Counselors Gazette Feb/Mar

By Denisha Forte & Carla Milano

How Can I Help My Students?

Students are more likely to engage in learning when they

  • see value in what they’re learning
  • believe that engaging in specific actions will bring about a desired outcome
  • believe they can be successful
  • perceive that the environment is supportive

To help motivate students . . .


1. STRUCTURE YOUR COURSE AND EACH CLASS TO HELP STUDENTS KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT


2. INCLUDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS (AND YOU!) TO GAIN INFORMATION ON HOW THEY ARE DOING


  • Diagnose students' understanding as they enter class (e.g., begin class with an informal poll or diagnostic question, or post it the night before)
  • Provide rubrics for assignments and give feedback based on them
  • Provide timely and targeted feedback about how students are progressing [link to clickers (using effectively; formative assessment/CATS]
  • Incorporate Clicker questions or other in-class assessments designed to identify what students know or don’t know.

3. FOSTER APPLICATION/CONNECTION OF WHAT STUDENTS ARE LEARNING TO THEIR OWN LIVES

  • Design learning experiences that are relevant to students' lives
  • Craft activities that encourage application of content to situations they will likely encounter

4. CREATE A POSITIVE CLIMATE/COMMUNITY FOR LEARNING WHERE STUDENTS FEEL SUPPORTED

  • Promote social exchanges for learning among peers. Class interaction is more lively when the conversation broadens beyond just alternating between you and one person in the class. [see ideas for peer learning under discussions]

STRESS-FREE TESTING

We had an awesome time meeting with 3rd., 4th, and 5th grade students. Ms. Milano and I provided students with strategies for setting goals and getting rid of worries for STAAR.

Every Kid Needs A Champion

Strategies For Motivating Students

Following are some research-based strategies for motivating students to learn.

  • Become a role model for student interest. Deliver your presentations with energy and enthusiasm. As a display of your motivation, your passion motivates your students. Make the course personal, showing why you are interested in the material.
  • Get to know your students. You will be able to better tailor your instruction to the students’ concerns and backgrounds, and your personal interest in them will inspire their personal loyalty to you. Display a strong interest in students’ learning and a faith in their abilities.
  • Use examples freely. Many students want to be shown why a concept or technique is useful before they want to study it further. Inform students about how your course prepares students for future opportunities.
  • Use a variety of student-active teaching activities. These activities directly engage students in the material and give them opportunities to achieve a level of mastery.
    • Teach by discovery. Students find as satisfying as reasoning through a problem and discovering the underlying principle on their own.
    • Cooperative learning activities are particularly effective as they also provide positive social pressure.
  • Set realistic performance goals and help students achieve them by encouraging them to set their own reasonable goals. Design assignments that are appropriately challenging in view of the experience and aptitude of the class.
  • Place appropriate emphasis on testing and grading. Tests should be a means of showing what students have mastered, not what they have not. Avoid grading on the curve and give everyone the opportunity to achieve the highest standard and grades.
  • Be free with praise and constructive in criticism. Negative comments should pertain to particular performances, not the performer. Offer nonjudgmental feedback on students’ work, stress opportunities to improve, look for ways to stimulate advancement, and avoid dividing students into sheep and goats.
  • Give students as much control over their own education as possible. Let students choose paper and project topics that interest them. Assess them in a variety of ways (tests, papers, projects, presentations, etc.) to give students more control over how they show their understanding to you. Give students options for how these assignments are weighted.

Sources:

  • Ken Bain, What the Best College Teachers Do, Harvard University Press, 2004, pages 32-42.
  • Linda Nilson, Teaching At Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors, 2nd edition, Anker Publishing, 2003, pages 41-44.
  • Matt DeLong and Dale Winter, Learning to Teaching and Teaching to Learn Mathematics: Resources for Professional Development, Mathematical Association of America, 2002, pages 159-168.
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