Wednesday, January 28, 2015

That elusive motivation

Ever since reading Drive, I've been trying to change my approach to motivating students. I no longer want to motivate them with threats of point deductions and lures of higher grades.

But is it really realistic to expect they will be motivated to do their school work simply because I tap into their desire for autonomy, mastery, and purpose?

I mean, what would they do if there were no grades or accountability at all--if they just came to class and didn't have to do anything?

Ahh, that's the crux of the issue, isn't it. Something's wrong with school because learning is supposed to be inherently interesting and fun. But it's not, and why?

Is it just because we ask them to think too hard, as Hattie and Yates suggest?

Or is it because we really don't supply them with sufficient autonomy, opportunity for real mastery, or purpose?

If that's it, then I guess it is realistic to suppose that autonomy, mastery, and purpose could be sufficient, if...

If we provide them enough autonomy, enough time to master things they consider meaningful, things that have real purpose.

Unfortunately, these three things are not easy to provide in the current system (which is why it needs to change).

Until then, my plan is to minimize the credit/grade-based penal system, maximize autonomy, mastery, and purpose, and work towards a more authentic, more human system.

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