Motivation Professional Development Module

Motivation Professional Development Module

This professional development module was created as part of a partnership between Students at the Center, a Jobs for the Future initiative, and the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents. Six Connecticut high school teachers worked closely with researcher and lead author of “Prioritizing Motivation and Engagement” in Anytime, Anywhere: Student-Centered Learning for Schools and Teachers, Dr. Eric Toshalis, and Jobs for the Future staff to engage in a learner-centered development process resulting in a PD curriculum designed to be delivered in a learner-centered manner. The completed PD series consists of four modules of 3-4 lesson hours each, totaling around two full days of PD.

Jobs for the Future is currently working to test the Motivation, Engagement, and Student Voice Professional Development Series with educators across the country. We will continue to iterate the modules throughout this process. We welcome all comments and feedback as you explore and implement the lessons in this series.

In the Motivation module, participants will explore how teacher behaviors can affect student motivation. The module includes an exploration of the malleability of student motivation, explores teacher best practices for motivating students, and compares reward/punishment or praise motivation to intrinsic motivation.


Lesson 1

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this unit, participants will be able to

  • Examine motivation from an adolescent's point of view
  • Identify changes in classroom practices that can lead to greater student motivation

Essential Questions

  • What is motivation?
  • What needs must youth have met in order to engage them?

Total time

1 hour

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Lesson 2

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this unit, participants will be able to

  • Understand the difference between growth mindset language and fixed mindset language
  • Shift their teaching language/comments to foster a growth mindset in students

Essential Questions

  • How does the language that instructors use in the classroom affect students' mindset?
  • How do instructors encourage persistence, effort, and hard work?

Total time

1 hour

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Lesson 3

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this unit, participants will be able to

  • Understand the importance of motivating students without prasing
  • Use new ways to praise students beyond saying, "Good job"

Essential Questions

  • What are the most effective forms of praise in the classroom?

Total time

70 minutes

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Lesson 4

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this unit, participants will be able to

  • Explain the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
  • Use techniques and strategies to develop intrinsic motivation in students

Essential Questions

  • What motivates students?
  • What are the long-term effects of rewards and/or punishments?
  • What techniques in the classroom foster the development of intrinsic motivation?

Total time

80 minutes

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The full professional development series also includes:

Engagement Module
In this module, participants will explore definitions and personal experiences with student engagement, review and apply research-supported strategies to increase engagement, learn to identify and evaluate engagement, and make adjustments to lesson plans and classroom practice to increase student engagement.

Self-regulation Module
In this module, participants will learn to identify and support students who struggle with self-regulation. Participants will leave these sessions with a teacher-generated document to bring back to the classroom and use with their students in support of self-regulation.

Student Voice Module
In this module, participants will assess how much student voice is cultivated in their school or district, identify ways to support and encourage student voice within the class and school, and define potential barriers to student voice.



Author: 
Dave Tristine and Ken Parcella, with Tobie Baker-Wright and Eric Toshalis