Intrinsic Motivation

Autonomy, mastery and purpose – three keys to motivation.

It’s now seven years since Dan Pink’s powerful TED talk which took forward some of the principles discussed in his book “Drive”.

FedEx days, 20% time – these ideas have been around for a long time, including lots of interest in the practices at companies like Google.

So, what impact has all this had in education? Oh, ah, ummm. We’re still thinking about it. We’re still locked in to the mindset that says as much as we’d love engaged students pursuing what they’re passionate about, we’re not going to relinquish control over their time – all of it. because, ultimately, we don’t really trust them! We’ve created climates and environments in schools based on carrots and sticks, rewards and punishments (see Alfie Kohn’s book, “Punished By Rewards”) and ultimately – CONTROL. We must remain in control because in the climate of our schools too often if we let go of the control students who don’t find much purpose in what they’re doing will abuse that loss of control, waste their time and not produce what we insist they produce.

What will it take for us to challenge the paradigm of schools, control, time and create environments for real autonomy, mastery and purpose?

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