Let’s start off with a moment of self reflection. What motivates you? What drives you? Why do you go to work? Why do you have hobbies? Is it for the money? For others? Or is it because it is because you are doing something you enjoy and truly want to do. Motivation beyond external factors such as money and praise, motivation that is self reliant and based in our desires is known as internal motivation.
Daniel H. Pink focuses on this topic of internal motivation in his book drive.
In his books, Pink discusses the need to renovate business management style. Gone are the days when employees are incentivised by bonuses, and raises. Instead, employees need to have intrinsic motivation to foster a successful company.
How does a company help promote intrinsic motivation? By providing employees with
- Opportunity for Mastery
- A Purpose
But what does a book about business management styles have to do with being an exemplary teacher in a successful classroom?
We need to utilize these techniques to motivate our students! Rather than offering them candy fr completing a worksheet, allow the satisfaction they receive from the completion be motivation in itself.
Out of all of the topics discussed by Pink, I think the most important method to increase motivation in the classroom is AUTONOMY.
What does AUTONOMY in a classroom look like?
- Giving students freedom with their time
- Giving students freedom with what they work on
- Giving students freedom with who they work with
What would the result of AUTONOMY in a classroom?
- Increase in student motivation
- Increase in student interest
- More personalized learning
- Foster independence
- Utilization of unique skills
- More exciting and dynamic classroom
- Overall, a more memorable learning experience
So.. how do we implement this idea of AUTONOMY into our own classes?
- Allow students to choose their own curriculum based projects
- Allow students to further research on what interests them, and then teach it to the class
- Present students with a problem to solve, and let them come up with ways they would like to try and solve it
- Allow for group work, but do not require it
- Provide opportunity for student’s to guide their own learning
- Create lesson plans based on student-centered learning
- Provide students with one day a week, month, quarter, etc, to create and work on whatever project they want (see video below)
“In the end, student’s are empowered” – I think this is the most important premise of autonomy in a classroom. Student’s are more interested, more motivated and overall more empowered in their learning. Autonomy in a classroom creates the ideal learning environment for our students. After all, that is our goal, right?