprise you, it turns out, if you do that, you can raise your student evaluations.
Well, I don’t care about you raising your student evaluations, I don’t even care if that research is worth anything, I care because that is one way you can, without spending a whole lot of extra time, you can make your students feel like you saw them.
(male speaker). I have a question for you, when you said the research shows, and the research shows, you are talking about United States students? (Barbara). Primarily, yes. (male speaker). Because what happened is, my courses, the less I see United States students, in my courses, I have five people from India, three from Pakistan, one from Iraq, two from China.
And from time to time, I have a midwestern. So, you know. (Barbara). Who wanders into the class by mistake. (male speaker). What I’m trying to say is, for me, all that research doesn’t help a thing. (Barbara).
No, it probably doesn’t. (male speaker). Because I have to adapt to a wide range of cultures and things. (female speaker). They don’t want to be seen, it’s a different relationship. (male speaker). It is different for example, Chinese cultures, Indian cultures, tend to have a different relationship with the professor.
And you know, I’m from Latin America, so it’s just a blend of different backgrounds and styles of learning, that so sometimes when I have, “Well, research shows, and research shows.” Well, yeah, but that’s not for me, because that research does not apply.
So, sometimes it is a little bit difficult when you have groups like that. (Barbara). You have to figure out what it is for your own students, and that comes from talking to them, watching them, asking them, you know, what works for you.
But, but, what I’m saying about this research that was done, on typical U.S. students, which have some international students intermixed, but not at that proportion. Is that if you show up 5 minutes early and talk to your students, you can enhance that sense that they were seen, that they came to class that day and something happened that made a difference that they were there.
You know, after your class is over, think about those 20 students, or those 60 students, or those 120 students who were in that room, how many of those students left that classroom feeling like it mattered to somebody that they were there? That is your goal.
Every day it matters, they know that it matters that they were there. And one of the ways to do that is to come five minutes early and just chat up a few students. Everybody else as they come in is watching, so they get the sense that you’re there, you’re talking to students.
Now, I’m not a very good chatter-upper, because I’m a little shy actually, but what I will sometimes do is just throw out a funny question. So it’ll be a question like, “How many of you were some place over spring vacation where you saw snow?” Or, be careful not to get class, socio-economic class issues ranged in here.
I would never say “How many of you went to Florida for spring vacation?” but, just something silly, like, “How many of you have watched a sports game in the past week, all the way through from start to finish?” Or some dumb thing, I can think of dumb things when I’m in my class, I can’t think of them right now, but.
And then students will just kind of get trading stories about that, and that’s what I want. So I try not to make it a grilling, “What’s your major, where are you from?” But rather to throw out, just some thing.
I saw an award winning teacher, no matter what size his class, he taught big classes, little classes, he would stand outside his classroom door as the class started. And even if he didn’t, in a big class, know the student’s name, he would just say hi to every student.
Or almost every student as they came in the door. Just, “Hi, how are you, how are you doing today, glad you came to class.” Then in smaller classes where he gets to know the students, he’ll, then it can be more of a conversation.
There’s another thing I saw done. And this is time-consuming, but think about it. This guy has sixty-some students in his class and is a teaching-intensive university, so he teaches a lot, teaches four classes at a time, has sixty students in this one class, is an intro gen-ed class.
He meets for 5 minutes with every one of those students in the first week or two of school. Every one of the sixty, he doesn’t do it for all his classes. He does it for these sixty students, so think, five minutes, he really has to keep it to that.
Five minutes per student, he has them lined up outside the door, this is your time is 11:55, yours is 12:00. (female speaker). What is he doing in the time? (Barbara). What is he doing in the five minutes? (female speaker).
Yeah. (Barbara). In the 5 minutes, he has time to say, what’s your name, where are you from, you know, just a, what do you want to get out of this class. I’m so glad that, you know, and then follow up with one or two questions.
Why are you in the class, what do you hope to get out of it, what’s your background, what do you find that’s interesting. What is your greatest fear. He’ll ask different questions like that, and maybe there’s only time for two or three exchanges, and then he’ll say, at the end, something like “I’m so glad you’re in my class, and I really hope you’ll come back to me any time that you have any question or any concern or anything to share with me.
” But they’ve been in his office, they’ve met him face-to-face one-on-one, it’s not so scary. And he just does that for these 60 intro students every semesters, and he says it’s exhausting, it takes a lot of my time, but it is so worth it.
And he too is an award winning teacher, it’s phenomenal what students will say, not only when they’re there, but after they’ve graduated, you know, “that Doctor so-and-so was the most powerful teacher that I had, and he really cared about me.
