Motivation, Engagement, and Student Voice

Eric Toshalis and Michael J. Nakkula

Teachers are constantly attempting to persuade students to participate in meaningful class activities and motivate students to achieve. When teachers are successful, classrooms come alive with exploration, discovering and learning. When they fall short, young people tune out, disengage, and, ultimately, fail.

The authors of this report synthesize research on achievement motivation, school engagement, and student voice to conclude that the more educators use student-centered approaches to reinforce student agency, the more motivation and engagement are likely to rise.

The movement to raise standards may fail if teachers are not supported to understand the connections among motivation, engagement, and student voice.