The IDEA organization, a center for faculty evaluation and development, has created a set of 4-6 page summaries of best practices on a variety of teaching issues. Their very first such paper was on motivating students [1]. This paper contains a wealth of information and some very solid suggestions.

Because the issue of motivating (or engaging) students is so crucial to successful education and because this IDEA paper is so packed with good ideas, I have broken the paper into smaller pieces and have added a few comments of my own. The basic issues covered in the paper are listed below.

Motivating Students 1: General Considerations

Motivating Students 2: Begin with Students Connecting to Student Interest, Values and Attitudes

Motivating Students 3: Begin with Students Connecting to Student Knowledge and Skill

The links below will become available throughout the 2006-2007 school year.

Motivating Students 4: Establishing Relevance Daily Task Why before What Tie to the Past

Motivating Students 5: Establishing Relevance Tie to the Future Be transparent

Motivating Students 6: Connect Elements to Student Levels Tasks

Motivating Students 7: Connect Elements to Student Levels Tests and Grades

Motivating Students 8: Connect Elements to Student Levels How to Push Students Higher

Motivating Students 9: Reward as Motivation Immediate Formative Feedback (shows them that you want them to learn, to grow, to do well)

Motivating Students 10: Reward as Motivation Giving Individual Feedback Giving Group Feedback

Motivating Students 11: Encouraging Student Discovery Activities Active Learning Advantages : Selection and Preparation

Motivating Students 12: Encouraging Student Discovery Activities Active Learning Follow-up

Motivating Students 13: Student-Professor Interactions Establishing Good Connection Communicating About the Right Things

Motivating Students 14: Student-Professor Interactions Keeping Communication Open

Motivating Students 15: Summary
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[1] William E. Cashin, “Motivating Students,” IDEA Paper No. 1, August, 1979.