Motivating all students within your classroom can be a challenging and some times lengthy process. As an adult educator I strive hard to promote intrinsic motivation within the students I teach. As discussed by The Center for Teaching (2015), “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.” Advantages of promoting intrinsic motivation are that it can be long lasting and self-sustaining. In promoting this type of motivation I am striving to facilitate student engagement and a deep understanding of course content rather than focusing on extrinsic rewards. Strategies I have used in the past to promote intrinsic motivation are getting to know my students, relating the course material to relevant trends in their lives, using interactive group case-studies, and being passionate about the subject matter I teach.
Another research-based strategy for motivating students, suggested by this teaching guide, is to allow students to have some autonomy over project topics. I plan to implement this strategy within a Health Administration: Community Health Planning course that I am currently developing. The semester project for the students entails they do a community assessment, to determine the need for a health promotion workshop/program based on a topic of their choice such as, cancer support groups, healthy eating programs within schools and workplace environments, community clean-up teams, etc. Students will play an important role in leading and co-ordinating activities to improve public health and reduce inequalities, based on their assessments of local needs, and developing a joint strategy to meet those needs through their community group project. By allowing the students to choose a topic of their choice they should become more engaged in the learning process, be motivated to see their community service project through to completion, and ultimately gain a sense of accomplishment. All of these factors should combine to equate to students who will successfully succeed in the course.
For more information or to read the full teaching guide titled “Motivating Students” please refer to the applicable link in my resources section.