STARS Assets for Optimal Instruction

Adolescents crave the autonomy to determine their course in life. Our goal in giving students opportunities to make choices and to self-assess is to enhance their motivation to learn.

Task orientation
To help students achieve a learning goal, we plan lessons in which they will accomplish tasks that move them incrementally toward the goal. They move from success to success, gathering the knowledge and skills needed to achieve the larger goal and their sense of efficacy: they can hit the learning target.

Active construction
Lively learning is enjoyable learning. When students actively construct their own understanding during a lesson, they are more likely to be engaged in their learning. When they problem-solve, make things, investigate, analyze, express themselves, apply their knowledge, and practice skills that lead them toward a learning goal, they work with interest and absorption.

To be interesting to young adolescents, school must be relevant to their lives. Sometimes the connection between students and lessons are obvious, but when they are not, we help students see how the ideas or facts they are studying are relavent to them.

Social interaction
Adolescents need interaction with others in their learning. To make something or figure something out, they need to share their thoughts and their work. In carefully structured environments, conversation helps students think.