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How to motivate the students?

This is one of the most common questions in pedagogy. Sometimes it reflects a lot of anxiety.

This question is similar to this one: how to be healthy? It’s quite obvious that there is no straight answer. There are lots of things to do in order to be healthy. You need a good hygiene. You need some good daily routines, like enough sleeping time or a well-balanced diet. You may need medications sometimes. If one of your organs fails dramatically, you’re dead. It doesn’t matter if you loose your brain, or your liver, or your heart, or your kidney. The result is the same. Your need all of them in a correct shape.

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How to reward the best students while avoiding harmful labeling ?


Competition is often seen as a source of motivation. And… it’s true… to a certain extent. If you’re pretty lucky, organizing a competition between your students will dramatically increase the motivation of… the top ten.
You can also experiment a few drawbacks. A fierce competition tends to make nasty children and to prevent any cooperation between them, because the best ones will retain the keys of their successes. And obviously the worst students will not be encouraged to perform better. Nobody will ever strive to go from the 35th to the 32nd place.

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How to mark Mutiple Choices Questions in order to reduce guessing in the answers ?

The problem is quite simple. You should not mistake success rates for the marks you give to the students. A good mark is often defined by tradition to a precise number, for instance, in France, we consider that 10/20 is sufficient. In China, it’s 60/100. Each country has its own tradition. This is not the point. But you must consider the nature of the test. It’s quite obvious that getting a 50% success rate on a true or false test is an absolute disgrace, as it’s the score that you’d get through random answers.


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