Motivating Students to Put Effort into Learning

with Dave Stuart Jr.

Saturday, Oct 22 @ 11:00 AM EST

It's hard to help students learn when they don't really care to. But fun activities and candy bribes will never solve this problem because true motivation stems from what students believe in their hearts. In this session, Dave Stuart, Jr. will unpack how we can help students internalize the belief that wise, strategic effort pays off. Because when students believe that they can succeed, they'll be much more motivated to keep trying.

The session will begin 11:00 AM EST on Saturday, October 22. 

This session has ended. Two versions of the replay are available. Click "watch the replay" to view the entire session, with audience chat. Or, click the video below the button to view a replay with video controls.

The Discussion Room will be open for 30 minutes after this session to discuss what we've learned. Click here to go to the Discussion Room. 


Dave Stuart Jr.

About Dave Stuart Jr.

Dave Stuart Jr. is a high school teacher whose ministry includes writing for educators around the US and the world. His areas of emphasis are student motivation, teacher longevity, and the work that matters most in helping young people to flourish while growing toward academic and artistic mastery.

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  • Teresa Turner says:

    I have listened to this 7 or 8 times, really contemplating how to address the underlying issues of students skipping class and not engaging in learning. This is a chronic issue in the urban high school where I teach.

  • Michelle says:

    I’m so glad you brought Mr. Stuart back. I hope he’s back every year. He’s great! I was even reminded of some things I heard him say last year that I need to bring back into use (summer gets you off track a little sometimes).

  • Tatyana says:

    So many great ideas. I like 5 beliefs.
    I want to remember that it’s powerful to apologise.

  • Ruth W says:

    I enjoyed Dave’s session last year and appreciated the discussion around efficacy and effort. I will be focusing on this aspect with my students for this year. Thanks again!

  • Tetyana Malakhova says:

    It’s important to motivate. Sometimes we forget about it. my takeaway: increase credibility, constantly paint a picture before students why what they are doing important, believe that we can succeed.

  • Marcy Jones says:

    My takeaway – The pyramid of motivation: credibility, value, effort & efficacy, belonging

  • Dragoi Mihaela says:

    This seminar motivates me to improve the way I teach and relate to the students in my class.

  • Elaine Faieta says:

    Ensuring student learning momentum by helping them to perceive success along the way to the goal.
    Not focusing on what students should already know – instead teaching and modeling those expectations in a loving way with consistent reinforcement.
    Thank you so much for the entirety of your session! Wow!

  • Amelia Warkentin says:

    Seeing faith in action and hearing about the importance of credibility really resonated with me. Thank you so much!

  • Lauri Banks says:

    This is also going to be a watch it again session. Being credible and making sure the students know that you care about them are two great reminders.

  • C says:

    Great session
    Lots of helpful information

  • Connie Rodriguez says:

    Show students HOW to be successful. Don’t leave anything to chance! Growth is success!

  • Rhesa Bagley says:

    Such a good reminder! Each student is a person with their own strengths and weaknesses and they all grow at a different rate. “It’s important to make success equivalent to growth.” Not just quantity and grades!

  • Kimberly says:

    I greatly enjoyed this session and will try to incorporate all these ideas in my teaching.

  • Linda Marlowe says:

    This was so great! Thank you for sharing your heart about growth and motivation.

  • Nikki Barcus says:

    Great discussion and a good answer for the kid who always asks, “Is this for a grade?”

  • Donna B. says:

    Woodenize ALL of it!
    Biggies/smallies: model/teach everything you are expecting–they don’t automatically KNOW it.

    Success is bringing your personal best everyday.

  • Kenzie Bowen says:

    That effort belief that I can improve through my effort. The Efficiency belief I can succeed.

  • Marsha L. says:

    Teaching students to provide what you expect. Reminding without degrading. Repeat until they roll their eyes because “they already know.”

  • Mary Riehl says:

    I really liked the visual representation of value. So often when I think of trying to help my students see value, I try to find ways to make it useful to them, but there is so much more to value than usefulness.

