ReviewsReport as inadecuate

Author: Shân Wareing, Peter Funnell, Brian Boullier, Heather Dalgleish, Kate Morss, Ray McAleese and Philip Barker


Sally Brown, Steve Armstrong and Gail Thompson (eds.), Motivating Students, London: Kogan Page, 1998. ISBN: 0–7494–2494‐X. Paperback, 214 pages. £18.99


Reviews edited by Philip Barker Sally Brown, Steve Armstrong and Gail Thompson (eds.), Motivating Students, London: Kogan Page, 1998.
ISBN: 0-7494-2494-X. Paperback, 214 pages.
£18.99. Student motivation: the black box which concerns so many of us in higher education, and potentially the answer to all our problems.
If we could crack this one, students would use the library and the Web and get their assignments in on time.
They would come to our lectures and tutorials having prepared; they would ask interesting and challenging questions; and we would be able to reveal to them the excitement and charm of our chosen discipline.
They would all pass everything, and the reputation of our institutions would increase.
So does this book have the answers? It is divided into four sections, although the chapters do not always seem to fall obviously into one group rather than another.
The first section, -The impact of teaching on student motivation, contains six chapters on curriculum design and teaching methods; there are useful references for those new to the area, although it is perhaps less stimulating than the later, more specific, sections.
The second group of six essays, Motivating diverse students, makes greater use of psychological models of motivation, and considers the responses of different demographic groups to the higher-education context.
The third section, -The impact of university practices on motivation, contains five chapters, three on curriculum design (projects, work-based learning, and work experience) and two on more 54 general issues: the impact of stress on student motivation, and cultural attitudes towards learning and teaching.
This latter, Learning as an aesthetic practice: motivation through beauty in higher education by Alan Bleakley, actually appears to belong in a different book.
It is polemical in the midst of papen written in cooler experimental discourse, and laments the mechanistic, vocational culture which has replaced the joy in learning shared by students and tutors in the fifteenth century.
This paper bypasses the issues that others in the book io attempt to address: how to protect the students enjoyment of learning and the sanity of staff in a mass system with ever-reducing funding. However, it does make the point that much of what is said about student motivation is already known: that different students learn best in different contexts, and those who are motivated by intrinsic factors tend to do better than those wh....


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