Boosting High School Students’ Sense of Agency and Motivation

By Mary Davenport 
edutopia.org
4 min



Providing students with greater voice and choice in the classroom can build their desire to learn and do well academically.


It’s hard to be a teacher in any year. But 2021–22 was particularly difficult, and anytime students are unmotivated, forget about it.

So this past year I applied author Daniel Pink’s three principles of motivation (autonomy, mastery, and purpose, from Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us) in my 10th-grade English class to rethink how I approached curriculum and assessment design. I found much success in student agency and motivation—and dare I even say, at times enthusiasm.

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