April 19, 2015

Motivating Students

From The Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University

This entry on motivating students covers:

  1. Intrinsic Motivation
  2. Extrinsic Motivation
  3. Effects of Motivation on Learning Styles
  4. A Model of Intrinsic Motivation
  5. Strategies for Motivating Students
  6. Showing Students the Appeal of a Subject

1. Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivators include fascination with the subject, a sense of its relevance to life and the world, a sense of accomplishment in mastering it, and a sense of calling to it.

Students who are intrinsically motivated might say things like the following.

  • “Literature interests me.”
  • “Learning math enables me to think clearly.”
  • “I feel good when I succeed in class.”

Advantages: Intrinsic motivation can be long-lasting and self-sustaining.  Efforts to build this kind of motivation are also typically efforts at promoting student learning.  Such efforts often focus on the subject rather than rewards or punishments.

Disadvantages: On the other hand, efforts at fostering intrinsic motivation can be slow to affect behavior and can require special and lengthy preparation.  Students are individuals, so a variety of approaches may be needed to motivate different students. It is often helpful to know what interests one’s students in order to connect these interests with the subject matter. This requires getting to know one’s students. Also, it helps if the instructor is interested in the subject to begin with!

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Filed under: Tutoring Practices

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