Readers: Five ways to motivate students

3. Explore team-building using peer knowledge.

“At Drake University, we’ve just established a coach-faculty exchange program called ‘Coaching in the Classroom.’ This summer, six head coaches from our Division I athletics programs in men’s and women’s basketball, men’s soccer, women’s golf, and football are collaborating with six faculty members from Education, English, Musical Theatre, Marketing, Statistics, and Chemistry to explore ways of using strategies for team-building and accountability deployed by coaches to motivate active, engaged, and collaborative learning.

“After a series of summer meetings, coaches will visit classrooms in the fall and faculty members will observe practices, locker-room sessions, and games, in the hopes of sharing insights into the way coaching strategies can be transferred to the classroom and pedagogy can aid coaches on the gridiron, course, and court. Participants in this program, coordinated by the university’s athletic director and faculty development coordinator, use their own experiences, as well as literature from teaching and coaching theory, to refine their approach to motivating student participation and engagement. Our findings will be presented to the campus community during a plenary workshop in spring 2013.”  —Craig N. Owens, PhD., associate professor of English, Academic Affairs fellow, and director of the Center for the Humanities at Drake University

4. Inspire and empower them to be leaders in their community.

“Here at University Middle School … in Greeley, Colo., I have been working in conjunction with our school director on a ‘leadership’ class in 8th grade to help students establish an understanding of their responsibilities and roles in being a leader in their school community. Last year was our first year for this class. As a result, six of our 8th graders, who are now moving on to our high school, have been motivated to create a high school committee called ‘University of Leadership.’ This group of passionate and dedicated high schoolers are willing to work through the summer on their own time, with me as their sponsor, to put together opportunities at our K-12 school that allow students to connect with their school community and the world-at-large in a leadership capacity.

“They are proudly calling their program launching year, the 2012-13 school year, the ‘Year of the Leader.’ They are doing posters, bulletin boards, monthly teacher/student newsletters (complete with monthly themed leadership articles, posters, data, surveys, lesson plans and activities for teachers, guest editorials from leaders in our community, and much more), classroom presentations and school-wide assemblies (as well as promoting their program through social media) in an effort to make it known that they are concerned for societies’ well-being. They will be partnering with local businesses, and their future goals are to go to other schools to help students launch their own ‘Universities of Leadership.’ Feel free to follow them on Facebook and Twitter; you can see their group-created mission statement and group profile: University of Leadership and ‘Year of the Leader!’” —Tonya Van Beber

Meris Stansbury

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