Will students actually believe they can do this assignment?

No matter how much students value your course, or how supportive your classroom environment, they won’t be motivated to do the work if they don’t think they can succeed at it. And of course the solution is not about making things easy for them.

As a new academic year gets underway, I’ve been thinking a lot about student motivation. Specifically I’ve been rereading a 2010 book How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching, which offers a compelling chapter on the three main pillars that underlie student motivation.

I wrote last month about the first pillar: value. That is, how to get students to value the course goals you’ve created and actually want to do the work. Now let me turn to the second one: “expectancies” — jargon for students’ expectation that they can succeed on an assignment and achieve a given goal. (Stay tuned for a column on the third pillar: creating a supportive classroom environment.)

[ Read the original article at The Chronicle of Higher Education. ]

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