Tidbit #24-Unlocking the Potential of Gifted Learners: Motivation

September 20, 2023

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Students didn’t learn because they just weren’t motivated”? It’s a common sentiment, but according to M. David Merril, motivation and learning are intertwined in a profound way. Merril suggests that motivation emerges from the act of learning itself, and the greatest motivation arises when individuals are engaged in something they excel at. In essence, we are wired to learn, and this innate desire for learning is inherent in every student. Everyone, including gifted learners, has a natural affinity for acquiring knowledge, but it is crucial to tap into this innate motivation. 

So, what happens when students don’t feel motivated to learn? Often, the root cause is a misalignment between their passions and the learning experiences offered to them. When students don’t see themselves as proficient in a subject or find it interesting, they will become disengaged. They may even avoid the task, skip the class, and ultimately fall out of love with learning altogether. 

At Scholars Academy for the Gifted and Artistically Elite, we firmly believe that it is our responsibility to design instructional approaches that empower students to delve into what they are truly passionate about. Effective and efficient instruction should not only share knowledge but also ignite a deep sense of curiosity and motivation in learners. 

Here is how we harness each learner’s potential at Scholars Academy 

  1. Personalized Learning – Each learner has an individual schedule that meets their specific learning needs. Need elementary math and middle school science? You’ve got it! 
  2. Challenging Yet Supportive Environment – Each week, learners receive personalized feedback from each class and every teacher. 
  3. Project-Based Learning – Students engage in interdisciplinary projects over the course of the year. These projects include a Wax Museum, a Shark Tank, an Engineering Fair, and a Poetry Slam! 
  4. Mentorship and Guidance – Students engage with one another through homeroom classes, peer mentors, and leadership roles as well as with teachers through weekly 1:1 meetings.

In conclusion, the key to nurturing gifted learners lies in recognizing that motivation is an inherent part of the learning process. When we enable students to explore their interests and excel in what they are passionate about, we unlock their potential to become lifelong learners. At Scholars Academy for the Gifted, our mission is to empower gifted students, creating a learning environment where they can thrive and, most importantly, find joy in the pursuit of knowledge.


Merrill, M. D. (2018). Using the First Principles of Instruction to Make Instruction Effective, Efficient, and Engaging. In R. E. West (Ed.), Foundations of Learning and Instructional Design Technology. EdTech Books. https://edtechbooks.org/lidtfoundations/using_the_first_principles_of_instruction

Mrs. Rose 

Alexia Rose Lawrence

Lead Faculty @ Scholars Academy for the Gifted, Year Three with SA

Teaching Licensure in K-6 Elementary Education and Academically & Intellectually Gifted (AIG)

Board Member & Podcast Host of, They’ll Be Fine, NC Association for the Gifted (NGAGT)