“Money can’t buy happiness.”
It’s a phrase we often hear and use. Is this a true statement though? Do people actually think this way? After reading more of Drive, by Daniel Pink, I’m beginning to think that this phrase carries more weight than what people may actually think. Would I like to get paid more...I would be lying if I said no, I think most people would. However, are there other contributors that outweigh the pay?
Yes. Pink states that there are two different theories of motivation, Theory I (intrinsically based) and Theory X (extrinsically based). Extrinsic motivation is based on getting rewards for the jobs that you complete. Intrinsic is completing a job purely because you want to. There’s nothing wrong with either type of motivation. Although extrinsic motivation is good at times, like when you want a short burst of effort, to get a job done above and beyond we need to seek intrinsic motivation.
For decades our society has been fixed on extrinsic motivation, like getting bonuses, a pay raise, or any other type of monetary fix to complete a job. I know what your thinking...aren’t we still? Maybe to some extent, but Pink states as a society the younger generations, generation X, generation Y (my generation), millennials, or the echo boomers are beginning to echo the thought about intrinsic motivation. Some companies are even starting to incorporate Theory I into their vision. Best Buy and Google even went as far as allowing their personnel more freedoms in what their job descriptions are, or when they show up for work (some don’t even have set hours, just meet your deadline), rather than giving bonuses based on merit. They also allow their employees 20% of time devoted to things outside their responsibilities. For example if you are an engineer, you may be able to work with advertising for 20% of your work time...if that’s another passion you have. What are these companies noticing? By treating their employees this way, they are retaining them. I love this idea (maybe it’s a generation Y thing).
So...my BIG question is how do we incorporate theory I with our students? Pink further states the idea of flow, “...the relationship between what a person had to do and what he could do was perfect. The challenge wasn’t too easy. Nor was it too difficult. It was a notch or two above his current abilities, which stretched the body and mind in a way that made the effort itself the most delicious reward” (p.115). This made me think, as an instructor I strive to create a “flow” for my students, but do I always create a challenging environment for all students that is a notch or two above their ability? In addition to this, Pink includes that with flow we must have quick feedback. This quick feedback allows the person, or in our case student, to see if they are on the right track of thinking. How do we develop this flow and feedback for students? Here are a couple of ideas:
After all this hard work, one question still remains. Can we actually reach mastery of a concept teaching this way? This is very debatable, but I think true mastery is developing skills and interest in a topic. This follows the growth mindset. A student may not understand a concept now, but they will eventually if we develop their interests in the topic. With this said, if students do understand it now, and we encourage inquiry, a student could dig way deeper in the content. All of this can be accomplished if we engage the concept of “flow” within our students. As a result, we create a generation of lifelong learners. Isn’t this our true goal in education?
I know what you're thinking...this guy is crazy how are we supposed to do all this? Changing the way we connect with students will be challenging for them and us. Through using techniques with Theory I (Intrinsic motivation) and having grit, or determination to finish what was started, I believe that we can encourage our students to gain mastery of anything. Remember mastery isn’t necessarily mastering a subject or skill, it’s developing inquiry in a subject to promote lifelong learners. I truly believe money can't buy happiness, intrinsic motivation can!
Pink, D. H. (2009). Drive. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
MOTIVATIONAL AND INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES44 of the best motivational quotes you will ever find. (2013, December 1). Retrieved May 24, 2017, from motivationgrid.com website: