SMC - Summer 2018

from apathy to engagement, for us and our students

What would it be like if, every time you asked your students to do something, they

A) all did it, and

B) did it with care, engagement, and effort?

How much more energy, peace, and fulfillment would you have? What greater things would your classroom amount to?

Whether I'm talking to a colleague in my hallway or a group of teachers in a PD workshop across the USA, there's one problem we educators tend to have in common. This problem transcends grade level, socioeconomic status, school type, and subject area. It's simply this:

How do we help all of our students care enough to do the work and do it as best they can?

I've spent the past five years of my teaching career reading, experimenting, and interviewing experts about what lies at the heart of student motivation. In the Student Motivation Course, I've put together what I hope to be a definitive answer to this problem, condensed into over 35 bite-sized videos of 10 minutes or less. I get the busy schedule thing -- as a classroom teacher, I have one.

This course is built on the evidence-informed premise that, in order for our students to flourish long-term, they need to be motivated from the inside-out. Toward that goal, the Student Motivation Course explores the five key beliefs underlying student motivation:

  1. Credibility: I have a good teacher.
  2. Belonging: People like me belong in classes like this.
  3. Effort: I can improve my knowledge and skills through effort.
  4. Efficacy: I can succeed at the challenges this class presents.
  5. Value: This work matters to me.

The ideas taught inside the Student Motivation Course form the foundational chapter of my book from Corwin Literacy, These 6 Things: How to Focus Your Teaching on What Matters Most. And, oh yeah, I almost forgot -- you get a signed copy of that book with your registration for the course, free of charge. The cost is already built in.

"At a recent inservice, we visited with our small staff and I expressed how in the recent weeks, thinking about these five key beliefs has changed my attitude toward students and alleviated some of my ire. Unlike most inservices, these beliefs touched all teachers. Even the Pre-K teachers and coaches, who often feel as if inservices are not applicable to them, said that it made a difference and was greatly needed. "

- April Boatright, English/History teacher, Oklahoma

"This is career trajectory-altering PD."

- Sean Daigle, high school math teacher, Palm Springs, CA

"The well-paced course offers research-informed strategies, tools, and interventions that can be applied in the classroom immediately."

- Tom Windelinckx, high school teacher, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

How the course works

  • WATCH: At the start of each week (starting June 11, 2018), I release a batch of 5 video lessons for the week. Each video is 2-10 minutes in length. Because summer schedules tend to be flexible, I recommend that you complete each week's videos on a schedule that works for you. (Also, you have access to the videos for life, so if you can't keep up with that weekly schedule, it's all good -- get caught up on the weekends, double up on weeks based on your vacation schedule, or do them all in the first week of August. In total, you watch at least 35 short videos of me delivering targeted, actionable content related to student motivation -- 5 videos per week -- and then however many of the bonus video lessons you would like.
  • ANSWER: Each video lesson includes a Reflective Application prompt to guide your thinking, process the lesson's content, and make tweaks to your daily work. I recommend answering these in the comments section of each lesson, but you can also respond to the questions in a personal journal or, should you choose to enroll in the course with a friend or a group, during periodic in-person meetings of your own design.
  • CONNECT: Like I said, every video lesson includes a digital comments section, and in the course's first cohort, this became the most valuable component of the course. If only you could see how smart and earnest and resourceful the colleagues are who read my blog -- I get smart, earnest emails from readers every day, and what I love about the Student Motivation Course is that so many of them are in there, engaging with the art and science of student motivation over the course of several weeks. That collegial power inspires me every day.

As a bonus for this Summer 2018 offering of the Student Motivation Course, I'm also going to hold 7 weekly, live Q&As where I'll answer questions from course participants that have been submitted throughout the week. These live sessions will be recorded and stored in the course for you to access, whenever you'd like, for life -- just like all of the video lessons. (Assuming that our lives don't intersect with some kind of Internet apocalypse, that is.)

Your Instructor

Dave Stuart Jr.
Dave Stuart Jr.

It's probably not a bad time to tell you a bit about me. Hi there, I'm Dave Stuart Jr., the creator of the Student Motivation Course. I’m a husband and dad who teaches high schoolers in a small town. I am animated by a simple belief: all students and teachers should flourish. I write about teaching at, and I've spoken to over 10,000 teachers about my work through keynotes and workshops at conferences and school-based events around the USA. Each month, over 35,000 people read my articles, and my bestselling book, These 6 Things, is read by teachers around the world.

Here's an early video lesson inside the Course

I release your video lessons in a batch at the start of each week, giving you the chance to schedule when you'd like to complete them

This course is not open for enrollment.

Class Curriculum

Who's the course for?

