Key takeaways

  • Taking Care of the Learning Environment: Explore ideas for creating a supportive and inclusive environment, including fostering meaningful relationships between students and educators and among peers and ensuring teachers' satisfaction and enthusiasm cascade to students.
  • The Impact of Feedback on Motivation: Discover the significance of feedback and its impact on motivation, and explore strategies for providing diverse feedback that expands positive emotions and reduces negative ones.
  • Personalized Learning and Empowering Students: How to incorporate technology and different strategies to offer students autonomy and choice, setting clear goals and expectations.

Reflecting on your education journey, what moments are pivotal in sparking your curiosity and driving your motivation to learn? Was it the guidance of a passionate teacher, the allure of a particular subject, or perhaps an inspiring experience that fueled your academic pursuits? As you reminisce, consider the challenges you encountered along the way and how you navigated them to stay focused on your goals.

Throughout our schooling, myriad influences shape our motivation and engagement, from personal factors to the dynamics within the learning environment. These reflections prompt us to explore the multifaceted nature of motivation and perseverance in achieving academic success.

This exploration digs into the core topics surrounding motivation and engagement, probing our understanding and seeking optimal solutions. We aim to inspire and empower others in their educational endeavors by sharing insights and strategies for overcoming obstacles. Join us as we embark on this journey of introspection and discovery, aiming to unlock the keys to sustained motivation and academic excellence.

The Nexus Between Motivation, Engagement, and Emotions

Motivation encompasses the inner drive and desire that compels individuals to pursue goals or tasks. It's what starts passion and perseverance, propelling students forward in their educational endeavors. Think of it as the spark that initiates action, pushing students to strive for excellence, whether fueled by intrinsic factors like personal interest or extrinsic incentives such as rewards or recognition.

On the other hand, engagement refers to the level of involvement, attention, and active participation students exhibit in their learning activities. Students' deep connection and investment in learning are characterized by curiosity, enthusiasm, and absorption in the subject matter.

The correlation among emotions, engagement, attention, and motivation is profound and multidimensional. Think back to your own school days—do you recall how your teachers made you feel? The warmth of encouragement, the thrill of discovery, or perhaps the frustration of overcoming a challenge?

Neuroscience and emotional intelligence shed light on this dynamic relationship. Research shows that emotions are intricately linked to cognitive processes, influencing attention, memory, and decision-making. When students experience positive feelings in the classroom, their brains release neurotransmitters like dopamine, which enhance learning and memory formation. Conversely, negative emotions can activate the brain's stress response, impairing cognitive functions and inhibiting learning.

As educators, understanding the impact of emotions on student motivation and engagement is paramount. By cultivating a positive emotional climate in the classroom—fostering feelings of safety, belonging, respect, and encouragement and support- we can create an environment conducive to learning. Strategies such as incorporating humor, providing meaningful feedback, and building strong teacher-student relationships can help foster positive emotions and enhance student motivation and engagement.

But how do we measure motivation, and when should we consider it a concern? Rather than waiting for signs of dwindling motivation to emerge, proactive assessment and intervention are critical. Tools such as motivation scales or surveys can provide valuable insights into students' motivational levels, helping identify areas of strength and areas needing support. Monitoring students' engagement, participation, and academic performance can also serve as indicators of motivation.

However, the real opportunity lies in cultivating motivation and engagement from day one, not as a reactive measure but as a foundational principle of teaching and learning. If we develop relationships and connections, we will know immediately if motivation becomes a concern. 

Mastering organization: Essential skills for student success

Read article

The Motivation Cascade: From Teacher to Learner

“Great teachers create great learners, and great learners will be great citizens.” Chahrozian, G., 2023

 It’s Not What You Teach, It’s What Kind of Teacher You Are 


Teachers' enjoyment, motivation, and engagement are crucial in shaping their students' learning experiences and outcomes. When teachers are enthusiastic about their subject matter and passionate about teaching, they create a positive and inspiring classroom environment that significantly influences student engagement and motivation.

