Nov 05

Motivation Is KING in Education


This is a concept I have come to accept in the world of education.  It takes off from the classic financial saying that “Cash is King”, or “Cashflow is King” (wikipedia entry).  It means that, in the world of education, if you can get a student motivated about their own learning, then most (if not all) further problems will resolve themselves. I have found this true in my own life, and in the lives of my students.  Those students motivated about doing well, getting high grades, and achieving the things they want to achieve, do what it takes, get the help, and get it done.  Examples:

  • A student is motivated to do well on an upcoming grade 11 math test.  Therefore, when their friend text’s them in the middle of class, they do not respond until after class, because they want to make sure they understand the material.
  • A student fails a quiz worth 5% of their grade in first year university, and is very motivated to make sure that this is not repeated on the midterm exam.  Therefore, they come to office hours and ask questions, they ask questions in class, and make sure they understand the expectations of the professor, so that they can meet those expectations on the midterm exam.
  • A student knows what they want to do with their lives, and are passionate about it.  Unfortunately, the university has determined that, in order to do that, they must take course X (which the student hates).  However, since the student is so motivated to do what he wants to do with his life, he will work as hard as he can in course X to make sure he gets through it with the grade he needs.
  • A student knows the exam is tomorrow and if they don’t study, they will not do well.  Therefore they CRAM and work crazy hard to get themselves as ready as they can possibly be, while still getting some sleep (because they are MOTIVATED even to get sleep!)

So, the whole problem of education comes down to motivating students.  If students are super motivated, they will work as hard as they need to in order to learn the material.  Moreso, whenever we introduce a technology to the classroom, it should have a positive effect on motivation, and, if ever adding a technology DECREASES motivation, it should likely be removed IMMEDIATELY.

For this reason, from now on, I will attempt to include in all discussions on adding technology to education a section on how it could impact student motivation.

So how do we motivate students?  I would love to have your comments on such a topic.  Please add them to the Google Document below!

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