I was talking to my wife over the weekend discussing different philosophies about life, and we came to the conclusion that people are born to want to do the right thing. With this said, people need to be motivated to do the right thing...
I just started a great read, Drive, by Daniel H. Pink, it's about motivation. If you haven’t read this book yet, I highly recommend it! In the book, he gathers and analyzes different research about motivation throughout. Below are some themes I found that could apply to anyone's life:
The 2 levels of motivation (thus far):
Through his research Daniel Pink has found multiple studies that state that motivation 2.0 is not sufficient. We need to continue to develop our intrinsic motivation. Pink states, “...what science is revealing is that carrots and sticks can promote bad behavior, create addiction, and encourage short-term thinking at the expense of the long view (p.49).” The question is how do we encourage intrinsic motivation within our society?
Here are some ideas:
Isn't it our goal, as an education profession, to lead the way for our society? The behavior science field has done research to prove that motivation 2.0 (stick and carrot) no longer works. With that said, maybe we need to begin looking at ideas to encourage intrinsic motivation with all stakeholders in the education field. If we lead by example, businesses may soon follow. As a result, we can work together to promote true intrinsic motivation for all stakeholders.
As stated earlier, following one’s interest is a key part to intrinsic motivation. How can this be done in the education field? Joe Sanfelippo and Tony Sinanis state in their book, Hacking Leadership, that staff members could develop and implement passion projects, a great way to encourage intrinsic motivation to meet self-made goals. I go more into detail on this with this audioBoom link.
An excellent way to promote intrinsic motivation with our students would be to write both short-term and long-term goals. When we accomplish these goals, it is essential that we take time to celebrate and set additional goals. With this stated, I believe that we, teacher and student, must monitor these regularly. Hopefully, students will catch on and begin taking ownership with their goals, and teachers will guide along the way.
Giving students choice to follow their passion in different subjects could greatly increase intrinsic motivation. For example, this year I allowed my students to find a country in Southeast Asia that was violating a human right (determined from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), make a website, and come up with a solution to solve the problem. I believe that doing projects which students can identify a problem and research to find a solution is the essence of intrinsic motivation. The result? Students take ownership and understand the material at a deeper level. After all, it's all about the students! How have you used intrinsic motivation in your profession or with your students? Please leave a comment below.
I am confident that we can improve intrinsic motivation in society. We have to stop doing things the same way “because that’s just the way we’ve always done it.” It just takes the courage to be a part of the change. If this is done properly, mankind may be limitless with what we can accomplish. Remember, people want to do good, it’s human nature.
Pink, D. H. (2009). Drive. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
Sanfelippo, J., & Sinanis, T. (2016). Hacking Learning: Hacking leadership: 10 ways great leaders
inspire learning that teachers, students, and parents love. Cleveland, OH: Times 10.