Teach the Earth > Affective Domain > Workshop 07 > Participants and their Essays > Jenefer Husman

Jenefer Husman

Psychology in Education, Arizona State University

Jenefer Husman

What are the key issues related to the role of the affective domain in teaching geoscience that you would like to engage at the workshop?

What aspects of geoscience do students find the most engaging?
What aspects of introductory content do students connect to their future goals?
What role do students' goals, for their futures and for the course, play in their motivation?
Why might some students see geoscience as instrumental for their future goals and other students not?

What expertise or experience (in study of the affective domain or teaching of geoscience) will you bring to the workshop? How would you like to contribute to the workshop?

I am an Educational Psychologist, and I specialize in research on post-secondary student motivation and affect. Specifically I examine how students self-concept, thoughts about their personal futures, and concepts of time effect their motivation for learning in science and engineering.

Recently I have received an NSF CAREER grant to examine the intersection of post-secondary education students' career development and their motivation for science and engineering course work. I am currently working with a geoscience educator to better understand the interaction of student motivation and achievement in his introductory courses.

I have published a number of journal articles and book chapters focused on understanding of post-secondary learning and motivation. For example:
Husman, J., Derryberry, W. P.,* Crowson, H. M.,* & Lomax, R. (2004). Instrumentality, task value, and intrinsic motivation: Making sense of their independent interdependence. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 29, 63-76.

Kauffman, D. & Husman, J. (2004). Effects of Time Perspective on Student Motivation: Introduction to a Special Issue. Educational Psychology Review, 16, 1-7.

Turner, J. E., Husman, J., & Schallert, D. L. (2002). The importance of student goals & academic context: investigating the precursors and consequences of experiencing shame upon students' subsequent motivational behavior and academic achievement. Educational Psychologist, 37, 79-90. (3)

Shell, D. F., & Husman, J. (2001). The multivariate dimensionality of personal control and future time perspective in achievement and studying. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 26, 481-506.

Husman, J., McCann, E. J., & Crowson, H. M. (2000). Volitional strategies and future time perspective: embracing the complexity of dynamic interactions. International Journal of Educational Research, 33, 777-799.

Husman, J. & Lens, W. (1999). The role of the future in student motivation. Educational Psychologist, 34, 113-125.

Weinstein, C. E., Husman, J., & Dierking, D. R., (2000). Interventions with a focus on learning strategies. In M. Boekaerts, P. R. Pintrich, & M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation. (pp. 727-747) San Diego: Academic Press.

Wadsworth, L.*, Husman, J, & Moyer, P. A. (2005, April) Me math and my future: the relationships between students' future goals, self efficacy, and achievement. Paper presented at the 2005 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Montreal, Canada.

Essay: Learning to Motivate My Own Students: The Confessions of One Educational Researcher

After years of teaching graduate level course, I was asked to take on an undergraduate course for pre-service teachers. My first semester, I was not a successful teacher, the comments and evaluations I received from students after my first semester teaching the course were far below what I expected. What was worse, the number one negative comment was that they found the course not useful and not motivating. This was particularly disheartening because the focus of my research is post-secondary student academic motivation and particularly the importance of students' perceptions of the utility of their course work for their future goals (Husman, Derryberry, Crowson, & Lomax, 2004; Jenefer Husman & Lens, 1999; Shell & Husman, 2001). Additionally I strongly believe that the students in my classroom need the content to be successful as future teachers. So the content is useful, I know how important perceptions of utility and student motivation is for learning (Malka & Covington, 2005; Robbins, 2004), I just was not applying that learning to my own teaching. I knew I had to change my course to do that.

I focused the changes I made to the course using the results of some of my own, and others, research. First, I wanted to increase students' sense of autonomy and control (Vansteenkiste, Lens, & Deci, 2006). Second, I wanted to establish small "learning communities" within this large (70 student) undergraduate course (Shell et al., 2005). Third, I wanted to provide students an opportunity to make their own connections between the course content and their future goals (Husman & Lens, 1999).

My decision to increase students' sense of autonomy and control stemmed from my reading of the literature on Self-Determination Theory. These theorists argue that human beings have a need to control and shape their own lives (Vansteenkiste, Lens, & Deci, 2006). Students, however rarely experience this in the course of their own education. In my class, the students have many opportunities to directly influence their curriculum. Each week, the students must write two essay questions; these essay questions are turned in on Tuesday. On Thursday, the students come together in groups and write an essay, based on five essays chosen from those turned in on Tuesday. The students know they are directly influencing their own assessment, and they have an opportunity to choose among several topics of assessment.

The group essay writing project, although difficult for the students at the start of the semester, creates a strong sense of community amongst the students. I based my construction of this aspect of the assignment on Social Learning Theory (Zimmerman & Kitsantas, 2002). Through the need to construct a coherent group product, students model for each other how they think about the course content, how to transfer thoughts into organized text, and how to read the text for important information. Although I am aware of the research that has proven peer modeling increases student achievement and motivation (Zimmerman & Kitsantas, 2002), I am still surprised when I see it work so well in my own classroom.

The third major change I made to my course was the addition of a writing assignment. Specifically, I asked the students to choose one week's content to focus on (after they had the opportunity to participate in lecture, group essay writing, and group discussion) and write an essay describing why that week's content was important for teachers to know. In my own research, I have consistently found that simply telling students that content is useful is probably not effective; students need to come to that understanding on their own. Students need to be given the opportunity to envision their futures, and consider how what they are doing now might be related to that vision.

The changes I made to the curriculum three years ago have paid off. I now receive more comments about how useful and motivating the course is. Additionally, I enjoy the course more; motivated, enthusiastic, and optimistic students are simply more fun to teach than bored, frustrated students.

Husman, J., Derryberry, W. P., Crowson, H. M., & Lomax, R. (2004). Instrumentality, task value, and intrinsic motivation: Making sense of their independent interdependence. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 29, 63-76.

Husman, J., & Lens, W. (1999). The role of the future in student motivation. Educational Psychologist, 34(2), 113-125.

Malka, A., & Covington, M. V. (2005). Perceiving school performance as instrumental to future goal attainment: Effects on graded performance. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 30(1), 60-80.

Robbins, S. B., Lauver, K., Le, H., Davis, D., Langley, R. & Carlstrom, A. (2004). Do Psychosocial and Study Skill Factors Predict College Outcomes? A Meta-Analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 130(2), 261--288.

Shell, D. F., & Husman, J. (2001). The multivariate dimensionality of personal control and future time perspective in achievement and studying. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 26, 481-506.

Shell, D. F., Husman, J., Turner, J. E., Cliffel, D. M., Nath, I., & Sweany, N. (2005). The impact of computer supported collaborative learning communities on high school students' knowledge building, strategic learning, and perceptions of the classroom. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 33(3), 327-349.

Vansteenkiste, M., Lens, W., & Deci, E. L. (2006). Intrinsic versus extrinsic goal contents in self-determination theory: Another look at the quality of academic motivation. Educational Psychologist, 41(1), 19-31.

Zimmerman, B. J., & Kitsantas, A. (2002). Acquiring writing revision and self-regulatory skill through observation and emulation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(4), 660-668.