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ERIC Number: ED535306
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Feb
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 6
Caring and Motivating Middle School Classrooms. Issue Brief
Strobel, Karen; Borsato, Graciela
John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities
Since 2009, the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities (JGC) at Stanford University has worked in partnership with the Redwood City School District (RCSD) to gain a deeper understanding of classroom practices that promote motivation and achievement in middle school. Each spring, all middle school students in the district complete a survey about their motivational beliefs and their classroom experiences. The 2011 survey incorporated a new set of questions designed to capture students' perceptions of classroom practices that convey care and support. This focus emerged from conversations with teachers and administrators and reflects RCSD's commitment to building supportive classroom communities that emphasize effort and improvement. This research suggests that all middle school students in the district can benefit from practices that communicate care for students as individuals and as a group of learners regardless of their gender, ethnicity, income level or academic history. These practices have the potential to launch students on a positive academic pathway by cultivating a belief system that encourages students to engage and persist with their learning. Moreover, students appear to be responsive to a range of strategies for communicating care and support for their learning. To summarize, these analyses highlight the following key findings: (1) Motivational beliefs consistently predict achievement; (2) Care can be conveyed to students through multiple approaches; (3) Seventh grade marks a dip in students' perceptions of care; and (4) Perceptions of care vary according to students' proficiency levels in math. (Contains 4 figures and 4 footnotes.) [Additional funding for this paper was provided by the John and Terry Levin Fund for Improving K-12 Education.]
John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities. Stanford University, 505 Lasuen Mall, Stanford, CA 94305. Tel: 650-723-3099; Fax: 650-736-7160; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Walton Family Foundation; Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Authoring Institution: Stanford University, John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities (JGC)