Dave, thanks for bringing this up. I used to obsess about this problem when I was a graduate student, and summed up my concern as follows:
If a student does not want to learn, they will not –
Even in spite of good teaching.
If a student wants to learn, they will –
Even in spite of poor teaching.
I say I obsessed about it, and it really did consume a lot of my cycles. ‘Why bother learning how to use all these “effective instructional strategies” when people aren’t even going to engage with them?’ I worried. I used a final project assignment as an excuse to pull together my thinking on the problem, and developed a mini-curriculum for teachers and instructional designers that I called “Getting Students Interested.”
(This thing is so old it’s using the Open Publication License! Possibly 98 but probably 99. Either way, it hasn’t seen the light of day in over 15 years.)
I haven’t looked at it in a while, but if there’s something useful here in terms of nudging your thinking forward – even just by giving you something that you can strongly disagree with – then the share was worth it. If it turns out there actually is something interesting in here, let’s talk about it.