  • Susan Drake says:

    Excellent session! One important piece that I’m taking away is the idea that I need to show them what the little steps are towards success in my class, what to do today, help them to take those small steps and build momentum and that’s what helps students develop the belief in efficacy, that wise, strategic effort pays off.

  • Cindy says:

    That we probably have to say things more than we realize.

  • Bethany says:

    I really needed to be reminded to teach students what I want them to do. I should not expect them to just have learning conducive behavior, but I need to teach that.

  • Shannon says:

    I remember his presentation from last year and I was so excited to see this one. It was every bit as good as I had hoped. I hope that he presents every year!

  • Rachel says:

    I love how you took growth mindset further with defining belief to lead towards student success.

  • Andrea says:

    Dave Stuart, Jr. -Equip and encourage colleagues who want to work from strength and optimism and optimism
    *FIVE KEY BELIEFS beneath care-driven student motivation 1 Credibility, 2 Value, 3 Effort, 4 Support, 5 Belonging

  • Sheryl Polster says:

    I truly appreciate the information shared in this session. My students need my personal best every day. Gentle reminders about setting personal goals for learning and daily growth. That part made me think of something a friend said “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the Biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must but take a step.” I will definitely be using this repeat the goal until you see the eye roll with my middle school boys. Thank you so much for all the great information.

  • Julie says:

    Really appreciate the encouragement to show our students the purpose for the day/lesson. Students will show their best, when we as educators bring forth our best effort too.

  • Lindsay says:

    “Success is bringing our personal best” – too often as humans, we compare and base our success of ourselves on the success of others that surround us. Explicitly teaching students ‘their’ success and what it make look like/sound like etc. will allow meaningful considerations and in result hopefully will make evident some previous ‘attempts’ to actually be ‘success’ and growth.

  • Tanya Malakhova says:

    My biggest take away is the importance of working on credibility. I am a new teacher in school and constantly told by my students how great previous teacher was. How to be great teacher for those students and lead them to success that my biggest goal now

  • Merryn says:

    Wow and wow! So helpful. Thank you. I have been encouraging my students this year to not have a fixed mindset but have a growth mindset when it comes to their work and attendance but now I can see ways I can refine what I am saying and doing to have greater impact. Thank you!

  • Lisa R Laulainen says:

    I enjoyed this conversation and plan to watch last years session as well. I love the bit about teaching students the “why” and that each one may come to their why in a different way. Constantly pointing out the “why” of what we do in a firm, respectful way is key. Thank you.

  • Louise G says:

    I really enjoy Dave’s teaching and have shared it with lots of people. I am working to internalize these best practices.

  • Adriane says:

    Ellie sharing the simplicity of singing through things!

  • Lisa K says:

    Big takeaway was to teach students what wise, strategic effort looks like. Students have one job for the day… to grow! Loved this.

  • Clair says:

    I have heard Dave speak before and read his These 6 Things book. I appreciated the encouragement his talk held.

  • Jodine Bandlow says:

    I just finished this session a second time, and what a difference with the visuals and my note-taking!!! I want to use the five key beliefs with my math intervention kids! This is so great! Thank you!!!

  • Kristi Wolfe says:

    My main takeaway is the importance of credibility. I have been in situations where I lost credibility. Asking forgiveness and admitting when you are wrong goes a long way in restoring credibility. Credibility is definitely the foundation or base of student motivation. Thank you for sharing!

  • Tiffany says:

    Modeling is so huge! Putting out the idea that these lessons ARE important, that my students CAN learn them – and I”m there to help!

  • Jessie says:

    I liked the reminder that we have to teach our kids what it looks like to succeed – they don’t necessarily already know that. Also, a quote I put in my notes for implementation was that a student’s one job for the day is simply to grow.

  • Erin says:

    This was so good. I love what your principal said about bringing your personal best and how when kids roll their eyes we’ve done our job 🙂

  • Rebecca Beeson says:

    I’ve already come back to listen to this 3 times today! Thank you so much for your insights.

  • DJ says:

    Was glad I good still listen to the replay as I had a mtg. this morning.

