What drives a classroom? Daniel H. Pink, the author of New York Times best-seller, Drive helps us tackle this specific question. He uncovers the surprising truth about what truly motivates us.
We are going to dive into Motivation 3.0, but first what is Motivation 1.0 and Motivation 2.0? Motivation 1.0 is based on survival or biological reflexes. Pink made the connection that this type of motivation was prominent during early times when humans utilized hunting and gathering prior to the civilized society. Once society began modernizing and developing a new motivation was put in place to adapt to the changing world known as Motivation 2.0. Motivation 2.0 is based on the carrot and stick model where the source of motivation came from rewards and punishments. Pink drew the conclusion that this type of motivation relies on external forces including “if-then’ rewards. Like any great thing in our world, eventually, it is time for an upgrade. Our world continues to change and our motivation must adapt. Motivation 3.0 is based on humans’ drive to direct their own lives. This type of motivation focuses on internal forces including the following: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
- You are in control of what you do – our students are in control of what they do. Now, this isn’t a free pass for students to run wild through the halls or sleep all day because that is what they want to do. With learning, this allows students to focus on self-direction and possibly deciding topics they want to study.
- You are in control of how you do it – our students are in control of how they do it. If one student shows a great interest in acting out or performing skits, allow them to channel that into how they display their knowledge. For example, students could act out the water cycle or chemical reactions (each student representing a part).
- Improving your skills – students improving their skills. The desire to improve our skills and our students’ skills is the reason schools exist. (Most) students have a desire to learn and better themselves in something that matters to them whether that is to improve reading speed or understand titration.
- Improving yourself – students improving themselves. We can all improve in numerous areas of our lives, we just need to find the area that matters to us and improve there.
- This is when we are working towards something worthwhile. The desire to do what we do in the service to something larger than ourselves.
What does this look like in the classroom?
Increasing our students’ intrinsic motivation requires us to dig a little deeper as teachers and focus on what their interests are. You want to play into each student’s interests and allow for student choice. Allowing students to decide how they want to present or showcase their knowledge is an example of this. We want to turn our students into teachers.
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”– Albert Einstein