Intrinisic Motivation with Drive

Classrooms all across the world struggle with making sure students are properly motivated to learn. Every student is different but intrinsic motivation, or motivation from within, time and time again has been an essential part of ensuring student learning and understanding.

Extrinsic rewards like good grades and candy only give temporary encouragement to students, while doing things like giving praise and useful feedback are way more effective at promoting intrinsic motivation that can last throughout a person’s life!

One key idea that’s talked about in the video above and in Drive by Daniel Pink is the idea of autonomy. People like having a choice and they perform better when they do. Using the “carrot and stick” method talked about in Drive is only useful to a point, and where the lines are clearly drawn, but learning is not usually like that. Learning involves asking questions and investigating the answers, and for this students need choice. This can be as simple as letting them decide where they want to sit to what they want to investigate for a lab or project.

If students can be autonomous and want to master a skill or topic intrinsically, they are definitely a Type I person. Type I’s are very intrinsically motivated and are constantly pushing themselves to be the best that they can without the promise of any more reward than internal. Type X’s, on the other hand, almost require extrinsic motivation and external rewards to do or learn anything. These people usually get it done in the short-term, but it’s definitely no way to live your life. Inquiry is a big way to encourage your students to become Type I people. Inquiry is all about asking questions that matter to you and figuring out how to find the answer from what you know and can find out. They don’t need someone to hold their hand, just someone to show them the way. That’s where the teacher comes in.

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4 Responses to Intrinisic Motivation with Drive

  1. Evan says:

    Thank you! I think that Type I students would love inquiry lessons where they can control what they focus on learning. The whole idea of students being able to learn what they are naturally intrinsically motivated to learn would really help encourage those Type I students.

  2. chenj18 says:

    Hi Evan,

    Great job on tying concepts from Drive to the classroom setting. I enjoyed reading about your take on reward systems and how you described the difference between type X and type I people. The way you tied it all up with what we’ve learned in inquiry was well-thought out too. What do you think an example science lesson that type I students would enjoy would look like?

  3. Evan says:

    Thank you! I think a good start to fostering autonomy is by giving them small choices, such as where they want to sit or who they want to work with. Then, something a bit bigger maybe what they want to investigate from a list of options. Once they’re used to that, I think I can really dive in and just ask them what they want to learn/do/make etc.

  4. Lauren Colliver says:

    Hi Evan,
    Nice post on intrinsic motivation in the classroom. I like how you focused on student autonomy as an important factor in cultivating intrinsic motivation. Students, especially adolescent students, want to make more decisions and choices on their own, and like you mentioned, often perform better when given more autonomy. How might you specifically foster autonomy in your own science classroom when students are accustomed to being told what to do?

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