What Factors Motivate Students to Learn?
My Students Are Going to Love This—NOT
This past semester, I finally got to teach a course that relates directly to my area of interest. I put in a lot of time and energy this summer preparing materials and was really excited going into the semester. I used a number of seminal readings in Continental Philosophy and assigned a research project based on primary documents from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I thought that students would be excited by the topic and would appreciate reading some of the classic works. But it did not turn out the way I had hoped, and I was really disappointed by their work. With the exception of the two philosophy majors and the one student who “needed an A to get into graduate school,” they were not at all interested in the readings and hardly participated in the discussions. In addition, they were not particularly inspired or creative in choosing research topics. Overall, they made little progress across the semester. I guess when it comes right down to it, most students do not much care about philosophy.
Professor Tyrone Hill
A Third of You Will Not Pass This Course
My colleague who usually teaches Thermodynamics was on leave for the semester, and I was assigned to take his place. I knew it would not be easy to teach this course: it has a reputation for being really hard, and engineering students only take it because it is required for the major. On top of that, my colleague had warned me ...