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Motivating and Engaging Middle and High School Students (6-12)

Do you struggle to get through to your students? No matter what you do and no matter how many different strategies you try, some students remain aloof and disinterested in the learning process. The fact of the matter is that both engagement and motivation are precursors to student success, but for a variety of different reasons, both tend to drop as students get older. This online course is designed for teachers in grades 6-12 who want to light that internal fire and re-ignite interest so that their students are intrinsically motivated to learn and engage. Teachers will learn about the basic framework of motivation as well as the science behind student motivation and engagement. Some of the highlighted topics include motivating students through differentiation, goal setting, and learner-centered classroom practices, all under the auspices of a rigorous classroom. This course is worth 3 ⅓ semester units/5 quarter units from UC San Diego Extension. For detailed information on university credit, click here.

"I found the resources extremely valuable to keep my students actively engaged. The course text is also a great resource to have on-hand for future reference." - Muriel Allen-Fields


Enrollment Options

Register] Course Registration Only $120 with the discount

Register]Course Plus Credit from UC San Diego Extension Only $304


Required Resource Book: This course has a modestly-priced required resource book (available in both new and used versions) that can be purchased through Amazon using the following link. Note that you can begin and participate in your course before the book arrives.

Empower Your Students: Tools to Inspire a Meaningful School Experience” by Lauren Porosoff and Jonathan Weinstein

If you are registering for multiple courses, use the following link to access the book list for all PDI courses with direct purchase links through Amazon. PDI Course Resource Book List


Topical Outline / Click here to request a copy of the detailed syllabus

PDI Course Number: 107T02

UCSD Course Number: EDUC40177

Unit One

  • The Mindset of Motivation
  • The Basic Framework of Motivation
  • Why Student Motivation and Engagement Matter
  • Assignment #1: Write an autobiography
  • Test #1

Unit Two

  • The Science of Motivation
  • Building a Unique Motivation Profile
  • The Importance of Social Status at School
  • Assignment #2: Article reflection
  • Test #2

Unit Three

  • Rigor: It's NOT a Four-Letter Word
  • Creating a Learner-Centered Classroom
  • Motivating and Engaging Students through Differentiation
  • Assignment #3: Share your expertise
  • Test #3

Unit Four

  • The Purpose and Power of Voice and Choice
  • Helping Students Make Good Choices
  • Goal Setting
  • Test #4

Unit Five

  • Strategies that Promote Active Learning
  • Making Learning Meaningful
  • The Importance of Social-Emotional Skills
  • Test #5

Unit Six

  • The Importance of Classroom Management
  • Moving from Engagement to Empowerment
  • Engaging Students with Limited Resources
  • Assignment #4: Respond to classroom scenarios
  • Assignment #5: Reading/Learning Log (Based on required resource book)