Firstly, a teacher's enthusiasm and passion are contagious. When teachers demonstrate genuine excitement and interest in what they are teaching, it can also spark curiosity and enthusiasm in their students. Students are likelier to be engaged and motivated to learn when they sense their teacher is genuinely invested in the subject matter and cares about their learning journey. This can lead to increased participation, active involvement in class activities, and a deeper level of understanding and retention of learning.

Furthermore, motivated and engaged teachers are more likely to employ creative and innovative instructional strategies to make learning engaging and meaningful for their students. They may incorporate interactive activities, real-world examples, multimedia resources, and collaborative projects into their lessons, which can captivate students' interest and promote deeper learning.

Moreover, teachers who are personally motivated and fulfilled by their teaching profession are more likely to invest time and effort in building positive relationships with their students. They may take the time to get to know each student individually, understand their strengths, interests, and learning preferences, and provide personalized support and encouragement. 

In contrast, when teachers lack enthusiasm, motivation, or engagement in their teaching, it can harm student motivation and engagement. Students may perceive the learning environment as dull, uninspiring, or irrelevant to their interests and aspirations, leading to disengagement, apathy, and low academic performance. As the saying goes, "Students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." Therefore, teachers' emotional investment and dedication are fundamental in creating a positive and conducive learning atmosphere where students are motivated.

A compelling quote by William Arthur Ward encapsulates the significance of teacher enthusiasm and motivation: "The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." This highlights the transformative power of passionate and engaged teaching in inspiring students to reach their full potential and become lifelong learners. 

Ensuring  Teacher Well-being for Optimal Engagement 

"Teachers, I believe, are the most responsible and important members of society because their professional efforts affect the fate of the earth." Helen Caldicott

How do we ensure teachers effectively display and expand their enthusiasm in the classroom? Cultivating an environment that fosters their passion and supports their professional growth is paramount. Teachers thrive in nurturing, inclusive, and conducive collaborative environments where their contributions are recognized and valued.

Research consistently demonstrates the correlation between teacher satisfaction and retention rates and student achievement and motivation. Schools with high teacher turnover rates often experience disruptions in instructional continuity, a lack of cohesion in school culture, and diminished student engagement. Investing in teachers' well-being, professional development, and job satisfaction is essential for retaining talented educators and critical for creating a conducive learning environment where students are motivated, engaged, and successful.

District administrators are pivotal in creating such an environment by prioritizing their teaching staff's well-being and professional development. Here are some suggestions for administrators to consider:

  1. Invest in Professional Development: Provide opportunities for ongoing professional development and training tailored to teachers' needs and interests. 
  2. Promote Work-Life Balance: Recognize the importance of work-life balance and support initiatives that promote teacher well-being and mental health
  3. Foster a Collaborative Culture: Create opportunities for collaboration and teamwork among teachers, administrators, and support staff.
  4. Provide Recognition and Support: Acknowledge and celebrate teachers' achievements, milestones, and contributions to the school community. Provide constructive feedback, mentorship, and coaching to support their professional growth and career advancement.
  5. Cultivate a Positive School Culture: Foster a positive and inclusive school culture where diversity is celebrated and all members feel valued, respected, and supported. Encourage a sense of belonging and community among teachers, students, and families.
  6. Enhance Social Connections: Designate specific times and areas to foster relationships within the school community. Facilitate opportunities for collaborative projects, shared experiences, and enjoyable interactions among all staff members, cultivating a sense of belonging and purpose within the school community. Consider offering team-building activities and dedicated days for staff throughout the academic year and for teachers and their subject classes to establish, renew, and foster relationships effectively.
  7. Extend Community Engagement: To renew participation and foster engagement, offer quarterly team-building and community-enhancing activities for staff, students, and parents/guardians. These activities can strengthen bonds, encourage involvement, and create a supportive school environment.