” I’ve watched his class, and I have interviewed some of his students, and have written reflections on question/answer of the students. It’s powerful what happens in his classes, powerful. And he attributes a large part of that to this practice that he has of just meeting five minutes with each student.
(female speaker). I just want to clarify something, especially because we’re being video taped and I don’t know who is going to watch it, The class that I did a free hug day with, meets 4 days a week, so in a semester we meet 60 days, so one day was spent not doing any project.
And for the thought cards that I tried last week, we take the first five minutes of class, we fill it out, and they pass it down, and then I complete and respond to them on my own time. But it’s worth it for me, it’s the highlight of my week, so I don’t mind.
(Barbara). Let’s talk about other ways to interact with students, to increase that faculty/student contact. One-on-one or one-on-a-few, how do you, do other people have different ways of doing that that aren’t, that don’t actually kill you? (female speaker).
Knowing student names is a simple one. I teach in a large auditorium sections, and I don’t know first and last names, but I try to make it a point of knowing 75% or so of students I can address by first name.
I call on them and we do class discussion in a large group and I walk around the auditorium and then pick up different parts of the class, and just being able to acknowledge them by name. (Barbara). It’s huge.
(female speaker). I feel better. (Barbara). It’s huge. (female speaker). And students feel good too. (female speaker). But you can also be really informal, just walking around campus, speaking to people as you’re walking through campus.
Going to the food court, getting your coke there, and drop by a couple of tables to say hello. Just trying to be where they are, and when you see them, wave to them, speak to people, you know, let them know that you know who they are.
(Barbara). Yep, yep. When you have a student who is ill, or has had an accident or has called home for something, get a card, have everybody in the class sign it, send it to them. It helps your contact with these other people, it’s a demonstration that we as a class care about this member of our community.
I watched another award winning teacher come into a class and say, “I just received word from the advising office, I guess, or somebody, that Maddie has been taken to the hospital. She has had another bout of,” The student had some ongoing thing, I don’t know what it is, diabetes or what it was, she was in the hospital, and he said, “She’s in such-and-such a hospital, and I’m going to stop by there on my way after class today.
” That’s all he said, but what was the lesson to students in that class? (female speaker). Caring. (Barbara). He cares. We care. He pays attention. (female speaker). How can you do that without breaking confidentiality? My student tells me that their grandmother dies, I’m not going to tell the rest of the class, like, how does, and if you wanted the class to sign a card, like, (female speaker).
It’s none of their business someone is in the hospital. I mean that’s personal. (female speaker). I think that’s the students’ trust too. (female speaker). I don’t think we’re allowed to do that, that’s personal.
I mean, seriously, I think that’s illegal. (Barbara). That is what this guy did, but some teachers will not do it. I felt a little, I don’t know. I have, on some occasions, when it was very widely known, I have done the card.
Sometimes I do not do the card, just because I am not sure that the student would want that known. (female speaker). You’re supposed to do it personally, not share it. You’re supposed to do it personally, you do it yourself.
(Barbara). That’s right, you do it personally. That’s a one-on-one. Go in stop in, or send a card, or send a note, whatever. (female speaker). Except that it has been known by another student, I think that it happens to [unclear audio].
(Barbara). So, it’s very good for people to say you have to watch out for privacy issues on that kind of thing. (female speaker). I have practicum students and they’re out in the field and they’re like 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 in a school, and after their observation, the last day of their observation, I take them all out to eat.
I have 8 or 9 students and we all go out and eat some place together, and it’s kind of a chance that we can share. And to be truthful, I ask them about how they feel, if they felt qualified to go into that classroom and what could be done to help improve them and improve the program.
That really opens a lot of conversation. (Barbara). I’ve seen, I know a faculty member who has a class of about 200, and he announces that every Thursday, he will be in such and such a cafe, on campus, a little coffee shop on campus.
From such and such, it’s an hour. And many of his students who want to come there and talk with him off the records, you know, just getting to know one another. And he says about 20 students will come on average.
And they just kind of take over a corner of the cafe and pull up and just talk. And they ask him, you know, they’re curious. They ask him about his life, and tell about theirs, and it can be class connected or not.
And he said in a class of 200, at a big state university, the power that he gets from his students, even if the student doesn’t come, just knowing that they could. And for the students who do choose to come, very powerful.
Very well worth his time. (female speaker). Well, hello everybody, I actually work for University Housing, so I’m not an instructor, but I do want to let you all know that we do have opportunities for you all to connect with students already established.
