A peer from my PIDP class uses story telling to motivate students and suggested that it provides direct relevance and that it gives the students a little piece of ‘you’ (the instructor).
I really like story telling as a way to motivate / engage students and I often do that as well. I find that students in trade training courses, electrical in particular, often say things like “when am I ever going to use this on a job site?” This is why I often go out of my way to tell students job site stories that apply to theory they are learning. It makes the concepts less abstract and definitely gives the subject matter ‘direct relevance’! Many of the students that enter the electrical trade are hands on sorts of individuals that prefer their time in the field. As a result, they come into class aiming to complete the 10 weeks because it is required. Their motivation seems to come once they realize the theory in class applies directly to their work in the field and that they need one in order to excel at the other.
For me personally, I have enrolled in courses I wanted to take for personal interest, courses I was required to take from an employer, and courses I took that were requisite for a program that advanced my career. I am definitely more motivated, at least initially, in the courses I took for personal interest, becuase I was interested (i.e motivated) to begin with. Having said that, I’ve found that my motivation in the other courses tend to build once I start to see the value and ways that I can apply the teachings.
My experience as an instructor came before taking any PIDP courses and so I don’t know that I ever cognizantly used the story telling to motivate students, but in reflecting, it definitly had that effect. After a couple google searches I found this list of ideas to help with motivation in the classroom, it is a short article and worth the read but it is likely only scraping the surface of possibilities!