Building Strong Relationships: The Key to Student Motivation and Engagement

Teacher-student Relationship

From the bonds forged between teachers and students to the camaraderie shared among peers, relationships shape the learning experience environment.

The relationship between teachers and students is an ever-evolving exchange of trust, support, and mutual respect. Teachers who invest time and effort in cultivating meaningful connections with their students create a safe and prolific environment where learners feel recognized for who they are, valued, and understood. By demonstrating genuine care and empathy, educators establish a relationship that fosters a sense of belonging and empowerment in the classroom.

 Kids don't learn from people they don't like. Indeed, the bond between teachers and students is not solely about the subject matter; it's about how teachers inspire, believe in, and support their students' success. Demonstrating unwavering support and conveying the intentional message "I believe in you" are foundational to building meaningful connections with students.

Imagine a toddler learning to walk, taking tentative steps with the unwavering support of a caring adult. Much like walking, learning is an ongoing journey of trial and error. When teachers tell students that it's okay to stumble and fall and that they will be there to lift them up and guide them along the way, it fosters resilience, perseverance, and a growth mindset. Every stumble becomes an opportunity, and every challenge is met with the reassurance that they are not alone in their journey.

Teachers must be allowed the time and space to truly know their students and cultivate strong relationships. Knowledge is power, and understanding students' individual strengths, preferences, and abilities is paramount in tailoring instruction to meet their diverse needs. By adopting a learner-centered approach and embracing multimodal teaching and learning strategies, teachers can help students find their own path to success while continually reinforcing the message they are supported and believe in. Connection should always be the first thing to invest time and effort in, as it forms the cornerstone of effective teaching and learning.

While we recognize that knowledge is power, there's a growing acknowledgment of the significance of personalized education and learning paths tailored to individual student abilities, attitudes, and strengths. However, these aspects cannot be fully assessed through tests alone; they require dedicated teachers' human connection, expertise, and wisdom. When teachers are afforded the time to genuinely connect, understand, and bond with their students, they unlock their full potential. Yet, it's the school environment that must enable this connection. Ensuring teachers' happiness, satisfaction, and support while minimizing administrative burdens allows them to prioritize their students' needs. Schools create environments where everyone can thrive by placing students at the forefront and fostering teacher-student relationships.

Peer Relationships and Community Support

How much did your peer relationships shape your student life and school years? 

Peer relationships play a crucial role in shaping students' motivation and engagement. When students feel a sense of camaraderie and belonging within their peer group, it cultivates a positive social environment conducive to learning and collaboration. Whether through group projects, cooperative learning activities, or peer mentoring programs, fostering opportunities for meaningful peer interactions can enhance students' motivation and sense of belonging in the classroom.

Moreover, the broader school community is vital in nurturing a supportive learning environment. When students feel connected to their school community—whether through extracurricular activities, clubs, or community service initiatives—it instills a sense of pride and ownership in their educational journey. Thus, prioritizing peer relationships and the broader school community fosters an environment where students can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

Fostering Engagement through Inclusive Learning Environments

Engaging and motivating students is a multifaceted effort that thrives within a supportive and inclusive environment. At its core, this approach recognizes the profound impact of fostering a culture where every student feels valued, respected, and empowered. By prioritizing social-emotional learning (SEL) and life skills, educators equip students with the tools they need to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally, laying the foundation for meaningful learning experiences.

Practical strategies for cultivating such an environment abound, empowering teachers and district administrators to make a lasting impact. For teachers, as stated above,  it begins with intentional relationship-building, where understanding each student's unique background, interests, and needs serves as the cornerstone. Incorporating SEL practices provides students with opportunities to develop self-awareness and emotional regulation skills.

Furthermore, promoting active participation and collaboration among students fosters a sense of community and belonging. Whether through collaborative projects, group discussions, or peer mentoring initiatives, students thrive when they feel connected to their peers and engaged in their learning journey.

District administrators are crucial in supporting teachers in creating supportive and inclusive classroom environments. By providing professional development opportunities focused on SEL implementation and allocating resources for SEL curriculum materials, administrators ensure that educators have the tools and support necessary to cultivate a positive learning environment.

