Why people say “Internal Drive”

In my mind the word “Drive” is always correlated with motion in a positive direction. Cars drive to places we want to go. In this same way people are driven to act in certain ways. This drive that people feel every day either comes from an external source or an internal source.

Image result for car driving

In Daniel Pink’s book entitled “Drive” he speaks to these motivators at great length. But what do these motivators have to do with classrooms in the year 2019?

The traditional classroom has perfected the art in motivating students but, in my opinion, this is being done in all of the wrong ways.

Classrooms today:

  • Are arranged in systematic rows
  • Reward with points
  • Teach students “how to play the game”
  • Are Powerpoint filled
  • Claim their is no room for investigation or inquiry
  • Use high stakes tests as an excuse to stay within these “traditional” confines
Image result for classroom

Classrooms today motivate students in extrinsic ways, meaning that outside motivators are the reasoning behind their actions. They do their Chemistry homework to ensure they get the points not because they wish to improve their skills in balancing chemical equations or get satisfaction from solving the problem.

So as aspiring educators, what can we do to move away from these external drives and promote a culture of inquiry, internal desires and intrinsic motivation in classrooms of the future?

Before I answer that question, I want to give you one example stuck out to me that I believe could be applied to classrooms very effectively. This example is the “Wikipedia” example. It illustrates the phenomena that when people are compensated for their work it negatively affects their product. Meanwhile people who volunteer and are not compensated often times create a more powerful and effective product.

Image result for wikipedia intrinsic motivation

The people who make Wikipedia are totally motivated intrinsically. They have a large internal desire to inform and educate the world about subjects or topics that they are passionate about.

This internal passion and desire if what will make classrooms of the future so much more effective, powerful and enjoyable for all who are involved.

Classrooms of the future will:

  • Be autonomous
  • Encourage Inquiry
  • Promote self-discovery (What are you passionate about?)
  • Schedule time for student to work on Their projects
  • Have freedom and flexibility

Methods to do so:

  • Allow students to research what they want to do
  • Open ended prompts and inquiry sessions
  • Avoid “Cook Book” labs
  • Use points smarter (i.e reward going above and beyond)
  • Mix up the seating arrangements
  • Student collaboration
Image result for inquiry in science classrooms

Doing these things as well as understanding the differences of intrinsic and extrinsic motivators will push all of us to be better educators.

Education is not about points and all about the internal and intrinsic desire to learn and grow.


  1. Thanks for the comment Aaron! I think another way that students can collaborate with one another is cooperative learning. We have been talking a lot about it in class and I believe that it is a great way to get students to work together towards a common goal. They are also intrinsically motivated to do their work so that they do not let their teammates down!

  2. Great post Mason!

    It was a delight to read. I was wondering if you had an ideas on how you might be able to get students to effectively collaborate with one another? As well as what some of those benefits might be.

  3. I think that you make a lot of great points in this post. The way you broke this down with bulleted lists makes it easy for the reader to grasp the main points. The way you explained what intrinsic vs extrinsic motivations are was simple and concise. Well done 🙂

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