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How to Motivate Students to Work Hard on Their Civil Engineering Assignment

by Sep 13, 2016Civil Engineering

Students never enjoy completing their homework. Especially with a technical subject like civil engineering, teachers are often besieged by subpar assignments that are submitted hurriedly at the last minute or even late. Many students try to get away with avoiding an assignment deadline by conveniently falling sick on the assigned date but are forced to face the consequences later.
Why do students not want to complete their civil engineering assignments?
Students do not enjoy homework. If they thought they could get away with it, they would avoid it altogether. Nevertheless here are some common complaints that students have against their civil engineering assignment:

  • They do not understand the purpose of the assignment.
  • They question the application value of the civil engineering assignments.
  • They find the topics tedious and repetitive.

While civil engineering can be a complex and intimidating subject, here are a few steps teachers can take to address these complaints and help motivate students to put in an effort and produce better assignments:

  1. Know your students:
  • Research shows that students are likely to put in more of an effort to complete work prescribed by a teacher they are familiar with.
  • It is a good idea to know the names of the students taking your class and to address them by first name.
  • This familiarity can make them less likely to skip out on submitting their civil engineering assignment as they know that they can easily be identified and asked to account for their work.
  • A simple gesture like this can motivate students to work harder on assignments set by you because being identified by name makes them feel less anonymous.
  • It establishes a personal connection that shows them that you are invested in their progress and makes them more likely to perform so that they do not let you down.
  1. Create a conducive learning environment:
  • Students are often afraid of failure and this holds them back.
  • Create a safe environment where students are not afraid to make mistakes on their civil engineering assignments.
  • Encourage experimentation and reward effort rather than success.
  • This holds true even for other subjects. For instance, if you’re dealing with younger children you could try these simple tips on 8 simple ways how to help kids learn from their mistakes in mathematics.
  1. Focus on problem areas:
  • You need not assign the same assignment topic to everyone.
  • Before you assign topics to your class, go over old assignment records, or answer sheets.
  • Understand your students’ strengths and weaknesses and set them topics relevant to their requirements.
  • Ensure that your students understand why they are being assigned a particular topic. They are less likely to produce poor assignments if they understand why a particular topic has been assigned to them.
  • Focus both on topics that you know a particular student will enjoy working on, and alternate it with a topic that they seem to be having issues with. This way they will not tire of working consistently on difficult topics.
  1. Motivate your students with rewards:
  • Find ways to incorporate a reward system into your assignment schedule.
  • Students need positive reinforcements in order to motivate them to produce good civil engineering assignments.
  • Most institutes do allot a standard grading system on assignments. So students are marked on the basis of their assignments. This usually ensures that students submit decent work to avoid poor scores.
  • You may augment this system by assigning extra credit for good assignments.
  • Ensure that you praise students for their hard work and improvement in class.
  1. Don’t be afraid to use some negative reinforcements:
  • Students need to be reminded of the consequences of not doing their assignments from time to time.
  • Assign small punishments or demerits to students who fail to produce their assignments.
  • Ensure that they are aware of the fact that assignments are graded and that by submitting poor work, they are jeopardizing their score at the end of the academic year.
  1. Be consistent:
  • Clearly express the kind of work you expect from your students at the beginning of the academic year.
  • Students respond well to routines and timetables. So assign specific days to different kinds of assignments or set aside two days a week for assignment submissions.
  • Set aside one day a week to discuss assignments before setting them and another day to discuss the assignments already submitting.
  • This will give your students time to discuss their doubts and will give you the opportunity to give them feedback about the work they have submitted.
  • Be gentle but consistent in your demand for the timely submission of all your assignments.
  • Praise good assignments to motivate students who have worked hard and even present them in class to give students an idea of the kind of work expected of them.
  • Do not be afraid to pull up students and ask them to account for missed deadlines or poor work.
  • The more consistent you are, the harder it becomes for students to get away with missed deadlines without the consequences.
  • You can opt for professional websites for various tips and tricks.
  1. Encourage student interaction:
  • Students often resent civil engineering assignments because they feel left out. They sometimes need to feel like they contribute to the decision making process.
  • Organize an informal brainstorming session to encourage students to share their ideas and incorporate them into your assignment topics.
  • Students are likely to work harder on an assignment topic that they have helped choose rather than one that was set for them. They appreciate a more free scope.
  • Encourage students to work in groups to complete their assignments. Students tend to be more enthusiastic about group projects rather than individual assignments.
  1. Innovate:
  • Don’t be repetitive and predictable with your assignment topics.
  • Think out of the box and come up with more innovative topics to keep students interested in doing their civil engineering assignments.
  • An interesting topic can go a long way to pique a student’s curiosity and motivate him to work hard on the assignment.
  • Mix up the presentation mediums. Encourage students to use various modes of presentation to break the monotony.
  • Assign special value to innovation by rewarding dynamic assignments that incorporate unusual presentations and encourage student interaction.
  1. Be relevant:
  • Student often complain about civil engineering assignments having no real world value.
  • Try to come up with topics that have interesting practical applications that students will enjoy.
  • While assigning any topic, ensure that students understand how it is relevant to them.
  • Find ways to connect assignments to the students. Students work harder on topics that they find relevant to their own lives.
  1. Give thorough feedback:
  • Don’t just grade an assignment. Correct it and return it to the student.
  • Students need to know that you have actually taken the trouble to go through their work in detail.
  • So don’t skim through an assignment or tune out during a presentation.
  • Students understand when they are being marked arbitrarily for their efforts and will immediately stop trying.
  • By giving thorough and consistent feedback you can help students improve their assignments by showing them how to rectify their mistakes.

So go ahead and use these tips to motivate you students to work hard on their civil engineering assignment.