Making Your Lessons a Chocolate Cake with Effective Teaching Methods

Just because something is good for us doesn't always make it appealing. Take food, for example. While nutritious ingredients may be essential for our health, the presentation and preparation often entice us to indulge. A beautiful recipe can transform mundane ingredients into a culinary masterpiece, captivating our senses and encouraging us to try something new.

The same principle applies to education. Simply presenting students with valuable knowledge and skills may not be enough to spark their interest. To truly engage students, we must offer them something they will long for—an educational experience as enticing as a beautifully crafted dish.

By incorporating different teaching methods, captivating visuals, and interactive activities, educators can transform lessons into experiences that students eagerly anticipate. Like an enticing recipe, a well-designed lesson can make even the most mundane topics seem irresistible, inspiring students to dive in and explore. Engaging and motivating students involves implementing diverse teaching methods. This approach aims to make learning appealing, relevant, and visible to students, sparking their curiosity and enthusiasm.

Consider exploring Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences, as presented in "Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences" (1983) and subsequent works. Gardner proposed eight sets of abilities that represent various intelligences, offering a framework for understanding and embracing diverse ways of learning and teaching.

Implementing the theory of multiple intelligences opens the door to diverse learning and teaching approaches, allowing educators to tap into students' unique strengths and preferences. This approach provides new avenues for learning and encourages students to explore different skills and areas of improvement.

For instance, in a history lesson on ancient civilizations, educators can employ strategies that cater to different intelligences. Visual learners may benefit from maps, diagrams, and timelines illustrating historical events. Kinesthetic learners could engage in hands-on activities such as recreating artifacts or depicting historical scenes. Auditory learners may thrive in group discussions or through storytelling sessions, while interpersonal learners could collaborate on projects or debates.

Experiential learning is another powerful tool for engaging students and making learning meaningful. This approach emphasizes learning through firsthand experiences, allowing students to explore concepts and apply them actively in real-world contexts. For instance, instead of simply teaching about environmental conservation, students could participate in a local clean-up initiative or create their own sustainability projects, gaining practical skills and knowledge while positively impacting their community.

Moreover, connecting learning with real-life scenarios can make abstract concepts more tangible and relevant to students' lives. For example, instead of practicing math problems in isolation, students could apply mathematical concepts to real-world scenarios, such as budgeting for a trip or analyzing data from current events. By demonstrating the practical applications of what they're learning, educators can increase students' motivation and engagement by showing them how their skills and knowledge directly apply to their lives.

Incorporating gamification into the learning process can also be a game-changer for maintaining student interest and participation. By integrating game elements such as challenges, rewards, and competition into educational activities, educators can turn repetitive or practice tasks into engaging and interactive experiences. For example, a language learning app could incorporate leaderboards and badges to motivate students to practice vocabulary and grammar skills regularly.

Ultimately, the key to effectively utilizing diverse and innovative teaching methods lies in understanding students' unique needs and preferences and tailoring instructional strategies to meet them. By making learning appealing, relevant, and participative, educators can inspire students to actively engage in learning and unlock their full potential.

Incorporating Technology 

Technology offers endless opportunities to engage and motivate students in the learning process, making learning more interactive, immersive, and personalized.

One key benefit of incorporating technology is its ability to provide personalized learning experiences tailored to individual student needs. Adaptive learning platforms and educational apps can assess students' strengths and weaknesses, providing targeted instruction and adaptive feedback to support their learning journey. For example, platforms like Khan Academy and Quizizz offer personalized learning paths and instant feedback, empowering students to learn at their own pace and level.

Furthermore, technology can make learning more accessible and inclusive for all students. Digital resources such as e-books, audiobooks, and online databases provide alternative formats for accessing information, accommodating diverse learning preferences and needs. Additionally, assistive technologies, such as speech-to-text software or screen readers, can support students with different abilities, ensuring equitable access to educational materials and resources.

