Student Motivation, Cognition, and Learning: Essays in Honor of Wilbert J. McKeachie

By Paul R. Pintrich; Donald R. Brown et al. | Go to book overview

8
Seeking Academic Assistance as a Strategic Learning Resource

Stuart A. Karabenick Eastern Michigan University Rajeev Sharma Allahabad University, India

In his classic book Teaching Tips, McKeachie ( 1986) advised beginning college teachers to create classroom environments that maximize student involvement. An advocate of student-centered learning, he cited considerable evidence that class discussion, compared to lectures, increases motivation and facilitates critical thinking. Discussions afford students the opportunity to evaluate their comprehension of course content and apply concepts. Even instructors of large classes are urged to encourage student comments and questions.

Those who take his advice undoubtedly find many of their classes receptive to opportunities for interaction. In others, however, discussions may never occur or become productive. Furthermore, whereas some students profit from increased involvement, others, even with the best of teacher intentions and inducements, remain silent and passive. This is especially problematic for students who despite being confused take little or no advantage of instructors who not only provide time for discussions and questions in class, but offer other forms of assistance as well. McKeachie ( 1986) proposed that the lack of interest and knowledge, habitual passivity, fear, and embarrassment are reasons why students do not contribute to class discussions. After all, students

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