"...we're not destined to be passive and compliant. We're designed to be active and engaged. And we know that the richest experiences in our lives aren't when we're clamoring for validation from others, but when we're listening to our own voice - doing something that matters, doing it well, and doing it in the service of a cause larger than ourselves."
After reading this poignant piece on "the surprising truth about what motivates us," it doesn't seem like much of a surprise after all. Extrinsic motivators have always seemed like distractions from the true point of completing a task. Students have frequently asked, "what do I get now?" after completing various tasks or showing their skills in my math class. My patented response to this question has become a "high-five" or a "pat on the back." In other words, congrats on accomplishing your goal! I have never believed in providing outside rewards beyond the sheer satisfaction of completing the task itself. Study after study reveals that people lose the desire to complete tasks when rewards are removed, thus squashing any hope for a surge of intrinsic motivation.
The book continually points to the fact that trends in fields such as business and education have not caught up to what science knows after decades of research on human motivation. This unfortunate truth leaves many employees and students lacking adequate opportunities to live up their full potential. Hopefully we will start to see the slow shift to self-directed, purpose-driven environments that will lead us to more success, satisfaction, and fulfillment.
- Classroom management and classroom control are not the same thing
- Autonomy leads to mastery, while control creates compliant robots
- Autonomy does not necessarily equate to independence, but rather emphasizes choice and active engagement
- Carrot-and-stick motivators diminish creativity and intrinsic motivation and can lead to unethical behavior
- Students can thrive in an autonomous environment, but I will need to provide proper scaffolding to help them break free from the "school" mold that has inhibited their growth up to this point
- Since mastery is an asymptote, I need to help students focus on the process and growth along the way
- Students need consistent feedback and positive encouragement to move towards mastery
- Technology can be leveraged to assist in the process of self-directed learning
- It's not always about the "how" - think about the "why"
- Students need autonomy in 4 areas - time, task, team, and technique
- Create a sense of purpose in order to maximize fulfillment, satisfaction, and performance
"Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives."
"If we pluck people out of controlling environments, when they've known nothing else, and plop them in a ROWE (results-only work environment) or an environment of undiluted autonomy, they'll struggle. Organization must provide...'scaffolding' to help every (student) find his footing to make the transition."
"When the reward is the activity itself.....there are no shortcuts."
"Greatness and nearsightedness are incompatible."
"....it's often difficult to do something exceptionally well if we don't know the reasons we're doing it in the first place."