There’s a letter to the editor this week that gets right to the heart of student motivation issues. It’s from a former teacher who, as a substitute teacher, was appalled when he took over for a teacher who was letting students read comic books for an English class. But then he had a realization:
These boys and girls, all from working-class families, many of them children of immigrants, were devouring the comic books, and were reading for pleasure for the first time. Some of them had moved from comic books to Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Jack London, and they enjoyed discussing Oliver Twist as much as Superman."
As this man discovered, it’s important to keep an open mind to new teaching strategies, even when they aren’t traditionally academic. I think this is especially relevant in light of recent movements like incorporating educational video games into the classroom. While playing a video game may not be as educational as reading a textbook or taking notes on a lecture, it’s definitely more fun and engaging for students, and conceivably, they may learn more from the video game because they’re tuned-in and paying attention.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Motivation Matters blog.