Saturday, May 16, 2015

Making a habit of accomplishment

I've been re-reading Charles Duhigg's The Power of Habit, and I've been seeing connections with Pink's Drive.

I was looking for connections, because it's not obvious how the concept of habits would connect to motivation by autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

But it hit me the other day, when I was thinking about how to merge the power of habit with the motivations I'm trying to build into my mastery-based biology class.

Duhigg tells the story of Febreze: It was a failure until the marketing team met a lady who used it every time she cleaned her house. She spritzed the bed with it when she finished making it. It was like the fresh smell indicated that the room was clean, and was linked to a sense of accomplishment. It's similar to the Pepsodent story--toothpaste caught on because Pepsodent left a tingly sensation in the mouth that people associated with clean teeth.

Duhigg says all habits are made of cues (triggers), routines, and rewards, and you have to use these 3 components when you build a new one or replace a bad one. In bio class, I've been working hard to create a routine of independent learning and project completion. I thought about how I could apply the Febreze/Pepsodent technique.

I need something students could physically do, and physically see when they complete a project, something that acts like a tingly sensation or fresh scent.

I came up with this chart on the board showing their progress toward completion of the unit projects. I asked them to color in their progress each day.

(I have no intention of this being a competitive thing. In fact, I told them as soon as everyone is done, we'll have a celebration. I intend to encourage them to help those who are behind.)

They loved the idea. All but a few were anxious to mark their progress.

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