This module models the UDL Principles of Representation and Action & Expression.

Cultivating Learner Attention and Engagement

Using Imagination as Motivation


Contributing Faculty

Mr. Jeff Goodman

Mr. Jeff Goodman
Curriculum & Instruction
Appalachian State University


Mr. Jeff Goodman believes that human beings are motivated by mystery. With that in mind, he scaffolds his lessons in ways that motivate his students by giving them a social context. He wants his students to feel connected to abstract concepts by starting with an experience. He begins his lessons with an experience, builds toward the abstraction, and then has students experiment with the abstraction with a new experience. In this interactive method, Mr. Goodman can assess student comprehension.

One of Mr. Goodman’s fundamental goals is to instill enthusiasm in his students, most of whom will become elementary school teachers. He expresses this goal in the following way;

I always hope that people will be enthusiastic, so I looked up the word 'enthusiastic' recently – because their job, if they’re going to become teachers, is to become an enthusiasm engineer. The Latin word for enthusiasm is 'enthuseos,' and 'theos' means 'the spirit inside,' so to be enthusiastic is to be spirited inside yourself, so as a teacher, their job is to help people feel spirited. Everything is towards that end. The whole way, I have to figure out how to scaffold that excitement and make little steps feel exciting.

Mr. Goodman teaches media studies and elementary education at Appalachian State University. For the past 20 years he has served as Practitioner-in-Residence. During this time he took one year off and taught high school, and spends one day a week in his wife’s middle school classroom "trying to see if this stuff actually pans out – and it's hard!"

Goodman's focus on developing enthusiasm may have broad application across many careers and content areas.

Module Format

Each of the College STAR modules includes a concept map, giving readers an overview of a module's content. The concept maps show the links between the instructional practice in the module, possible outcomes, and the principles of Universal Design for Learning, known as UDL.

Figure 1, the concept map shown below, illustrates the instructional practice in this module, which is cultivating learner attention and engagement. According to Bergin (1999), both individual and situational factors increase learner interest. Factors that enhance attention and engagement include an individual’s sense of belonging, social support, emotion, and competence. Situational factors that enhance attention and engagement include hands-on activities, novelty, social interaction, discrepancy, games and puzzles, humor, fantasy, and narrative.

Clicking on the concept map, Figure 1, will enlarge the image.

Concept Map: Cultivating Learner Attention and Engagement

Figure 1: Concept Map: Cultivating Learner Attention and Engagement

Module Navigation

There are multiple ways to navigate College STAR modules. Clicking on the sidebar menu takes you directly to the main sections and subsections of the module.

Navigation features located at the top and bottom of each screen allow you to move through the module. Clicking on the “breadcrumb trail” at the top of the module screen takes you directly to previously viewed parts of the module, as shown below in Figure 2 in the example from the Charting Student Information module.

Figure 2: A "breadcrumb trail" is located below the title of each page. A "breadcrumb trail" is located below the title of each page.

The navigation arrows at the bottom of each screen take you to the previous or next components of the module. The menu link at the bottom of each screen takes you to the top of the screen where you may view the menu sidebar as shown in Figure 3 below.

Figure 3: Navigation links are also located at the bottom of each page of a module.

Additionally, some links within the text lead to other sections of the module. Please use your preferred method of navigation to proceed to the next section about Universal Design for Learning (UDL).