Learning About Motivation

Published: 2011-10-10 01:01 |

Category: Grading |

As some of my followers noticed near the end of last week, I had a moment of weakness after my toughest class. I’ve been very frustrated with having to micromanage their learning using a flipped model, and it really has made me think hard. Long story short, I’m not giving up on a flipped class or a standards-based model, but I do need to make some major adjustments.

Scott MacClintic was great enough to take some of his afternoon to talk with me directly, and he strongly suggested that I read Daniel Pink’s Drive as it has to do with motivation in a variety of settings.

I bought the book that night.

I’m only about 1/3 of the way through right now, but I’ve learned some very important lessons already.

  1. I use too many “carrots and sticks” with my learners. I ask for creative, insightful work, but then I slap a grade on it, taking away all meaning of the work they’re doing. I’m trying to use bits and pieces from two conflicting worlds. No wonder I’ve been having problems.
  2. Grades and extra credit cannot be used to push learners forward. I find myself defaulting to the “you’re being graded on this” line to “motivate” my kids to do the work they’re supposed to be doing at the moment. Again, external pushing does not lead to higher thinking from learners. If they don’t see the value in it, why am I pushing it?
  3. Resist the urge to tighten my grip. I need to stop micromanaging the class and learn to co-manage with the learners. I want them to be self-directed, but I’m giving fewer and fewer opportunities rather than more and more. Learning from mistakes is important, but I need to give them chances to make mistakes in the first place.
Again, I’m only 1/3 of the way through, but I need to make some major shifts if I want to achieve my goals. RSA animate did a good video on the gist of the book that you can see here.

I’m sure this will be sparking more posts in the future.

Comments are always open. You can get in touch by sending me an email at brian@ohheybrian.com