Jenna Cambria Faculty Photo

Jenna Cambria, Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology in the Educational Statistics and Research Methods Program for the College of Education and Health Professions, gave a presentation titled, “Scholarship of Teaching & Learning: Practical Teaching Ideas based on Research” for the TFSC Not-So-New Faculty Lunch Series.

Dr. Cambria’s research interests involve student motivation and self-perception.  As she notes, she gets to ask kids what they want to be when they grow up!

For this presentation Cambria focused on emerging adults (18-29).  She noted that they often feel “in between” and are transitioning from dependence to independence but it is also a time of optimism. Because of these changes, reflection assignments and assignments that encourage intrinsic (self) motivation are ideal for learning. These are assignments that promote autonomy and choice.  For instance, we can discuss and negotiate exams and assignments which gives them control of their learning in a way that encourages them to take responsibility for class content.

Another method for teaching that encourages learning is telling students why you assigned a particular assignment.  What skills will they learn, how will this help them in other classes, and how does this tie in to their majors or desired occupations?  It may also be beneficial to have them reflect on how this is useful for them.  What do they think about the usefulness of the assignment?

Creating a community of trust in the classroom is also a valuable method for connecting these emerging adults to their learning. We can do this by finding out what they value, asking questions and finding out student needs. We need to practice building bridges and creating assignments that hit the motivational “zone of proximal development” which challenges students without being too difficult (or too easy!).

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For more ideas on implementing teaching methods based on research, view Cambria’s presentation below or email her at

This content was developed from a presentation by Jenna Cambria which was sponsored by the The Wally Cordes Teaching and Faculty Support Center (TFSC) at the University of Arkansas.

The presentation can be downloaded and viewed as a PDF: Jenna Cambria TFSC Presentation- The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning