Mindset, Metacognition & Motivation

Home / Initiatives / Mindset, Metacognition & Motivation



Mindset, Metacognition & Motivation

MINDSET, METACOGNITION & MOTIVATION supports youth as peer-to-peer messengers who share the latest research on growth mindsets, metacognition (how the brain learns) and motivation. There are several opportunities for youth-adult teams to bring this work to their school.

  •      Mastermind Mentors: 5th through 12th grade students are trained and supported to be growth mindset and self-talk mentors for K-3 students.
  •      Mastermind Guides (for 9th grade, and for middle school): In this advisory approach, youth (2 youth facilitators per advisory) partner with adults (minimum of 2) to form the Mastermind Guides Team. The team participates in 2 days of training to provide the core knowledge and skills needed to implement advisory sessions.

Concurrently, faculty align their classroom practices accordingly and become teacher leaders to establish “fluency in the language of learning” school-wide.

M3 graduate classes provide an opportunity for individuals to go more deeply into the work.
These courses provide more scaffolding and support for adult learners while exploring the science of learning and its pedagogical ramifications for their practice over the course of the year.

Increased responsibility in a personalized learning model requires that students gain fluency in the language of learning — mindset, metacognition and motivation (Dweck, 2006; Mitra, 2001; Hattie, 2012). This fluency ensures that all students are able to fully optimize personalized learning plans and flexible pathways, and thrive in a proficiency-based education model.

Building an understanding of how we process information and our ability to increase knowledge and skills provides an opportunity for learners to take a more active role in their education. This is central to the ability to personalize their learning.

The M3 initiative helps equip students with knowledge of the key components of learning to foster their motivation and academic success. Students learn how, why and when their brain learns. Thus, they build their confidence and competence in learning.

Developing their fluency in the language of learning creates a bridge between learners and teachers, fosters shared responsibility for learning, and increases student ownership. Research has shown that although all students benefit from mindset and metacognitive skill development, those students challenged by poverty are most positively impacted.

Building an understanding of learning provides a foundation for students’ long term growth. M3 enables and empowers each and every individual to reach their greatest potential.

These are factors that we can influence in our schools, honoring the potential of all learners and shaping a school culture of growth mindsets, metacognition, and motivation that supports student engagement and self-efficacy, and builds intrinsic motivation; fostering a shared language of learning and understanding of how growth mindset and metacognition impact learning for all learners for both educators and students.

Youth-adult M3 school teams attend trainings where they experience M3 first hand.


Some of what participants learn about are:

  • fixed and growth mindsets
  • self-talk
  • a basic model of how the brain processes information
  • effective brain-based learning strategies
  • metacognition
  • and stress reduction strategies.

These trainings are facilitated by UP for Learning faculty and include modeling effective facilitation.   Some trainings also include M3 youth alumni who model effective peer-to-peer facilitation techniques.  M3 youth facilitators are also given teaching strategy guidance and instruction, and at some trainings have the opportunity to practice their facilitation role and receive feedback.

The teams return from the trainings and prepare to introduce the M3 initiative to their school faculty and peers.  Youth facilitators also continue their learning in partnership with their adult team members and prepare to co-facilitate the sessions.

Each school receives ongoing coaching and support by the UP for Learning staff as they implement this work.

M3 Graduate Classes

M3 adult faculty are either enrolled in a graduate credit seminar or receive Professional Development hours for their work. Below you will find the various proficiency-based course syllabi and the M3 Learning Targets.

The following are videos chronicling People’s Academy High School and Barre City Middle School’s M3 initiative work during the 2017-2018 school year.  You will also find video clip reflections of the Green Mountain Union and Black River high school faculty who participated in a year-long M3 course during the 2016-2017 school year, weaving brain-based practices into the fabric of their classroom instruction and learning environment.

What does Mindset, Metacognition and Motivation look like in action?

This video tells the story of People’s Academy in 2017-2018.

What does Mindset, Metacognition and Motivation look like in action?

This video tells the story of Barre City Middle School youth who helped to create and pilot M3 during the 2017-18 school year.

M3 Videos

M3 Quotes