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

Course Description

This course on brain-based strategies for motivating students will provide educators with the knowledge and skills necessary to improve students’ choice, persistence, mental effort, and self-efficacy.

The course will cover key strategies for using goal setting to motivate students and direct their attention and effort. Educators will explore techniques for developing self-determination in students through choice and autonomy.

In addition, the course will examine the role of the teacher in fostering a sense of belonging, including the importance of using culturally responsive instruction to influence students’ motivation and engagement in learning.

Throughout the course, educators reflect on their teaching practices and develop a plan for incorporating evidenced-based motivational techniques in their classrooms. The goal of the course is to empower educators to become confident and competent teachers who create motivating, engaging contexts for learning.

Essential Questions

  • What is the relationship between learning and motivation?
  • How do we measure motivation?
  • What values and expectations do goals communicate?
  • How do autonomy, competence, and relatedness enable self-determination?
  • How does belonging influence motivation and academic performance?
Course Agenda

    1. Course Introduction
    2. Introduction to Mind and Motivation in the Student-Centered Classroom
    3. Directing Attention and Effort: Goals and Goal Orientations
    4. Self-Determined Learners: Leveraging Intrinsic Motivation, Extrinsic Motivation, and Interest
    5. Bias and Belonging: An Inverse Relationship
    6. Course Wrap Up
Course Syllabus


Comments from Teachers

“I learned about belonging, intersectionality, interpersonal opportunity structures, and how to distinguish between explicit and implicit motivation strategies.”

“I loved the idea of identifying what kind of motivation each of my students have and how I can use that to my advantage in future sessions.”

Danielson Teacher Framework Course Alignment


Demonstrating Knowledge of Students


Establishing a Culture for Learning


Engaging Students in Learning