The Art of Boosting Student Motivation Through Self-Directed Learning

Contributed By

Matt Essert

Contributing Writer

The Art of Boosting Student Motivation Through Self-Directed Learning

Posted in Community | November 19, 2015

Having used Schoology for less than a year, Nicholas Amaral has already seen some undeniably exciting results.

Nicholas is an English and Special Education Teacher who now also wears the hat of Instructional Technology Coach at Shore Regional High School in West Long Branch, New Jersey. His district recently went 1:1 with Google Chromebooks and he noticed a clear void to fill regarding how instructors and students would connect things like Google Docs and Google Drive while also offering the kinds of intangibles that elevate a student’s learning experience. Schoology filled that void.

Self-Paced, Self-Directed Mastery Learning

Nicholas said he’s been able to "manipulate" classroom time by letting students work at their own paces. He created an “atmosphere of mastery learning,” where students can fail as many times as they need to on their way towards achieving their goals.

There’s no way to leave anyone behind when they’re setting their own learning speed. And because of this more open format, Nicholas has also seen in his students an increase in “motivation, engagement, and participation.”

This amped-up motivation has led students to taking more active roles in their own learning, rather than simply following the teacher’s instruction or assignment directions.

Nicholas’s students master their standard curriculum while learning the equally important (but sometimes overlooked) "soft skills such as time management, note taking, and organization.”

Within the classrooms, Nicholas has seen a considerable change over just a few short months, and already, the students want more. A simple school poll found that almost every student wanted more Schoology integration in as many of their classes and with as many of their teachers as possible.

If You Can’t Beat Them … Join Them

“It’s been my ultimate goal to reach students at their level, in a medium that they understand, to enhance the learning and motivation within the confines of the classroom walls,” explained Nicholas.

He wants to make the learning experience as comfortable and fruitful as possible. For him, this means gamifiying learning to motivate “students to learn on their own time and be dedicated to their own learning atmosphere.”

Nicholas continued, “I have used Schoology to help transform my class by implementing a self-paced, self-directed, mastery learning, gamified class. And I have not looked back.”

Nicholas Amaral
English and Special Education Teacher and Instructional Technology Coach
Shore Regional High School
Educator of the Year Finalist

Written by Matt Essert 

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