“What’s in it for me?”

In response to mOOC Extend Activity “WIIFM” Module 1.

“What’s in it for me?”

As a fairly new teacher, I am learning that students often question why they need to know about some of the concepts that I’m teaching them. The courses that I teach are considered to be General Education courses, however there are many reasons why these courses align with students’ respective programs.

Like teaching, as a parent you sometimes have to step into the role of a salesperson. Allow me to elaborate… My 4-year old son is approximately halfway through his junior kindergarten year. His journey in academia has just begun and he absolutely hates it. The other day he asked me, “Mommy, why do I have to go to school? I already know lots of things.” Before I was able to respond (and I had a real great sales pitch lined up) he proceeded to explain how the music in my car is transmitted by invisible “waves in space” (not sure how he got to that one but I am sure he stumbled upon a video somewhere in YouTube-averse). I began asking him questions about his knowledge on the “waves in space” until he ran out of answers and said “I don’t know.”

Sometimes, we automatically assume that our time could be better spent elsewhere. Leaning into something new and stepping outside of our comfort zone can lead to unexpected things.

In my Introduction to Gerontology class last semester, one of my students included the following feedback at the end of their final exam:

“Considering this isn’t a class I would have ever picked up on my own if I didn’t need a Gen Ed, I quite enjoyed this class and found the topic to be a lot more interesting than I thought.”

Motivation to learn something new is a complex beast. Sometimes, the element of surprise is “what’s in it.”



2 thoughts on ““What’s in it for me?”

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