Since starting the Student Motivation Course, I've received great questions like these: Who's the course for? Is this going to be relevant to elementary educators? How about principals, or teacher education professors?

Here's my answer: like all learning, the course is going to yield its greatest rewards to those who put the most in. It's likely, then, that since you're taking the time to read this, it could very yield key takeaways for you.

Listen: I've never been a principal, and I've only taught grades 6-12, so in the course I won't inauthentically share stories about how I know from experience that this applies to ed leadership or teacher preparation or teaching third grade. But:

  • I've taught in a range of classroom settings. I've been in an urban, under-resourced school teaching classes exclusively for "accelerated" (i.e., not doing well enough on state tests) learners, and I'm currently in a rural, majority free/reduced lunch high school. Each year I teach "GT" kids, "at-risk" kids, kids with anxiety disorders, kids terrified of failure, kids who coast, kids with tough home lives... you get the idea. Specifically, my time this year is split between teaching history in an "at-risk" ninth grade academy and teaching AP World History exclusively to about 30% of our entire ninth grade class. (In other words, it's not a selective AP program.) This range of experience deeply informs my work.
  • I've led PD in a broad range of schools and to a broad range of educators -- PK to college, tiny towns in rural CA to charter school systems in major urban centers. When required, I've found ways to make literacy PD applicable to people who teach mathematics or orchestra or chemistry or career tech. My approach to PD on any topic is rooted in these prior PD experiences.
  • I've chosen this topic -- student motivation via the five key beliefs -- because, of all the things I write about, this is the most widely relevant. The key beliefs help me better understand and improve not just my students' motivation, but also my own, my colleagues', and my own kids'. The more I study the research underlying the beliefs, the more I see applications anywhere that humans are present.
  • And finally, I'm the type of professional learner who actually prefers learning from people who don't do the same job as me. The most formative book of my undergraduate years was There Are No Shortcuts by Rafe Esquith, a 5th grade teacher in LA. The book that led me to pop-up debates was Clueless in Academe, a book written about higher learning by Gerald Graff, a former president of the Modern Language Association. The book that got my kids talking in class every day was Engaging Mathematics Students in Using Cooperative Learning, by John Strebe, a math teacher.

In short, if you want this course to be for you, if the five beliefs I've been talking about resonate, then I think the course is going to equip you, encourage you, and give you the tools you need to do work you're proud of without driving yourself insane. If it doesn't, you only need to take advantage of the 30-day, full-money-back guarantee for the course. If you put in a month and find that it's not at all relevant to what you do, shoot me an email ( -- easy as that.

"I recently read an article in which the author wrote about "quake books" as a text that presents a person with breakthrough knowledge that changes his/her life forever. This course was a "quake course" for me. Before taking the course I had started learning about the 5 beliefs from your blog posts, but taking the course has helped me with the process of internalizing the beliefs - getting them to start moving from my head to my heart."

- Jamaica Reed, secondary teacher, Iowa

"Thanks for presenting your work in bitesize, applicable pieces that I can explore on my own time. You help make improving my teaching feel more possible. "

- Katie Fritz, high school English teacher, Minnesota

This course is not open for enrollment.

Why invest in this course?

The average registration for a teaching conference costs around $200, and then you typically need to arrange and/or pay for travel, and release time, and substitute teachers, and so on. Once the conference is over, you're often encouraged, but you leave with only your notes and (if you're like me) a strong dose of cognitive overwhelm.

The Student Motivation Course, on the other hand, offers a competitive value:

  • Once you register, you have everything you need. No added costs, no subs, no travel. In fact, the price of registration includes a really cool book called These 6 Things: How to Focus Your Teaching on What Matters Most. (It's by this guy Dave Stuart Jr., who I hear is pretty great.) As soon as Corwin releases the book this July, I'll be mailing a free, signed copy to everyone who registers for this Summer 2018 session of the course. The book isn't just about motivation, either -- that's only the second chapter. These 6 Things, then, is a significant add-on, giving you a clear sense of how I treat motivation in light big value educational goals like knowledge-building, critical thinking, literacy and mastery.
  • Due to its all-online, drip-delivered format, this class is sustained, embedded PD at its best. While I do believe one-and-done PD formats can be transformational for teachers -- after all, I deliver keynotes and all-day literacy workshops around the USA, and I wouldn't do that if I felt it was a waste of a schools' time or resources -- this online format increases the odds that you'll gain deep, lasting understandings about student motivation, and that you'll be able to apply these understandings to your work over the long-term.
  • The course material is designed to apply to all types of learners. Title 1 students? Yes. Gifted and Talented youngsters? Yes. "At-risk" kids? Yes. Advanced Placement students? Yes. Students disadvantaged by the achievement gap? Yes. If your school has initiatives targeting a certain student demographic or group, the course material can inform those efforts. As you will come to see, the five key beliefs are operative in just about any situation involving the need to get human beings to engage, and the research is clear that these beliefs are malleable.
  • It's made for people with busy schedules. Lesson videos are 2-8 minutes in length, followed by 5-10 minute reflection application exercises.

