Saturday, October 18, 2014

The M Word

So what is your position on motivation?  Is it our job to motivate our students, or is it our job to educate our students while they motivate themselves?  I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic after reading Jeffrey Buller’s interesting article in  Academic Leader entitled “Academic Leadership and the M Word.”
Here’s a small excerpt:
These discussions about academic motivation often become heated because there’s such a strong case to be made on both sides of the issue. By the time they’re in college, students should be motivated by the ideas, skills, and principles that are going to be integral to their careers. At the same time, we as faculty members should recognize that effective teaching involves a great deal more than information transfer. The argument will never be resolved, because each perspective is correct. Some of us are just pulled a bit more by one side than the other.
Buller goes on to extend the motivation issue to academic leadership—chairs, deans and leaders on up the ladder. The main point of his article is that at the administrative level, “True academic leadership isn’t just about getting the decisions right; it’s also about getting the motivation right.”

What do you think?

As a teacher, how do you motivate your students, if you see that as part of your job? (In the MHS Program, one important motivation for our working adult students has always been “Learn the theory on Saturday, use it on Monday.”)  

When you are wearing your administrative hat, how do you motivate your colleagues to work toward a desired goal?

1 comment:

  1. I seem to agree with Jeffrey Buller that "The argument will never be resolved." Besides, it is difficult to get people to agree on the meaning of "getting the decisions right" or "getting the motivation right” or the criteria.

    I also agree that "In the MHS Program, one important motivation for our working adult students has always been 'Learn the theory on Saturday, use it on Monday.'” In the undergraduate program, it appears that one important motivation for our students has always been 'Learn the theory and information in class, use it on the exam or fail!'

    It is important not to ask teachers or administrators to be Wonder Women or Supermen or to demand supererogation of them. At the basic level, our job is to educate our students. If we can also motivate them, by all means, let us do it; but let us demand it when, for all kinds of reasons, we cannot. Money is usually a great motivator for both students and teachers; so, if you can afford it, throw money at them!

    Safro Kwame