Motivated and Committed Learners

Students value education and are eager, committed learners who love learning as a source of personal enjoyment, believe that learning and education will enrich and improve their lives, and are motivated to do well in school.

Key Beliefs:
  • I love learning because it’s fun and exciting and helps me grow as a person.
  • The more education I get, the more opportunities I will have to make a good living and have a good personal life.
  • Graduating from high school and seeking higher education opportunities will improve my life and make people who care about me proud.
  • High school graduates usually make lots more money than non-graduates and college graduates usually make lots more money than high school graduates
  • I am smart enough to learn what I need to know and do to be successful.
  • Learning to understand and do new things often takes diligent hard work.
  • My learning is my responsibility.
  • I gain the most when I learn and lose the most when I don’t.
  • The more I put into my education, the more I will get out of it.
  • I will do better in school and enjoy it more if I actively participate in events and create connections between me and my teachers and classmates.
  • List all the things you know or can do now that you didn’t know or couldn’t do last year.
  • Make connections between the skills you are developing now and opportunities for success in the future.
  • List things you can do now that they were not very good at when you started (tying a bow, swimming, riding a bike, parallel parking, researching on the internet). What would have happened if you quit after the first, the third, or even the fifth failure?
  • Identify all the things you can now do because you stuck with it and inspired your confidence that no matter how complicated or difficult a new assignment is, you can handle it if you applied yourself.
  • Explain and illustrate what self-motivation and self-reliance look like with stories, exercises, and activities.
  • Tell a story showing how failing to learn only hurts the student (e.g., a girl who didn’t learn to swim because she didn’t like her swimming teacher or her swimming teacher didn’t like her); what good does blaming her teacher do when she falls overboard in a lake?).

Quotations are great for discussion or writing prompts.

  • “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe
  • “Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.” – John Maxwell
  • “Good things come to people who wait, but better things come to those who go out and get them.” – Unknown
  • “Strive for progress, not perfection.” – Unknown
  • “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier
  • “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” – H. Jackson Brown
  • “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar
  • “The expert in everything was once a beginner.” – Helen Hayes
  • “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” – Beverly Sills
  • “Push yourself because no one else is going to do it for you.” – Unknown
  • “Some people dream of accomplishing great things. Others stay awake and make it happen.” – Unknown
  • “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” – Jimmy Johnson
  • “You don’t always get what you wish for; you get what you work for.” – Unknown
  • “If we can’t first connect with our students’ hearts, then we don’t have a chance of connecting with their minds.” – Justin Tarte
  • “Our kids do not want to be taught; they want to be moved… focus a little less on figuring out how you will teach them, and a little more on how you will inspire them.” – Paul Bogush
  • “Students will only care about learning if they believe that their teachers care about them.” – Nicholas A. Ferroni
  • “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai
  • “What we learn with pleasure we never forget.” – Alfred Mercier
Helpful Article:

Igniting Student Engagement: A Roadmap for Learning by John McCarthy
The opening months of school are a time of optimism and new beginnings. Each school year’s start rejuvenates educators and students. Yet these feelings can quickly turn sour if we do not encourage students to find meaning in what we ask them to do. There are ways to engage learners in lessons and units. Here are three practices that, when incorporated by teachers, offer entry points for students to invest in their learning.

Communicating authentic purpose to students is critical if we want their attention. Beyond the school walls, there is much that captures peoples’ notice — games, social media, entertainment, events, and friends. All of these often out-match the potential value of the school curriculum. Keeping learning real requires three easy steps:

  1. Connect skills and concepts to students’ interests. – Curriculum is often taught as non-concrete concepts that are steeped in academic abstractions (just like this sentence). Learning happens when we connect concepts with practical applications, such as the effects of centripetal force from a tight turn on a skateboard, bike, or car. Understanding also happens through reflection on and revision of creative writing or prototypes that demonstrate the targeted skills and concepts.
  2. Engage students in professional dialogue with experts in the field. – Parents, friends, and colleagues either have the expertise or know “the right people” who can talk with (not to) your students. Professional dialogue is an authentic practice that provides context for subject-based skills. Often, a guest will say something that the teacher has already said many times, yet now the students embrace the idea because it came from that outside person. Professional dialogue is not the guest talking at the learners. Instead, the conversation is a give-and-take. Students recognize when they are included as contributors.
  3. Challenge students to solve a problem, design for a need, or explore their own questions. – Give students real-world challenges to solve. The experiences may be a single activity, a collection of lessons, or an entire unit. Discovery in science, math, games and other areas happens through trial and error. Opportunities to apply concepts in practical ways are important to learning. Reflecting on successes and mistakes is where growth occurs, sparking new ideas and innovations. The process takes time in the short term, but if sustained learning is key, then the long journey to the destination outcomes is worth the effort. Otherwise, students see the work as a checklist to be completed and forgotten.

If You Engage Learners, They Will Take Over
Each new school year is a crossroads of many travel options. Students drive their learning when we share the maps, empowering them to chart their way to the various unit destinations. Provide them a clear view of a purposeful outcome that has meaning to them, and they will want the wheel. They will invest the time and practice needed to become confident drivers. When they want to control, our best option is to give them the keys. There’s always the extra set of brakes available to us — but we should tap them only when needed.

  • Motivation: Do you sometimes struggle with a lack of motivation? You’re supposed to be studying, but instead, you end up texting your friends, watching YouTube videos, or playing games. After procrastinating for an hour or more, you finally get to work. But you just don’t feel that motivated. Sound familiar? This video clip provides strategies for developing long-term motivation for a student.
  • We Day Celebration: Students share about the We Day celebration that left them feeling excited about their efforts and motivated to continue the hard work they had started,
  • She’s a superstar who got her big break at 13 years old. Grace VanderWaal believes your goal should be to find something that’ll make you happy. She’s taking the world by storm through her music and by sharing a simple message, “You Be You.” Grace hopes her experience will inspire her fans to be the best version of themselves.
Motivated and Committed Learners – Educational Outcomes: