How do you keep students motivated to learn? Here are 5 tips you can implement immediately in your class.
1. Allow the first 5–10 minutes of class for discussion.
Creating a shared space to talk about non-cognitive issues, such as struggles with financial aid or added stress from jobs, shows students that you understand they are busy, unique individuals and that you’re here to help them succeed.
2. Take on-campus field trips.
Oftentimes, students don’t know how many learning resources their institution offers them. Bringing students to the tutoring and writing centers, as well as the library, will make them aware of what’s available and more comfortable with getting help. If you teach online-only classes, consider holding a discussion forum with links to these resources’ websites so students can easily access them.
3. Promote growth mindsets over fixed mindsets.
Encourage multiple drafts of writing assignments and consider allowing students the ability to retake assessments if they apply themselves and learn the material. Research shows that growth mindsets help fight students’ apathy toward their learning.
4. Provide detailed feedback on assignments.
When students hand in papers or problem sets, remember to write the kinds of comments that focus less on the letter grade and more on the growth aspect of learning. If you get the feeling some students aren’t reading your feedback, ask them to meet before or after class to go over it with them.
5. Pair struggling students with successful students in group work.
If students are finding your course—or perhaps college life in general—a little challenging, have them work with those who are doing well. Many times, students feel more comfortable learning from their peers, and they’ll be positively influenced through collaborating with students who show them that they, too, can succeed. Plus, the role of mentor will increase successful students’ confidence and leadership skills.
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