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One Simple Way to Increase Student Motivation

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Motivating students is probably one of the hardest things we do as teachers. Delivering content is meaningless without a student motivated to learn and apply it. During our workshops this is one of the most common topics that come up. While this is usually in the context of Mastery Learning the general advice I give us universally applicable to any instructional model.

While there are a lot of tips and tricks to motivating students, most of them come down to one simple philosophy: INCREASE STUDENT OWNERSHIP 


I know this seems overly simplified, but there is a fundamental truth that students care about what they perceive as having control and ownership over. If you are just trying to deliver instruction to a student, you have to convince them of why it's important. If they own the process of learning and engage in that process, their motivation to do well is inherent.

If you really think about it, much of the educational system that students reside in is just "provided" or "delivered" to them. They are passive participants and either go along with it or fight it hand and tooth. When we shift the conversation and let students take ownership of choices, pace, how they learn, and the way they show mastery, they become much more motivated to do well.

In my discussions with teachers, I've even had some say that students who never worked before, have started working harder than ever because they "weren't being 'told' to do it."

So the next time you have a student that seems unmotivated or disengaged from learning, think about how much of a stake, or ownership, they have in what they are doing. When you change that conversation and relationship between the student and their learning, motivation will always increase. More importantly student success and achievement will follow.


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After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree In Biology, Chad Ostrowski or “Mr. O” as his students fondly call him, set his sights on education. He was chosen as one of only 50 individuals in the state of Ohio to be granted the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship through the Ohio STEM Learning Network.  Through this fellowship, he received his Master’s in Science Education and gained intensive training and expertise in STEM education, Problem Based Learning, Inquiry-based instruction as well as other cutting-edge educational research and modern pedagogical theory. 

Ostrowski has since presented research at the NSTA National Conference onProblem-Based Learning in the Gifted Classroom and Continues to develop and research modern innovative educational practices. Chad has been teaching  Middle School Science in a high needs urban district for 4 years. In that short time, due to his dedication to teaching, innovative teaching methods and educational leadership he has been named Science Department Chair within his building, Building Leadership Team member and District Co-chair of Middle School Science Curriculum. 

It is through these foundations that he has created and developed  the The Grid Method - Mastery Learning System in order to synthesize his knowledge of best practices in education into a system that allows ALL of his students to meet and exceed  their potential. 

Chad has now left the classroom to shre his innovative practices, techniques and strategies with educators all over the country. He does this through speaking at conferences, providng teacher development and workshops, as well as producing blogs, and videos.

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Guest Thursday, 23 May 2019