Classrooms all across the world struggle with making sure students are properly motivated to learn. Every student is different but intrinsic motivation, or motivation from within, time and time again has been an essential part of ensuring student learning and understanding.
Extrinsic rewards like good grades and candy only give temporary encouragement to students, while doing things like giving praise and useful feedback are way more effective at promoting intrinsic motivation that can last throughout a person’s life!
One key idea that’s talked about in the video above and in Drive by Daniel Pink is the idea of autonomy. People like having a choice and they perform better when they do. Using the “carrot and stick” method talked about in Drive is only useful to a point, and where the lines are clearly drawn, but learning is not usually like that. Learning involves asking questions and investigating the answers, and for this students need choice. This can be as simple as letting them decide where they want to sit to what they want to investigate for a lab or project.
If students can be autonomous and want to master a skill or topic intrinsically, they are definitely a Type I person. Type I’s are very intrinsically motivated and are constantly pushing themselves to be the best that they can without the promise of any more reward than internal. Type X’s, on the other hand, almost require extrinsic motivation and external rewards to do or learn anything. These people usually get it done in the short-term, but it’s definitely no way to live your life. Inquiry is a big way to encourage your students to become Type I people. Inquiry is all about asking questions that matter to you and figuring out how to find the answer from what you know and can find out. They don’t need someone to hold their hand, just someone to show them the way. That’s where the teacher comes in.