  • Deanna P. says:

    Many great reminders and things to try. Thank you! I am encouraged to reset some things and help students learn wise, strategic effort.

  • Jodine Bandlow says:

    I need to play this one again. I was driving. 🤓

  • Evelyn says:

    Excited to rewatch this session. So many powerful points shared. Credibility discussion really resonated. Thank you for the resources!

  • Lisa says:

    This session was so interesting. I plan on watching it again. Bringing Gnosticism into the modern context was eye opening.

  • Sherree says:

    Thank you Dave for these pearls of wisdom. My biggest take aways were that part of my credibility is caring about every minute of every class and that the goal is to help students grow little by little. Repeated small steps add up to big growth.

  • Jenise says:

    Wow! This session could have easily been a conference in itself. I would gladly attend! So much excellent information. I can’t wait to dig out last year’s notes and review all of the material together.

  • Stephanie Estep says:

    This was awesome! I loved the visual of the pyramid of belief. And the focus on growth is so important! Our culture gets so wrapped up in grades that the “lower students” develop an attitude of apathy and build up so many walls to protect themselves from disappointment that it’s hard to get through to them. But the growth mindset can be so much more encouraging than grades.

  • Linda Moyer says:

    Woodenization. Wow! Will definitely use this in the classroom.

  • Rachel says:

    I really loved this session and how it built on last year’s.

  • Karen e Talbert says:

    Lots of good reminders. I teach high school level special ed and since COVID and race issues so many students lack motivation and self discipline.

  • Jessica says:

    Excellent content that helps you know where to focus your effort and understand why that effort will be fruitful.

  • Molly Braun says:

    Amazing content! There’s so much wisdom I am going to apply to my teaching, especially on credibility and effort/efficacy!

  • Kim Garroutte says:

    Ready to go purchase all of Dave’s books. Thank you.

  • M says:

    So many good things I want to remember:
    -Care, competence, passion
    -We need to teach students how to learn.
    -Success is daily growth.
    -Success is bringing our personal growth.

  • Kim Garroutte says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Motivating students has been a HUGE struggle, especially post-COVID. Thank you for explaining that it’s MY job to show them how I want them to do it!

  • Julia R says:

    Thanks for the reminder on teaching the smallies too! It can be easy to think that upper elementary students should already know how to do school, but we should never assume anything. I’m brainstorming my list so I can reteach, teach and enforce what’s expected.

  • Jenica says:

    I appreciated the reminder to tell the students that note-taking is for their benefit. It is a life skill that will serve them well beyond school and into a profession.

  • Natalie T. says:

    “The biggies and the smallies” – so helpful. I loved the charts from your presentation, Dave. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  • Sofia S says:

    BRING my personal best!
    My take away —-5 Key Beliefs –
    VALUE ✅
    EFFORT & EFFICACY ( I can improve through smart effort)
    💖 BELONGING— MOST Important –
    My students feel they BELONG & I BELONG .
    “Little things that really count”- START HERE!

    Blessing to all – I share this profession with the most amazing educators, thank you !!

  • Alysha Fletcher says:

    Key takeaway: When students put forth wise, strategic effort and succeed, they believe it pays off. But we can’t expect them to be wise and strategic without first teaching them what that looks like.
    I’m a big fan of Dave! So glad I got to attend this session.

  • Lori B says:

    Language of belief! So good! Appreciate the slides.

  • Amy Runke says:

    I’d forgotten about the strength of modeling for students what I want them to do.

  • Barbara says:

    What an awesome message. “Humans are not born with a default idea of what it takes to succeed in school.”
    Linda said that it doesn’t matter if they SHOULD know how to do something. If they don’t know it, we must teach it. We sometimes forget that and just complain in the teacher’s lounge about the students.

  • Sarah says:

    This was such an inspirational and helpful session to refocus on the important things in teaching. We must be credible in the students eyes, show them why this has value, help them put in effort and see their progress, and then they will feel like they belong to this community of learners. As teachers, we must teach students how to put forth wise, strategic effort and not just assume they already know how to do this! We need to show them how to be successful in math class, in music class, etc. and help them see the value in what they are learning. Help them define success as growth and progress, not perfection. This definition is also a good reminder for teachers, too! 🙂

  • Ashlee says:

    Really great, thought provoking ideas! I am going to work more on smallies/biggies and modeling exactly what I want students to do. I really appreciate the slides being provided. Great session!