To effectively integrate technology into teaching practices, educators can explore a variety of tools and platforms tailored to their subject area and instructional goals. Websites like EdSurge, Common Sense Education, and Edutopia offer valuable resources, reviews, and recommendations for incorporating technology in the classroom. These platforms provide insights into the latest trends in educational technology, best practices for implementation, and tips for maximizing student engagement and learning outcomes.

Moreover, staying informed about relevant articles and books on educational technology can provide educators with valuable insights and inspiration for incorporating technology into their teaching practices. Books like "The Innovator's Mindset" by George Couros and "Teaching Digital Natives" by Marc Prensky offer practical strategies and frameworks for leveraging technology to enhance student engagement and motivation.

Handle with Care: Feedback and Its Impact on Engagement and Motivation

Feedback is an integral part of the learning journey; however, when feedback is delivered ineffectively or perceived negatively, it can harm students' motivation and engagement in education.

One of the most significant consequences of negative feedback is disengagement. When students receive overly critical feedback, are demotivated, or fail to recognize their efforts, they may become disheartened and less inclined to participate in the learning process actively. This disengagement can manifest as losing interest in learning, leading students to become apathetic or indifferent to their academic pursuits.

Moreover, negative feedback can instill feelings of insecurity and inadequacy in students. When feedback focuses solely on their shortcomings or mistakes without acknowledging their strengths and progress, students may develop low self-esteem and doubt their abilities. This sense of insecurity can erode their confidence in their academic capabilities, making them hesitant to take on new challenges or pursue ambitious goals.

Additionally, negative feedback can evoke frustration and disappointment in students. When feedback is perceived as unjust or unfair, or when students feel overwhelmed by constant criticism, they may experience heightened levels of frustration and disillusionment with the learning process. This frustration can lead to a negative cycle where students disengage further, leading to a decline in academic performance and overall well-being.

In the long run, the negative impact of feedback on motivation and engagement can have profound consequences for students' educational trajectories. Often, negative feedback can become a trauma to the point that students don't want to expose themselves to the judgment and the consequent feelings again and refuse even to attempt a task. Moreover, feedback can lead to situations where peers look down or up to their peers because of their feedback, leading to social dynamics that can further exacerbate feelings of inadequacy and insecurity.

As educators, it is imperative that we address the emotional side of feedback carefully. We need to understand properly the feelings these can lead to, trying to avoid the negative and amplify the positive. The emotional aspect of learning and receiving feedback is crucial. By creating a supportive and nurturing environment where students feel valued, respected, and understood, educators can mitigate the negative impact of input and foster a culture of growth, resilience, and empowerment.

To address frustration in education, it's essential to acknowledge and validate individuals' emotions while providing support and guidance to navigate through them.

The feeling of frustration related to feedback can manifest in various ways, such as:

  • Feelings of inadequacy or self-doubt: children may question their abilities or competence, leading to diminished self-confidence.
  • Defensive behavior: Frustration may trigger defensive reactions, such as denial, blame-shifting, or avoidance of feedback altogether.
  • Disengagement and apathy: Continued frustration with feedback may result in disengagement from learning activities or a lack of motivation to improve.
  • Negative impact on mental well-being: Persistent frustration can contribute to stress, anxiety, and feelings of overwhelm, impacting children's overall mental health and well-being.
To address frustration related to feedback, educators and leaders can:
  • Create a supportive feedback environment: Cultivate a culture of psychological safety where individuals feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and emotions without fear of judgment or reprisal.
  • Provide guidance and resources: Offer practical strategies and resources to help individuals overcome feelings of frustration and develop resilience in the face of challenges.
  • Encourage self-reflection and growth mindset: Foster a growth mindset by emphasizing the importance of learning from setbacks and using feedback as an opportunity for growth and improvement.
  • Offer personalized support: Recognize that individuals may have different coping mechanisms and support needs when dealing with frustration. Provide customized support and guidance tailored to individuals' unique circumstances and preferences.

