The famous French aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, commented about leadership by saying, "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the sea." In a similar fashion, as leaders of learning, professors should follow the precepts of educational psychology to inspire students to deeply learn the course material. A student who is made passionate about learning a topic will fill his or her own bucket with greater expedience and efficiency than any professor can. This is a testament to the virtues of intrinsic, versus extrinsic, motivation. An optimal learning environment can be crafted, first, by providing a setting for academic success. A savvy professor can then design the course assessment scheme around harnessing student desires for autonomy. Role modeling can be integrated into the curriculum to shape student attitude and behavior. In similar fashion, an overall reinforcement plan can be instituted to reward appropriate student behavior. Following these tenets, educators can make learning an autotelic event that it is a self-contained activity, pursue by students not just for a good grade, but for the sake of learning itself (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990).
Scholarly Commons Citation
Professors as Architects of Student Learning.
Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education & Research, 15(3).