  • Kari says:

    I really needed to hear Dave’s session this morning. As a teacher that is feeling burned out, it gave me a new perspective on how I teach my students and how to motivate myself as the teacher. As a teacher (and person), I needed to hear about the Efficacy Belief – that I CAN succeed at this. I desire for my students to know and BELIEVE that they CAN succeed.

  • Karen says:

    My takeaway is that a key part of my job is to teach students what wise, strategic effort looks like. And Jesus taught his disciples by modeling!

  • Susan says:

    Like his comments on success-equivalent to growth and bringing our personal best! Very true!

  • Jocelyn Tsui says:

    I really liked the pyramid visual. It makes me reflect on how I need to show my students my credibility as a teacher. Hoping to find last year’s session on that!

  • Angela Howell Turner says:

    Wow wow wow! So many amazing takeaways, but I’ll try to narrow it down to TWO: 1) It’s my job to teach students what wise, strategic effort is in my class. 2) Students, you have one job to do today–to grow.

  • Holly says:

    The graphics are very well put together – during the session I sent several screenshots to my administrators. I am hopeful they will catch the replay. Thank you for addressing so many relevant topics with clarity!

  • Mandy L says:

    My takeaways – Teaching kids to put forth the strategic effort from the small to the big.
    If students say “I can’t do this…” teachers respond with “YET”

  • Barb says:

    Great start to my morning!

  • Ashley Thompson says:

    First session I’ve watched in the summit this year and almost brought to tears at the motivation and boost I’m feeling! I have to remember that I’m the “most expert” in my room and my way is the most experienced way in my room to my 8 year olds!

  • Diana Anderson says:

    I just caught the end, but appreciate the encouragement that we just do what we can. Every little bit helps.

  • Kimmie says:

    Great session! “Success is bringing out our personal best” to all that we do regardless if it’s perceived in that way by students or not. Be gentle to our soul.

  • Dianne Leahy says:

    Very good ! Great ideas on how to make students want to learn and grow . Love the idea of teaching kids that Success is growing a little everyday . Trust the process. The mr Rogers story was my fav that’s where it’s at !

  • Robin says:

    This session reminded me to take the time to set up the steps for success by setting to basics and revisiting those.

  • Morgan B says:

    Growth is success! Tell students that their job is to grow each day.
    Also the importance of credibility. I am the most expert in my classroom. I have the authority and responsibility to show students how to do things and not expect them to just know already.

  • Suzanne W. says:

    Students need to have success modeled for them, down to the small things. What is a good class discussion? What is a helpful question? We can point these things out by name as they are happening, so they experience success and know the direction to take.

  • Amy B. says:

    I am thankful for Dave sharing today. One thing I learned is there are “smallies and biggies” of what needs to be taught (and retaught).

  • Diana Anderson says:

    I caught the tail end. I love the encouragement to do what we can. Every little bit helps.

  • Kimberly says:

    This conversation was so helpful in that it highlighted how to focus (smallies and biggies) and to understand that you cannot tackle everything – I teach math…not life skills… but I can still make an impact by being intentional in goal setting for my students and me!

  • Jamie W. says:

    Oh my goodness! So good! One of my key takeaways was that it is my job to teach my students what success looks like in my classroom and not assume they should already know what that looks like.

  • Landon Lampkin says:

    This session is great in helping the teacher’s mindset for supporting students in their process for growth and success!

  • Gwen says:

    So many nuggets to consider in this session. What stands out is that I teach and repeat teaching academic content, I teach expectations and routines (need to be more willing to repeat), but I don’t think that I teach learning-conducive behaviours often, which is so important.

  • Lois says:

    I was challenged to teach the students how to study and repeat that throughout the year. This is the first year they really need to study at home for tests and quizzes.