Scouting Effective Feedback Strategies

Both giving and receiving feedback are critical. 

As we just said, emotional feedback can have a profound impact. Positive feedback often elicits feelings of validation, pride, and motivation, reinforcing positive behaviors and boosting confidence. How feedback is delivered and received can significantly influence individuals' emotional responses and subsequent actions. To ensure that feedback leads to constructive outcomes rather than frustration, it's essential to approach the feedback process with empathy, clarity, and a growth mindset.

Here are some strategies for giving feedback in a way that promotes growth and minimizes frustration:

  1. Make feedback time connection time: Always put connection as your first intention, as feedback from a friendly voice, from someone who uses this moment as a moment for connecting, will be well received. 
  2. Be Specific and Objective: Provide specific examples and observations to support your feedback, focusing on behaviors rather than personal attributes. Objectivity helps ensure that feedback is perceived as fair and actionable.
  3. Offer a Balance of Positive and Constructive Feedback: Recognize and celebrate students' strengths and achievements while offering constructive feedback for improvement. Balancing positive and negative feedback helps maintain motivation and resilience. Consider using the "sandwich approach," where constructive criticism is sandwiched between positive reinforcement. 
  4. Focus on Solutions and Growth: Frame feedback as an opportunity for learning and growth rather than as a criticism or judgment. Encourage individuals to reflect on their experiences, identify areas for improvement, and develop action plans for moving forward.
  5. Foster Open Communication and Collaboration: Create a supportive and inclusive feedback culture where individuals feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, concerns, and perspectives. Encourage open dialogue, active listening, and mutual respect in feedback exchanges.
  6. Provide Timely and Consistent Feedback: Offer feedback in a timely manner, ideally soon after the observed behavior or performance. Consistency in feedback delivery helps individuals track their progress and make continuous improvements.

Selecting the Right Approach to Give Feedback

Different ways to give feedback in education encompass various methods and technologies; some include:

  1. Audio and Video Feedback: Educators can provide feedback through audio recordings or video messages instead of traditional written comments. This allows for more personalized and expressive feedback, fostering a deeper connection between teachers and students.
  2. Screencasting: screencasting tools provide feedback on digital assignments, such as essays or presentations. Teachers can offer detailed explanations and suggestions for improvement by recording their screens and narrating their feedback.
  3. Peer Feedback: Peer feedback encourages students to take an active role in the feedback process by providing constructive criticism to their peers. It promotes collaboration, communication, and critical thinking skills while allowing students to learn from each other.
  4. Digital Feedback Tools: Various digital feedback tools, such as interactive quizzes, polls, and surveys, allow educators to provide feedback in innovative ways. These tools provide immediate feedback to students and offer insights into their understanding and progress.
  5. Gamified Feedback Systems: Gamification techniques can make the feedback process more engaging and motivating for students. Educators can encourage students to seek feedback and actively improve their performance by incorporating elements of competition, rewards, and progression.
  6. Feedback Loops: Creating feedback loops allows for ongoing communication and reflection between teachers and students. Educators can establish regular check-ins, goal-setting sessions, or reflection activities to provide continuous feedback and support students' learning journey.
  7. Rubrics and Self-Assessment: Providing students with clear rubrics and opportunities for self-assessment empowers them to take ownership of their learning and evaluate their own progress. This encourages metacognition and helps students identify areas for improvement.

Offering Choice and Autonomy 

We all appreciate being empowered in what and how we do something, given opportunities to make decisions, and taking ownership of our efforts. This is why this works beautifully with students and profoundly impacts their engagement and motivation. 

When students are given the freedom to choose, they become more invested and engaged. Rather than feeling like passive recipients, they become active participants, eager to explore topics that resonate with their interests and passions. This sense of ownership fosters intrinsic motivation, as students feel a sense of control and responsibility over their learning outcomes.