Limited Spots Available

This Summer 2018 offering of the course is only open to the first 350 registrants. Enroll now and, as a Summer 2018 participant, you will receive:

  • 35+ high quality, schedule-friendly video lessons, broken up into 6 focused modules.
  • Unlimited access to the course. View it wherever and whenever you'd like.
  • A free, signed copy of my book, These 6 Things, when it releases in late July 2018.
  • Live, recorded Q&As with Dave during the first seven weeks of the course.
  • 100% money-back guarantee. If you use and you don't love it, I'll refund you. It's as easy as that.

This course is not open for enrollment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many professional development hours does this course count for?
I'm calculating that the total amount of professional learning time you'll put into the course at 10 hours. This includes the length of the daily videos (~4 hrs in total), the reflective application questions (~4 hrs), and classroom application work (~2 hrs). I email you a certificate upon completion of the course.
When does the course start?
The journey begins on June 4, but you can start whenever you're ready after that. I'll be done adding new content by July 20, but for this Summer 2018 offering course of the course I'll be leaving the discussions boards and course lessons up indefinitely.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
Gasp! I would never want that. If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact me in the first 30 days and I will give you a full refund.
How much content is there?
There are three kinds of content: the videos, the reflective application prompts, and what I expect will be content-rich comments on each lesson. Each week for 7 weeks, I release five videos. Some are as short as 2 minutes, and none are longer than 10. Every week, I'll also hold a live Q&A based on questions from course participants, and those recordings of those Q&A sessions will be posted in the course as well.
Do you accept purchase orders?
I do, and it's as easy as 1-2-3. 1) Email me at, and I'll send you my W-9. (Districts often need this vendor information before they can process a PO.) 2) Email me again at, this time with the PO. As soon as I receive this, I count you as registered. 3) I'll email back an invoice with the PO number included, and that invoice will contain however many unique registration codes you purchased.
Will my state department of education recognize this as official PD toward my certification?
From what I can tell, every state's red tape for this process is unique like a snowflake. I know that in my state of Michigan, I would need to form a partnership with a local university in order to get it to count, while in the state of New York, there's a $500 application I need to complete. At this time, I've done none of that -- all of my energy has been focused on making this course as good as it can be. Check with your state's Department of Education to see what they can do.
Are you an accredited PD provider?
I'm not -- I'm just a classroom teacher who also researches and writes for teachers. I do have PD experience -- in the past five years, I've given over 100 different PD sessions in 25 states -- but I have no official accreditation.
How long will I have access to the course material?
You'll have access for life -- a perk that I don't know if I'll be able to offer with every subsequent PD course.
How will you know where to send my free copy of your book?
Once you register for the course, you'll be sent a link to a Google Form, where I'll ask for your summer mailing address. I'll also ask you to include the name of whomever you'd like me to make the book out to -- I think that's cool :)
When will I receive my free copy of your book?
My book is released by Corwin Literacy in July 2018, so expect your book by August 1. (I'll need a few weeks to receive the books at my house, get them signed, and put them back in the mail to course participants.)
Do I get 1:1 coaching from Dave Stuart Jr?
Not really. For the initial 7 weeks you'll have a chance to submit questions for me to answer during a live, recorded Q&A, but the reality is -- and I know you know this -- I don't have all the answers. There are plenty of undermotivation situations in my classroom, right now, that I'm puzzling through. But this course will undoubtedly give you a compass, a set of lenses, and some really practical tools. It will move you forward, empowering you to find the answers unique to your classroom and setting. If you'd like to hear a lot from me, then I highly recommend using the Q&A sessions aggressively :)
How do I contact you to ask a question about the program?
Do I get a certificate upon completion?
You sure do! It will indicate 10 completed hours of PD. Please note, however, that every state and school seems to vary on whether they will accept this as "official" continuing education credit.
Will you offer this course again?
I do intend to offer the Student Motivation Course again, although I'm not sure when and I'm not sure that it will include the same "perks' (e.g., free book, unlimited lifetime access, current registration fee, etc).

This course is not open for enrollment.

Psst... There's a cool bonus that comes with your registration!

In July, I'll be mailing you a signed copy of These 6 Things: How to Focus Your Teaching on What Matters Most. I can't wait to share it with you :)