We all know that carrots and sticks only work to motivate people for some things, sometimes and do not work well in the long run; yet many families and schools are based on this concept:
If you turn in your homework, you get to go to recess.
If you study hard, you get a good grade.
If you clean your room, you get dessert.
If you do this, you get that.
Some carrots are directly connected to the stick and others are more random. Either way, it boils down to bribing people to do something; taking the intrinsic love for the task at hand away.
Learning because it is fun and challenging to try, try and keep trying!
Cleaning our rooms because there is a freshness and sense of order.
After reading Drive, by Daniel Pink, many of the aspects to intrinsic motivation became clearer to me. He outlines that people need autonomy, mastery and purpose to have intrinsic motivation in place. These three concepts he calls the "nutrients" of a Type I (intrinsically motivated person).
As educators, who mostly grew up with the carrot and stick model, we need to carefully review our practises starting with our words and actions at 7:30 in the morning when we walk on to campus. Changing our culture from promoting extrinsically motivated children to intrinsically motivated children is a huge challenge. Daniel Pink states, "All kids start out as curious self directed Type Is. But many end up as disengaged compliant Type Xs (extrinsically motivated person)."
When planning Professional Learning for the teachers I work with, my goal is for them to love coming! I do not want them to come because they are required to in order to fulfill the requirements of their pay checks. I want them to come because they want to. I need to be sure that the nutrients for Intrinsic motivation are in place: autonomy, purpose and mastery. When planning this most recent session, I thought about each nutrient, how can I address this need?
Autonomy: How can I create space for self-guided learning?
Purpose: Why will this learning matter in the big picture and benefit others?
Mastery: We are starting our PYP journey, what are the foundations that we need to learn?
The 2 1/2 hour Professional Learning was mostly self-directed. I found many resources (articles and videos) on two foundational concepts of the PYP- international mindedness and the learner profile. The teachers worked with the resources how they learn best: by themselves, in groups, listening and watching or reading. In the given amount of time to learn, they explored the concepts that lead to mastery of PYP and provide purpose to education. At first, the room was silent and every started reading by themselves, after a while, I heard some people start talking and by the second topic started, the teachers were learning and sharing. I heard one teacher say, "Look at this great blog I found! This teacher has such a great idea with a terrarium to collect student ideas." Some teachers were sharing headphones to watch and discuss videos together, some teachers drew their ideas on the tables to who their thinking, some teachers read an article paragraph by paragraph with a partner. I believe that all the nutrients were in place and teachers responded expressing intrinsic motivation to learn and participate in the Professional Learning.
I hope that teachers can take some of these practices and feelings into their classrooms and we can continue to build a culture of intrinsic motivation.