  • Lisa Schuit says:

    Wow! So much here to contemplate and remember. I sometimes get caught up in the “they should know this already” mindset, but I need to put more effort into modeling the behaviours and strategies I want them to have!

  • Lisa says:

    Wow! This was the first live I got to see. And I got here late. But I definitely received a blessing and some incredibly valuable information. Thank you!

  • Tricia says:

    What a great presentation! I love the Success is bringing your personal best! So much to think about. Thanks.

  • Ginger says:

    Can’t wait to check out Dave’s book! He is very clear on what needs to be done and how to do it.

  • Ellen M. says:

    My biggest take away was you have one job today GROW! Just love how it makes it easy and individual.

  • AnneMarie Long says:

    Such a great session thank you! It’s so important to remember that we need to remember the small things, the basic things each day to help our students be effective learners!

  • Jennifer King says:

    I always learn something new when I listen to Dave Stuart Jr. Thank you for sharing your experience with us! The part that stood out the most to me was that we need to teach our students how to put forth good effort.

  • Angela says:

    My biggest takeaway from this session was to make success equivalent to growth rather than a grade or the comparison to the ability of one’s peers.

  • Angie Bush says:

    Thank you. I really appreciate the concrete ideas on how to build my students belief in the classroom.

  • Janetta says:

    Do many things to think about and to try incorporating into daily instruction. Thank you for sharing these things.

  • Julia says:

    Biggest takeaway: Competence is not the same as perfection!

  • Lynette LeClere says:

    My biggest takeaway was student’s success is the improvement the student is making daily; not based on their grades. This is important because too often student success is measured by grades rather the progress the student is making in the class or in life.

  • Nan Wise says:

    My take away is profound: Take off my shoes before I walk in my classroom, because God is already there…our calling is a big one, and this tired teacher definitely needed that reminder! Thank you!

  • Jill D Bemis says:

    Can’t wait to rewatch and take notes. Driving so a must do.

  • Ginger says:

    Great information!

  • Katelynn says:

    I love what Dave said about “smallies” and “biggies”—we have to choose what we want to focus on and then explicitly teach those things to our students.

  • Brenda Schlomach says:

    Best one I’ve viewed so far! Why can’t all our PD be this useful? I wouldn’t even mind meeting days if they were thought-provoking and not full of more ‘stuff” to add to my requirements list.

  • Gretchen says:

    Sometimes it’s not the huge problem that needs to be directly addressed. It’s the little pebbles that need to be taken out to make the mountain fall. For me, Dave pulled out the pebbles of not assuming they know how to bring strong, strategic effort. In 2nd grade for me, that’s teaching the kids to listen and how to think during my lesson so they can reach the targeted goal! Love John Wooden illustration with the socks!

  • Michelle Story says:

    Thank you for recognizing that when something seems pointless, it is painful. It was important reminder that we need to be continually modeling for our students the biggies and the smallies. We are aware that we need to do that with content, but there are so many other things we need to be modeling. Thank you for the list of reminders.

  • Juliana says:

    Wow! So encouraging and so many takeaways, both for me as a teacher, as well as many to pass along to my students!

  • Linda Baker says:

    The session on Motivation was very insightful and shows me some steps I need to make to reset in my middle school classes. Thank you Lynda and David.

  • Caroline says:

    I’m always encouraged by Dave’s work. This time was no exception!

  • Cheri Kneller says:

    I will head to school on Monday with the goal to teach strategic effort.

  • Alison W says:

    Thank you for making the slides available. Huge benefit!

  • Amanda Byrnes says:

    Such a powerful session! Practical tips on how to increase effort and efficacy. The reminder that we have to teach every step and aspect of what success looks like was very thought provoking. Thank you Dave!

  • Sarah says:

    I enjoyed Dave’s session last year and this one is just as great!!! I really needed this session today. I have a student with zero lack of motivation and parents are blaming me for his lack or effort and behavior in class. I love the guided strategic effort. Often times I do a lot of step by step guided direction in kindergarten but I am definitely going to do more with effort this quarter.

  • Terry B says:

    One of the takeaways is a reminder that we should teach kids to put in wise efforts.