Another Teaching Tip

Today’s tip: give students options.

This can apply to any number of class activities. Giving students options gives them a sense of autonomy and also makes them feel as though the instructor respects them enough to let them make decisions.

An example would be to establish a “token economy” in class, where students can collect tokens and exchange them for various prizes. The instructor could let students choose from among several possible prizes. I am skeptical of token economies with older kids, since it might undermine the intrinsic motivation they should have developed.

I’ve heard some ideas about giving students choices as to how their final grades are calculated. For instance, they can choose to have their whole grade be based on exams. I’ve heard cases of low achieving students becoming middle or high achieving students on this model.

I realized that my 518 instructor is employing this very tip by letting us determine whether we want to turn in our first writing assignment on Behavioral Theory this Friday or whether our first assignment should be on Developmental Theory next Friday.

If anyone else has ideas about how to give students choices, hit up the comments.

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