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Teaching is a hard and sometimes lonely profession. With the pressure of district initiatives, high-stakes testing, changing curriculum standards, and parental apathy, the profession loses many quality teachers year after year. While educators cannot control what happens at the district, state, or national level, they have a strong influence over their classrooms. The key to invigorating instructors and reawakening a passion for teaching is not a program, system, or bag of tricks. Instead, the answer lies in student engagement.

Engaged students are learning students. When students fully involve themselves in the lesson, classroom behavior and achievement improves. Students that are active learners, rather than passively compliant, think more critically and use more conceptual thinking strategies. When quality instruction meets motivated students, great things happen. Put simply, increasing student engagement can restore the joy of teaching.

Engagement is more than fun activities and tech-driven solutions, however. Instead, it begins with discovering what motivates students.  Over 30 years of educational research shows that students are driven by five facets of motivation: competence, relationships, autonomy, value, and emotions. When teachers design instruction that incorporates these areas, engagement and active learning soar.

Using a 30-day guidebook approach, this book explores what makes students tick through stories, anecdotes, and practical suggestions. By the end of the journey, teachers will feel confident about their ability to assess and address the motivational needs of their students. They’ll walk away with many easy-to-use ideas that will transform their teaching and jack up the level student engagement in their classrooms.

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