Write a brief post addressing how you are going to motivate your learners/students, and align your response with the information drawn from Small’s article on motivation.
For this class, we expect that the majority of you are intrinsically motivated to complete this course. Your enrollment was of course optional, and you are likely doing this for reasons that are important to you. We’ve added in a few extrinsic motivators as well (e.g. blog posts viewable by your coursemates, a certificate of completion).

The Small article is bringing up interesting aspects with regard to motivation that I had not heard so far – especially the ARCS model and the time continium model.

In general, I have a few basic ideas how to get my students engaged. By engagement, I believe that I get their attention. If then students turn into motivated researchers is an other question, I believe.*

  • I try to make them feel comfortable by talking to them about their studies when they walk into the classroom. This happens before the class starts. Once the class starts, I do not start right away by outline the class session’s goals. First, I ask questions such as who has been to the library etc in order to know what they know and to get to know them. A day-to-day conversation to get started.
  • Then, I outline what I want them to achieve during this class session. In general, I do have three big items that I write on the white board and explain in a couple of words.
  • I tie the learning goals then to the bigger picture of their classes and a specific assignment (if given by the professor which I underline in every conversation about and request for a library session) or at least a topic which is discussed in class at the moment.
  • What I like is task that are ‘easy’ to research. I think that it is important for the students to see that they can have success when they search for academic iformation in the library. Of course, ther eis the danger that they believe that research is easy but it is then up to me to challene them as we go further in research;
  • In general, I give feedback on activities and comments they do by affirming their actions or comments, however there is no grading in those sessions and/or real feedback on research projects (written or individualized feedback).
  • At the end of the session, I invite all students to contact me by email or by stopping by in the library of they need help.

Wrting the lines above, I am telling myself that I would like to integrate more aspects of recognition into my teaching and the student’s learning in order to motivate them.

While reading the Small article, I had a few thoughts that crossed my mind and I wondered how other librarians would see this:

  • Many times in the library literature, I hear librarians talk to students about the detective role they should play while doing research (see Small article p.7). I am asking myself if we do not ‘miss’ our target audience – the students – who are in a moment of growing up from childhood to become an adult. It sounds to me a little bit infantalising them and I am not sure if this is helpful in this situation. Maybe I am wrong here. Let me know what you think.
  • Another aspect I remember for good motivation is that one student said in the past, that the topic was boring but the professor and her enthusiasm motivated him so much to get started with research on the topic. The Small article discusses this aspect not too much if I have read it carefully.
  • As well the importance of being connected to somebody as Parker Palmer is saying in his book ‘Courage to teach’. Once you have access to the students, they listen and follow you as the instructor or guide of the class session/workshop. Maybe this is less of a motivational factor but more as a pre-motivational factor that influences teaching and learning?
  • Then, I thought about the fact that many students come in with different levels of knowledge and motivation and how to handle this; it is then also a question of a group dynamic that is important to get students motivated? This question leads me to the question of the Small article is not too much focused on the individual and motivation?

* I prefer to say engaged than motivated. I am not sure why but it seems to me that given the fact that I believe that – in the first place – many students come to university because they have to get a degree .

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