Singly or together, these insights from youth give us a powerful look at what goes into motivation and mastery. If any of these ideas speak to you, please share them freely with others! Click here for ideas on how to use them as professional development for educators.
Preparing for College
Kids talk about what it takes to get them “college ready.”
Students Reflecting & Self-Assessing
Reflection and self-assessment play a big part in any student’s growth as a thinker and a person. Here, students talk about developing a new awareness of themselves in relationship to others, in school and life.
Why Do Kids Care?
Kids usually care more about learning when they have some kind of stake in what they’re doing. Where does that stake come from?
Kids Talk About Project-Based Learning
Hands-on projects get students interested in a way that regular schoolwork may not. Attacking a real-world problem, exploring an issue of personal interest, or just trying something that involves a little action — all these add value and increase motivation, kids tell me.
When Kids Struggle
Boredom, distraction, feeling invisible, staying on top of the work—students told me that these are among the struggles they face daily, even when they value their education.
How We See You, How You See Us
How do kids see their teachers, and how do they imagine their teachers see them? Who you are and what you do matters to students and their learning. That’s backed up by research, but nothing beats hearing it from the kids.
Just-Right Learning Challenges
Challenge is a key factor in motivation, it turns out. Too easy is just boring, students say—but too hard, and they won’t have the confidence to try. Part of that confidence, one student said, comes from his mindset going in. Success builds on success—and a teacher can help.
Growing Through Mistakes
Mistakes are hard on adolescents, who are especially sensitive to the judgments of others. But taking a risk on something turning out wrong can be the smartest thing they ever do.
Putting Kids in the Learning Picture
Fun might seem like the wrong way to measure whether learning is happening. But the science makes clear that (along with other emotions, and not always happy ones) it can actually help material stick in our minds.
Kids Talk About Collaboration
Collaboration often clarifies and spurs students’ thinking. But it takes coaching and practice to do it well.