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THREADS focuses on factors that promote positive academic and social growth for young males. The THREADS program achieves these goals through matching undergraduates with middle school boys in a weekly activities-based format.  The program aims to cultivate an environment where middle school boys and their undergraduate mentors can talk about and strategize around issues that affect the boys’ behavior, development, future goals, and identity with school.

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How do you create more meaningful, impactful and sustainable partnerships between researchers and teachers that result in effective motivation strategies that make schools places where students want to learn and where they want to be? The iScholar Project serves as a model. DeLeon Gray and Briana Green explain in a presentation they delivered during the NC State College of Education Spring 2017 All College Meeting.

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Scientists spend considerable time engaging in critical analysis of ideas prior to publishing works or proclaiming findings. Students of science need some guided practice in this skill, especially when the principles under study are complex. Lombardi, Brandt, Bickel, and Burg’s 2016 article highlighted why this is important; students need to evaluate claims in controversial socio-scientific texts because it is there that the gap in knowledge between layperson and expert seems to be quite wide and multiple, often opposite, perspectives compete for recognition. 

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Academic dishonestly should cause teachers concern—between 70% and 95% of college students have been involved in acts such as, deception, fabrication, plagiarism, cheating on tests, exchanging work with other students, or purchasing work. Research suggests that the percentage is even higher among younger students—this would mean that most, if not all, K-12 students engage in academic dishonesty at some point. 

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Does that one-size-fits-all t-shirt really fit you? No! As suggested by Hope, Chavous, Jagers, and Sellers in a 2013 article in the American Educational Research Journal, a one-size-fits-all approach to education does not “fit” all our students. These researchers found that there are benefits and challenges for Black students when connecting self-esteem and achievement that vary within this population.

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Are lecture-style classes dead? Here are a few considerations from a constructivist perspective.

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Should moral education be a part of a school's curriculum? Four pre-service teachers addressed this question in a video blog.

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Materialism certainly isn’t a new term or label. What is new, however, is the possible link between materialism and motivation, learning, and performance in schools. Dictionary.com defines materialism as “preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values.” There have been songs by artists like Madonna, movies such as Clueless and Valley Girls, and countless reality TV shows speaking of and celebrating this thing we call materialism. Researchers gathered cross-sectional and longitudinal evidence from both the United Kingdom and Hong Kong on the subject of materialism and academic performance.

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Students, especially college students, face decisions every day about how to spend their time. Do I study for the test on Monday? Do I go out with my friends? Do I have time for both? Conflicts about what to focus on at a particular time can cause major motivational dilemmas for students, especially between study and leisure activities. A team of researchers from the University of Bielefeld set out to examine how motivational conflicts between study and leisure are related to a student’s general academic and social adaptation.

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“My teacher doesn’t even really care. Why should I?” This must be one of the oldest questions in the educational sphere. I know it’s one I’ve heard dozens of times as a student. In the classes where the teacher seemed to drone with seemingly little passion for the material, the students tended to follow suit—merely completing assignments for the grade and passing through the material without second thought. However, during the classes where the instructor taught with excitement and nearly palpable passion for the subject, the students seemed to “soak in” some of the teachers’ residual energy.

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Imagine sitting in a college classroom when the professor begins to hand back graded essays. You and your friends get antsy about finding out the grade for the big paper. Your friends get their papers back and begin sharing their grades to one another. You are the last to get your paper back and at the very top in red ink it states, “Please see me after class.”

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There has been an increasing sentiment in the United States that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields are the key to being serious competitors in the global world. In order for our nation to excel in these areas, we need to begin at the most basic level: getting students interested in and motivated to study STEM fields in the first place.

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High school students who spend more time on homework are more mentally engaged at school but suffer from increased academic stress, a lack of day to day balance in their lives, and even physical health issues, according a recent article published in The Journal of Experimental Education.

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Promoting the importance of academic integrity can be a difficult task, and often punishing cheating can seem like the only option. However, new research published in the Journal of Experimental Education suggests that the students who are most likely to cheat are those whose primary deterrent is the fear of punishment.

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Students of all ages are constantly pestering their teacher with the questions of, “Why do I have to learn this?” and whining while they say, “I’m never going to use this in real life!”  There has always been a questionable link between the relevancy of the material to a student and that student’s motivation to study and understand the material.  A team of researchers from James Madison University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison set out to test the motivation of undergraduate students when it comes to subjects that don’t pertain directly to their major. 

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The SMART Collaborative has created a public forum for discussing connections between students' social experiences and their motivation in achievement contexts. Please visit our website (http://thesmartlab.org, "Like" us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/theSMARTcollabo)  or Follow Us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/@theSMARTcollabo).

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