Practically speaking, offering choice and autonomy can take many forms:

  1. Project-Based Learning: allows students to choose their projects or topics of study within a broader framework. For example, in a history class, students could select a specific event or historical figure to research and present to the class.
  2. Flexible Assignments: Provide students with options for completing assignments, such as writing a traditional essay, creating a multimedia presentation, or designing a hands-on project. This allows students to leverage their strengths and interests while demonstrating their understanding of the material.
  3. Personalized Learning Paths: Tailor instruction to meet individual students' needs and learning styles, allowing them to progress at their own pace and explore topics in-depth. This might involve providing different resources, activities, or learning pathways based on students' preferences and readiness levels.
  4. Choice in Assessment: Offer students choices for demonstrating their learning and mastery of content, whether through traditional tests, creative projects, oral presentations, or portfolios. Giving students a say in their assessment can increase their engagement and motivation to excel.

District administrators must provide resources, training, and guidance to support teachers in implementing choice and autonomy strategies . This might involve offering professional development workshops on student-centered pedagogy, providing access to diverse instructional materials and technologies, and fostering a culture of innovation and experimentation in schools.

Guiding Students with Clear Objectives

Setting clear goals and expectations involves delineating specific learning objectives and outlining the standards and criteria by which students will be evaluated. It provides students with a roadmap, instilling a sense of purpose and direction in their academic journey.

When students understand what is expected of them and have a clear vision of their work, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated. Clear goals and expectations provide a framework for learning, enabling students to focus their efforts and monitor their progress effectively.

Practical Examples:

  1. Explicit Learning Objectives: Begin each lesson by clearly stating the learning objectives. For example, in a science class, the aim might be to understand the process of photosynthesis. This clarity helps students understand the lesson's purpose and what they are expected to learn.
  2. Rubrics and Criteria: Provide students with rubrics or criteria for assessment that outline the specific expectations for assignments, projects, or assessments. For instance, a writing assignment rubric might include criteria for organization, clarity, and use of evidence. This empowers students to understand how their work will be evaluated and what areas they need to focus on.
  3. Student-Driven Goal Setting: Encourage students to set their own learning goals based on their interests, strengths, and areas for growth. This could involve creating personalized learning plans or setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals. By involving students in goal-setting, they develop a sense of ownership over their learning and are more motivated to achieve their objectives.
  4. Consistent Feedback: Provide ongoing feedback to students that aligns with the established goals and expectations.

4 ways to boost student engagement

Read article


Fostering a lifelong love for learning is a guiding principle for personal and professional growth. Reflecting on our educational journey, we've seen the importance of relationships, enthusiasm, and understanding our students' needs.

Like chefs tailor a meal to satisfy their guests, educators must personalize learning experiences to resonate with each student's unique interests and preferences. Moreover, infusing teaching with enthusiasm creates an environment where curiosity flourishes and learning becomes exciting. When enthusiasm flows from the top down, it fosters a culture where both educators and students are inspired to engage actively in the learning process.

Recognizing that engagement in education is the cornerstone of success is paramount. Motivation today paves the way for motivation tomorrow, building endless possibilities for the future. Therefore, questioning our educational system on expanding engagement and motivation must become our daily quest for continuous growth and improvement.

Lack of motivation hinders progress and burdens us with a weight we cannot afford to carry. Thus, it's imperative to prioritize strategies that foster engagement and ignite motivation in learners. Doing so ensures that every individual has the tools and mindset necessary to thrive. Through ongoing research, collaboration, and innovation, we can uncover the best solutions to enhance engagement and motivation for all learners, moreover connection and genuine care. 


- Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Basic Books.

- Chahrozian, G. 2023. It’s Not What You Teach, It’s What Kind of Teacher You Are, TEDxAUA. 

- Freitag, M. 2023. How to make students (and teachers) want to go to school, TEDxYorkBeach.


Back to the Satchel Pulse homepage


Author: Paola Mileo

Posted: 26 Apr 2024

Estimated time to read: 36 mins

Learn more about Satchel Pulse in your district