Lecturing is often touted as a means to inspire students’ interest, yet many lectures fail to do so. Stimulating interest is vital to education, as a person’s interest influences their attention, goals, ability to self-regulate, study strategies, and levels of learning. Yet, attention to what makes classes interesting to students is still rare in higher education. This study examines triggers of students’ interest during lectures.
Students (N=706) in 12 different one-hour first year lectures were surveyed at the end of the lecture. They described the moment they were most interested; rated a series of 5-point Likert scale items about features of the content, presentation, and teachers’ behavior during that moment. They also completed items measuring their degree of situational interest in those moments (immediate, state-like) and their individual interest in the subject of the course as a whole (enduring, trait-like). I will present the results of this study, focusing on what teachers can do to promote students’ interests in lectures.
Dr Kathleen M. Quinlan is Reader in Higher Education and Director of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Kent.
She holds a PhD in Education from the Stanford School of Education and has researched teaching and learning in higher education for more than 20 years. She has led educational development programmes at The Australian National University, Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and the University of Oxford and served as Educator-in- Residence (August 2014) at the National University of Singapore. Her recent work focuses on emotions in learning and teaching in higher education. She is researching what interests students about their subject and about studying in higher education, as well as the link between teachers’ emotions and their values. She edited the book, How Higher Education Feels: Commentaries on Poems that Illuminate Emotions in Learning and Teaching (Sense Publishers, 2016). Read more...
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