Before diving in, it’s important to note that today’s post center’s around Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink. It’s worth the read if you haven’t already!
Often times students are motivated to do well in classes so that they can get a good grade, pass the class, and graduate. The goal never seems to be about learning, but about “getting out.”
Students therefore become extrinsically motivated.
What is extrinsic motivation?
“The problem with making an extrinsic reward the only destination that matters is that some people will choose the quickest route there, even if it means taking the low road. Indeed, most of the scandals and misbehavior that have seemed endemic to modern life involve shortcuts.”― Daniel Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Extrinsically motivated students are more compelled to take short cuts, to look up answers, to find ways to cheat. Students are just looking for a reward.
The goal is for extrinsically motivated students to get to the end of the task, not to understand the journey it takes to get there.
We want to shift away from this traditional extrinsic motivation in the classroom. So, if we want to shift away from extrinsic motivation, what are we shifting towards?
The answer: Intrinsic Motivation
What is intrinsic motivation?
“Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.”― Daniel H. Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Intrinsically motivated students are motivated to learn because they are interested in what and how they are learning. These students are interested in the journey more than they are interested in the end result.
Why focus on intrinsic motivation?
“When the reward is the activity itself–deepening learning, delighting customers, doing one’s best–there are no shortcuts.”― Daniel H. Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Intrinsic motivation leads to:
- Persistence: Because tasks are being completed for personal sense of accomplishment, students are more likely to persist through than if they were extrinsically motivated.
- Engagement: Students are more engaged in what they are learning because there is a personal connection.
- Learning efficacy: When students are intrinsically motivated they’re learning potential increases.
- Better performance: When you students are trying harder, pushing further, and are more engaged students will perform better in class.
Want to learn more? Check out this article on intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation.
How to find intrinsic motivation in the classroom?
“Management isn’t about walking around and seeing if people are in their offices… It’s about creating conditions for people to do their best work.”―Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
As teachers, we functions as managers of our students and walking around making sure students are quietly working through a work packet is not going to intrinsically motivate students. We have to create a classroom that allows students to create their best work. What suggestions do you have to create a classroom environment that helps students create their best work?
I like this article from EDUTopia that explains how to help students build intrinsic motivation and suggest you give it a read!
Is it ever worth it to use extrinsic motivation in the classroom?
Extrinsic motivation can be used in the classroom. But it’s important to understand how to use extrinsic motivation.
- Use it sparingly; it should not be the only form of motivation in your classroom
- Make it a surprise; when students don’t know it’s coming they can still find intrinsic motivation
- When students need short term motivation; extrinsic motivation can help motivate students towards one specific goal
- When it can lead to intrinsic motivation; Saying things like “You made a really good point,” “The work you did was very strong,” function like extrinsic motivation, but can lead to intrinsic motivation.
How will you find your intrinsic motivation and help your students find theirs?
See you next week,