And two of those are called, well, one is called House Calls, and the other is called the Charleston Shoe Program. House Calls happens once a semester, and that’s where faculty members can come and tour the residence halls, because like we talked about earlier with motivation.
You get to see, okay, this student lives in very close quarters to another student, and this student may have their music blaring at 3:00 in the morning, and that is why, you know, they’re not as prepared for class as they could be.
And then another program, the Charleston Shoe Program allows a student to choose a faculty member to come to lunch or dinner, and the housing department actually pays for that meal. And it’s the goal of the student to bring other students as well, so it’s not the one-on-one, if you don’t want that, but it can be.
(female speaker). I was telling her she should be a Charleston Shoe, I did that last year, and it was great. I looked forward to it, and then whenever students would complain to me about food in the residence halls, I could say, you are wrong.
I have eaten there, I love the young man that I was connected with last semester, so you should do that. (Barbara). So whenever we can connect with our students in a way that they perceive we really saw them, we are likely to reap a powerful benefit for motivational learning in the classroom.
Now I want to close with one more point, and that is the importance of feedback. Feedback, feedback, feedback, from students to us. From students to us. So, we’ve talked about some ways on the first day of class of eliciting students information about themselves, their goals, what they hope to learn, some people ask what are your greatest concerns, what is your greatest fear about this course, what is your greatest hope about this course.
I mean, different things that you can ask. What I have sometimes asked is, teaching English, what was your best English class ever? In high school or college, and why was it so good? And that’s a great one, because then I read them over and I come back to the class and say, the qualities of the English classes you most like, liked, were these, these, and these.
You know, they never say, the teacher lectured to us the whole time. They say, this teacher got us involved, this teacher had us do a project, so, I say to them, this is how this class is going to be.
It’s going to be interactive, I’m going to expect your participation, I’m going to really be shaking up and moving. Based on, you know, like the airlines say when they institute a new regulation, based on customer feedback, for the greater comfort of our customers.
So, that’s first-day feedback. Now, I would suggest that you should be getting in feedback of some kind from your students every week or two throughout the semester. Not just at midterm, not just at the end with the student evaluations.
So when the first quiz, or after the first paper that they write, and they get feedback on it and it comes back to them. Ask them, ask them okay, now we’ve had our first paper, it’s come back, you have your grade and the comments, talk to me about how that was for you.
How did it help you learn, not what do you like, that’s not the point, but what aspects about this experience helped your learning. What suggestions that you make that could help your learning more that you could do, and that I the teacher could do.
That you could do, that I could do. Emphasizing all the time that it’s a partnership, that we both have responsibilities. Or, if you have been running the class interactively, what I sometimes do, after about two weeks, I’ll say to my students, “Alright, this class is a combination of full class work and small group work, tell me whether you think the balance is too much one way or too much the other way, or just about right and why.
” And they can write anonymously, take those in, the next day, I report back to them. About half of you thought this, another third of you thought this, the rest thought this. So, one of the most important ways to not only enhance student motivation by listening to them, but also know whether you are enhancing student motivation by asking them, is to get this constant feedback, constant feedback.
I’ve known large classes in which the faculty member asked a few students to serve as kind of an advisory board, like a class of 100 or 200, ask a few students to serve as an advisory board. Once every week or two, ask them to meet just a few minutes with you after class and say how’s it going, what do you hear from your peers, what in this class is helping you learn, what suggestions do you have, got to keep your finger to the wind all the time.
And that in itself is motivating and it also helps you to understand what you’re doing that is motivating for students. So, to recap today, we started out with emphasizing how important student engagement and student motivation are, and some of the factors that include, that affect student motivation, including the role of the grading process and making sure to send a message with your grading system about how important it is.
We emphasized that motivation is changeable, you can influence it, and we emphasized that there are many many reasons for students to exhibit behaviors that we call not motivated. But there may be lots of things going on.
And then we talked about all the different strategies that one can use to enhance those motivational behaviors. To help your students be engaged. Whether it’s because they weren’t interested in the subject, or they are working too many hours, or they, you know, whatever it is, don’t see the usefulness of this class.
Or they’ve just been jilted by their boyfriend or girlfriend and that’s all they can think of, or So it’s been a very great pleasure to work with you all, I have enjoyed it, I have learned a lot myself, as a teacher.
Please, before you leave, take a few minutes to fill out the green sheet, and you can leave the green sheets on the back table there. Or on one of the back chairs, or whatever. And thank you very much, folks.
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