Supporting Motivation

We know you’re eager to learn more about motivation and to start prototyping and testing practices at your school. To help you begin, we’ve put together several evidence-based, researcher-designed activities to support student motivation that can be adapted and customized for your campus. 

As with any practice, these activities are meant to serve as a starting point. We encourage you to think carefully about what will work in your context and what may need to be altered.

Request to retest

Targeted learning mindset: Growth Mindset

A form for students to request to retake a test or revise submitted coursework. In this activity, students reflect on their performance on a test or assignment, articulate the strategies they used to originally learn the material, and propose a plan for relearning the material. Importantly, the form requires students to show evidence of learning the material in a way that is appropriate for the subject matter, such as creating note cards or watching supplementary videos. This activity encourages students to take ownership of mastering content taught in class and promotes the use of more effective learning strategies.


Build connections

Targeted learning mindset: Purpose and Value

An activity for students to make connections between what they are learning in school and their interests outside of the classroom. In this activity, students generate a list of personal interests and topics they have learned, then identify potential connections between their interests and course topics. By prompting students to reflect on the relation between coursework and personal interests, this activity highlights the relevance of school for students.


Group roles and responsibilities

Targeted learning mindset: Social Belonging

A protocol for faculty to promote effective group collaboration. In this protocol, instructors learn how to assign students key roles and responsibilities for group work in a way that provides the opportunity for each student to contribute to the group and to build conceptual understanding interdependently. By assigning roles and associated responsibilities purposefully, instructors can set norms around how to engage in productive discourse.

Everyday growth mindset phrases

Targeted learning mindset: Growth Mindset

Guidelines for creating well-crafted everyday growth mindset phrases that promote a growth mindset. By using well-crafted growth mindset phrases on a regular basis a teacher can help to instill a growth mindset within students. These framing comments should emphasize: learning takes sustained effort, using effective learning strategies and switching strategies when needed, and seeking help when needed.





Value writing intervention

Targeted learning mindset: Purpose and Value

A writing exercise for students to identify the usefulness of course work for achieving personally-held goals and aspirations. In this activity, students identify how course material connects to their lives and future goals. By completing this activity one or more times during the semester, students learn to make connections between school and their future.


wise framing for feedback

Targeted learning mindsets: Growth Mindset, Social Belonging

A framework for instructors to provide feedback on student work. In this activity, instructors (or anyone who works directly with students) learn best practices around how to construct motivationally-supportive written or verbal feedback on student work. Framing comments using wise feedback communicates not only that the instructor has a high standard for student work, but also that the instructor believes all students are capable of succeeding.





electronic communication with students

Targeted learning mindset: Social Belonging

A method for instructors to reach out to students in three different scenarios: 1) when students are absent from class, 2) in response to student emails, and 3) class-wide electronic communications. The protocol involves working in advance to develop supportive messages to send to students, and then identifying ways to adapt the messages according to timing and individual student circumstances. By infusing electronic communication with supportive language, instructors can create a stronger connection with students inside and outside of the classroom.



Questions about implementing mindset supportive practices on your campus?

Contact the researchers:

Chris Hulleman

Stephanie Wormington

Yoi Tibbetts