In her wonderfully insightful book,
The Spark of Learning: Energizing the Classroom with the Science of Emotion
, Sarah Rose Cavanagh shows how research from the field of affective science can be applied to teaching in higher education. Along the way, she shares a series of tips on keeping students engaged throughout the semester by setting the right tone from the beginning.
Getting students to be enthusiastic and motivated for class begins with the teacher. Cavanagh points out how enthusiasm and motivation are positively contagious. Most of us can probably recall teachers whose passionate emotion for their subject is so great it sweeps over their students and "infects" them with the desire to learn more themselves. While some of this enthusiasm may be inherent, there are ways to cultivate it and enhance this affective crossover from teacher to student. Cavanagh suggests these practices: