Teaching for Tenure and Beyond: Strategies for Maximizing Your Student Ratings

By Franklin H. Silverman | Go to book overview

6

Enhancing Students’ Motivation

Motivation is crucial to learning. Both what students learn in a course and the length of time they retain it are affected by their instructor’s ability to enhance their motivation. And their instructor’s ability to do so can profoundly affect the teaching ratings that they give to him or her. A number of factors that can affect an instructor’s ability to enhance his or her students’ motivation are dealt with in this chapter.


MOTIVATION—A PREREQUISITE FOR INVESTING TO LEARN

To learn you must invest. The investment necessary to acquire particular knowledge could include time, money, energy, the willingness to be uncomfortable, and/or some or all of these. Since the amount of each that you have to invest is finite, a decision to invest them to acquire particular knowledge means that you’ll have less of them to invest to acquire other knowledge.

Your willingness to invest to achieve a particular goal is determined, in large part, by the benefits you expect to receive from achieving it. Your expectations may or may not be realistic. Regardless, if you expect the benefits you’ll be receiving to be substantial, you’re more likely to invest than if you don’t.

One way to gauge the amount you’d expect to benefit from achieving a particular goal is to answer the following hypothetical questions: If I were to achieve this goal, in what specific ways would my life be likely to be affected? What would I begin doing that I don’t do now? What would I cease doing (that I don’t like doing) that I do now? What positive impacts

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