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Motivating students for mathematics

Dr. Meike Akveld

Motivating students for mathematics Meike Akveld

Motivating students for mathematics

Dr. Meike Akveld

My case:

I Analysis I and II for DBAUG

I Approx. 300 students

I Compulsory course in the first year

I 14 KP (5 hours of lecture and 2 hours of exercise class per week)

Motivating students for mathematics

Dr. Meike Akveld

Why is motivation a problem?

I These students are NOT mathematicians, but need to learn a lot of mathematics!

I Mathematics is hard work: You get stuck, you fail, you need to think hard (that’s often no fun!).

I Results are usually not immediately visible. Endurance is needed.

But there is some motivation:

I In my experience engineers at the ETH bring a lot of intrinsic motivation: They do not question why they have to do so much maths and why precisely this maths and are prepared to work hard.

I There is the external pressure of an exam at the end.

Motivating students for mathematics

Dr. Meike Akveld

My actions for enhancing motivation

I Show that you take the students serious (i.e. show them respect)

I Show that you care about their well-being and their performance

I Show passion for the subject and for teaching

I Be genuine

Motivating students for mathematics

Dr. Meike Akveld

Example 1: Multiplce choice questions on the homework

Idea: The students are asked to do a certain number of multiple choice questions each week which they hand in electronically.

Benefits:

I I remind them that they should do the exercises (show I care).

I Direct feedback on their performance.

I Feedback on how they are doing related to the group.

I Feedback to me how the group is doing – I take up exercises that were particularly difficult in class.

Motivating students for mathematics

Dr. Meike Akveld

Example 2: Clicker questions during the class

Idea: I pose one or two clicker questions per lecture wich they either discuss immediately and answer, or answer first and then discuss and re-answer.

Benefits:

I It gives the students a short break - something different, where they can become active.

I The students get immediate feedback and see how they are doing compared to their peers.

I I comment on the statistics which shows them I care.

I I get immediate feedback on how well my teaching was understood and I also communicate about this.

Motivating students for mathematics

Dr. Meike Akveld

Example 3: Visit the exercise classes

Idea: Time permitting, I try to regularly visit the exercise classes.

Benefits:

I I can give feedback to my TAs in order to improve their teaching and to build a team spirit as teachers/coaches.

I I see in “real time” how my students are coping with the material and what the difficulties are (this may flow back into the lecture, or into next year’s lecture).

I The students are aware that I visit their exercise classes (hence they see that I care)

Motivating students for mathematics

Dr. Meike Akveld

Take home message:

Think about how you can show your students that you care!

Motivating students for mathematics

Dr. Meike Akveld

Thank you for your attention!