In today’s society, we are oftentimes only focusing on extrinsic motivation. What do we have to do in order to receive rewards and avoid punishment? Sure, this is fine for routine and mindless mechanical tasks but this is not realistic for longterm meaningful motivation. The most impactful and meaningful motivation is intrinsic. Why does this matter? How can we incorporate these principles into our classrooms? Daniel Pink tells us all about this in his New York Times best selling book, Drive.
Why does this Matter?
Intrinsic motivation is all about the desire to create, learn, and better the world around us. This is exactly what educators should want for their students. When intrinsic motivation is fostered in the classroom it allows students to gain a deeper understanding of the topics that are being presented and relate them to the real world while also encouraging curiosity and wonder. Pink suggests that we help our students move toward autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
- Autonomy – The desire to direct our own lives and do what’s best for ourselves and our specific needs. Students will be more engaged if they are able to take ownership of their learning.
- Mastery – The desire to get better and better at something important to you. Students’ individual progress will motivate them to push further with their learning.
- Purpose – The desire to serve something larger than ourselves. Students should be able to answer the questions, “Why am I learning this?” and “How is it relevant to the world I live in now?”. When students can understand the bigger picture their learning becomes more purposeful.
How can we Incorporate these Principles into our Classrooms?
- At the beginning of the year have students pick a topic that they are interested in that relates to the subject matter of the class. They should do their own research and produce a project of their choosing ie. creating a video, piece of art, bulletin board, infographic, etc. At the end of the year, students can present their projects to the class and share their learning journey
- At the end of a unit have students take turns teaching what they have learned during the unit to their fellow classmates.
- Before the start of each unit have students write down and discuss the WHY and the real world applications of what they are about to learn.
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