Better Than Me: Motivate?!?
My Intro to Biblical Studies exams are challenging because of the amount of material that they cover. I try to come up with a balance between basic biblical literacy and critical thinking. While I still require research papers and now I have students blog 2000 words per week, I find for the biblical literacy portion the standard exam format with identifications works well. I also have a critical essay section as well as a section called “Who Says to Whom in What Book of the Bible.” Yesterday I graded the first exam for two sections, and many scored in the 40-60 range unfortunately. I’m not motivating these students it would seem. But one student scored a 97, which I found to be pretty amazing. I was never that focused as an undergraduate. She was very well prepared, and obviously had put a great deal of work into studying. I wish more of my students could be so motivated. I’m curious about ways beyond grades that I could find to motivate students to work hard. Having students think I am funny, nice, pleasant, demanding with very high expectations: none of this seems to be working. My best teachers always made me want to work harder, and I was so afraid of letting them down by turning in inferior work. I want to be that kind of teacher. It’s difficult in a core class, in that about 3/100 are theology majors, and most of the others resent that they have to take two theology courses. They are especially upset that I ask them to do so much work. So beyond demanding so much work, I want to find ways to make the students motivated to do well in my course. Any ideas?