Getting Students to Integrate what they learn into

Not Just a Qualification:
Getting Students to Integrate
What They Learn Into Their
Selene Mize
Faculty of Law, University of Otago
Academy of Tertiary Teaching Excellence Symposium
2 December 2010
Session Overview
 Motivating students
 Clickers
 Influencing students’ values
In the Beginning . . .
The Following Year . . .
What Changed?
Legal Ethics became compulsory for admission to
the legal profession
Students may have said to themselves: “I am taking
this class because it is required, not because I want
Intrinsic motivation: when you want to do something
Extrinsic motivation: when someone else tries to make
you do something
“Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do, and
that play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to
Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876, Chapter 2).
 Extrinsic motivators (rewards and punishment) can
change behaviour, but only so long as the
rewards/punishment remain present and significant
enough to matter.
 Worse, extrinsic motivation sometimes undermines
intrinsic motivation, the students’ perception of their
own ability, and the perceived value of the target task.
 Paying University students to do a puzzle
 Paying people to give up smoking
 Wine coupons
But What About . . .?
Intrinsic Motivation Doesn’t
Need to Be “Created”
 Traits of human nature include curiosity, being
active, initiating thought and behaviour, making
meaning from experience, being effective at what
is valued
 Our part is not to create intrinsic motivation, but
 Avoid stifling these natural tendencies
 Provide a supportive teaching environment
What Can Support Intrinsic
 Supplying credible information about the value of the
task or information to be learned. Extrinsic
motivators have a particularly negative effect where
the student is ignorant about the value of the learning.
 Offering students freedom and choice (something that
they must choose to do cannot easily be downgraded
later by characterising it as something that they did
not really want to do)
 Non-hierarchical structure (where teachers work side-
by-side with the student, as opposed to teachers as
superior authorities). Delegating control of the task to
the student (eg Adrian’s farmer’s market day) (this
demonstrates trust and confidence in the student)
 Low-powered incentive schemes that signal that the
student is capable and talented (“Encouraging you to
try would make no sense if you were unable to learn by
doing”); that the information to be learned is
genuinely useful; and that there is a long-term payoff.
 Challenging students to meet goals that are
meaningful to them, to accomplish new tasks
Provoking students’ curiosity
Providing opportunities for cooperation and
Using fantasy to stimulate students (eg making a game
out of learning, helping learners to imagine
themselves using the learned information in real-life
Giving meaningful, positive recognition to students for
their work.
What Often Doesn’t Work:
 Emphasising the rewards of education or the pleasure
of learning
--It can trigger suspicion in the student
 “Over-complimenting” or praising in general terms the
student’s ability (although releasing reliable data on
the student’s performance is fine)
--It can trigger suspicion, and also high self-confidence
can interfere with effort (“I don’t need to study”)
 Providing too much help
--It undermines the student’s confidence that he or
she can do the task
 Praising every student equally
--It is not credible
Use in Marking?
 Civil Liberties: 100% enjoyed them and wanted more
 Why mess with success?
Types of Clicker Questions
There are many different kinds of questions, including:
 Pretest
 Review
 Application / Test Understanding
 Survey
 Sensitive
 Postponed Review
 Reinforcing
Pretest Questions
 Are useful for discovering from where your
students are starting, and determining how much
time should be spent on background material
Review Questions
 Give you a chance to see if you got your point across
 Give students immediate feedback on their learning
 Gives students feedback on their learning in
comparison with their peers. Eg a student who gets a
question wrong and sees that the vast majority of the
class got the question right may be more motivated to
improve than if the student just sees that he or she got
the question wrong.
Application / Test Understanding
 Go further than the material presented in class, eg
by applying a difficult concept to a new situation or
re-stating it in some way, to see if students have
truly grasped the material.
Survey Questions
(Opinions where there is no single “correct” answer)
 Results are interesting
 Can trigger debate
 Once students see they are not alone in their viewpoint,
they are more willing to speak out in class
 Allow exploration of sensitive topics that could not easily
be broached in class discussion.
 Can alert the lecturer to the need for presenting more info
(eg if students assert that there is no discrimination in NZ).
Postponed Review Questions
 Are more powerful aids to memory. Many
students will be able to regurgitate material
immediately after covering it. Fewer will be able to
do so accurately after a break.
Reinforcing Questions
 Emphasise the importance of certain points
All Clicker Questions
 Require students to be more active in class, which aids
engagement and retention
 Provide an enjoyable break/change of pace
 Can be posted online for later review by students
How Not to Influence Students’
 Preachiness
 Hypocrisy
 Condescension / superior attitude
Is “Instilling” Values Appropriate?
 Pro
 The public interest is
served by high standards
 Lecturers are in an
influential position to
promote values
 Failing to advocate gives
students the false
impression that morality
is relative
 Con
 Values are subjective, and
people disagree
 What makes me the better
judge of values?
 Pushing values is likely to
generate resistance
 Developing self-reflection
has more lasting effect
What Is Uncontroversial?
 Presenting factual information including consensus
 Modelling appropriate professional or educational
 Controlling the learning environment (eg demanding
respectful discussion)
 Exposing students to a learning environment designed
to stimulate self-reflection
To Encourage Self-Reflection
 Expose students to multiple viewpoints and
different methodologies (eg philosophy, religion,
structural approaches)
 Use examples that bring injustice and suffering
from immoral behaviour into focus
 Include a real world focus so course can’t be
discounted as ‘ivory tower’. Refer to students’
likely post-graduation experiences
 Make value challenges feel relevant and personal
to the student
 Use second-person (“you are in your office, and a client
comes in and says ...”)
 Require activity, not passivity (eg clickers, survey
answers, assign roles in debate)
 Encourage class participation
 No personal disclosures
 Anonymous text messages
 Clickers, surveys, etc
 Consider use of literature and narrative (Ivanhoe)
 It enables students to experience and appreciate certain
feelings playing an important role in ethical judgment
 It allows the student to engage and exercise
“distinctively moral imagination”
 It can permit time appreciation – how different ethical
judgments fit into the span of a human life
 Guest speakers can also serve as role models
 In some situations, develop morality through doing
 Encourage reflection, introspection, deep thought
 Praise it
 Ask hard questions
 Take a long-term perspective
 Introspection takes time and experience
 Virtue requires “walking the talk”, which may not be
open to students
 Be open and non-judgmental
 Other ideas?
Honour Codes
Stanford’s Honor Code:
The Honor Code is an undertaking of the students, individually and collectively:
that they will not give or receive aid in examinations; that they will not give
or receive unpermitted aid in class work, in the preparation of reports, or
in any other work that is to be used by the instructor as the basis of grading;
that they will do their share and take an active part in seeing to it that others as
well as themselves uphold the spirit and letter of the Honor Code.
The faculty on its part manifests its confidence in the honor of its students by
refraining from proctoring examinations and from taking unusual and
unreasonable precautions to prevent the forms of dishonesty mentioned above.
The faculty will also avoid, as far as practicable, academic procedures that
create temptations to violate the Honor Code.
While the faculty alone has the right and obligation to set academic
requirements, the students and faculty will work together to establish optimal
conditions for honorable academic work.
The Ultimate Goal . . .