Mind and Motivation in the Student-Centered Classroom, Grades K-12

What is the relationship between motivation and learning? Motivation activates and sustains goal-oriented behavior and accounts for up to 50% of performance (Mayer, 2011; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 2018). Students who are motivated are more likely to be engaged in learning, persist to completion, attend school regularly, and achieve desired academic outcomes (Calderon & Yu, 2017; Pintrich, 2003).

Our motivation as educators impacts classroom practices as well. Our biases, assumptions, beliefs, and values influence everything about our teaching, from the degree to which we design welcoming and affirming environments to the materials we select to use for our lessons to the relationships we develop with students and their families. As educators, we know the importance of applying culturally responsive-sustaining practices and dispositions in the classroom. This course will allow you to assess and critically reflect on your motivation to incorporate these dispositions and practices to achieve equity in your classroom for students from historically underserved and marginalized groups.

This course will help you reconceptualize motivation to include racially influenced and sociocultural perspectives. You will evaluate motivation using three indicators of motivated behavior: active choice, persistence, and mental effort, to identify the motivational assets and needs individual students to bring to the classroom. The course leverages evidence-based practices from various motivational theories, including:

  • developing mastery-oriented goals,
  • creating a sense of belonging in your classroom for students from historically underserved and marginalized groups,
  • incorporating self-regulation and metacognition to interrupt deficit belief systems,
  • building self-efficacy,
  • capitalizing on student interest,
  • building social and emotional connections, and
  • increasing productive attributions to support a growth mindset.

What do your students want? What motivates them in the classroom? What role do context and culture play in motivation and achievement? Join our learning community to find out the answers to these questions and more in Mind and Motivation in the Culturally Responsive Classroom.

This course is divided into the following modules:

Module Topics:

  1. Introduction to Mind and Motivation in the Student-Centered Classroom
  2. Directing Attention and Effort: Goals and Goal Orientations
  3. Self-Determined Learners
  4. Bias and Belonging
  5. Course Wrap Up





Demonstrating Knowledge of Students


Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport


Establishing a Culture for Learning