Saturday, July 6, 2013

Daniel Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation notes

My Online/Blended Education course asked participants to watch Daniel Pink's video on motivation and relate it to our work as educators.

Notes - 
  • Rewards narrow our focus and restrict our possibilities. The answer isn't right in front of us; it's on the periphery. 
  • The Candle Problem
  • Right brain matters. Do problems have a clear set of rules with a single solution? No. Answers are surprising and not obvious. We're all dealing with The Candle Problem. The If-Then Rewards don't work. This makes Daniel Pink crazy.
  • Higher rewards often lead to worse performance. This is not a socialist conspiracy here.
  • Get $ off the table and then give autonomy.
  • FedEx days =  You have 24 hours to work on anything you want and then you have to deliver something overnight. 1/2 the new products from Google in any given year are the result of this radical autonomy.
  • Daniel Pink describes autonomous use of time in a business world model that a teacher could never have: Teachers have to be present room 7:15-2:55 each day in an assigned room.
  • Science knows the drive to do things that matter creates more and better output. Carrots & Sticks are lazy. 
Q1: How might you incorporate autonomy, mastery, and purpose into your professional situation? 
A1: Enthusiasm and a conviction that this matters - the very characteristics Daniel Pink has about what he is saying - can spur internal motivation. Giving kids choice so they can use their right brain can lead to internal motivation.

Q2: What sort of results would you expect if you made this change? 
Q2: Well, before the results come in, I would have to be comfortable with uncertainty. How could you know what results to expect? Isn't that the whole point - that the unknown will surface and this unknown could be amazing, such as Google Earth was - both amazing and unexpected?

Final Word
The biggest takeaway for me is to be comfortable with the unknown. So much of what I could do next year as an English 9 teacher could be very prescriptive. Pink's message is a caveat to me to respect students as independent learners, processing knowledge without any input from me.

Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation notes

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