Motivating Students Via Mental Time Travel is the title of an article summarizing a recent study that involved students envisioning their future lives.
In one experiment, students who saw themselves in “college-dependent” careers were more likely to do extra work in school. In the other, showing students the difference in income by educational attainment achieved the same result.
It’s not a shocking result by any means, but, for me, it reinforces the importance of some of the things I’ve been trying to do in my classes this year. In September, I was surprised by the large difference in life goals between my mainstream students and my English Language Learners, with the ELL’s having much higher career goals. That prompted to to experiment with different strategies like having students visualize success (see “Mental Imagery” & Success) and doing exactly what the experimenters did with showing income by educational attainment (see The Best Resources For Showing Students Why They Should Continue Their Academic Career).
I’m looking forward to using these kinds of lessons a lot earlier in the school year next fall.