Motivated to Learn

In the last 4 or 5 days Daniel Pink has been on my radar at least 3 times. Originally, I was introduced to Pink sometime last spring, when I purchased his book A Whole New Mind for my husband, (and partly myself). Yes, I’m attracted to left brain/right brain discourse, especially since I inherently lie at one end of the continuum, yet continuously find myself having to work somewhere in the middle. However, I never actually read Pink’s book because my husband, after reading it himself, summarized,  “It’s a business book, Deb.”

Recently, his TED talk The Surprising Science of Motivation was recommended by an educator on Twitter. Well, if you haven’t seen it already, please do. Needless to say I was wowed. My twitter retweet read, “Awesome Dan Pink Ted talk. How can we implement 20% or Fedex day in classroom? “ The following day I was alerted, again through an educator’s tweet, to the trailor (See video at top) for Pink’s new book Drive, What is my sentence? Am I better today than I was yesterday? What can I say, it spoke to me.

Just today I read “Carrots and Sticks are So Last Century”: A Conversation with Author Dan Pink in which Claus von Zastrow and Pink discuss Drive, motivation and yes… education. Full circle, right?

In response to a commenter who claims Pink’s thoughts are far from new and that we’d be better off considering peer-reviewed educational research to interpret, I remarked, “ … however, we are still living with a flawed educational system based on outdated philosophies that don’t work, long after Alfie Kohn’s writing on the subject. In our society money means power and business means money. The powers that be even see money as the result of a bettered education; the US economic stimulus plan includes money for education. Pink is a talented communicator and if he can makes things happen in business, people will take notice, and if those practices trickle down into education, so be it. Change is what we want, right?

Dan Pink’s writings and discussions may not have originally been meant to impact education and/or educators, but I’m hoping they will.  You see, teachers are most importantly learners, and we like to put what we learn into practice. Personally, I want to believe that intrinsic motivation works; it’s far more respectful, humanistic, and hopeful than nonsensical rewards.

Oh my, all this thought and I’ve yet to read either book! The good part is that now I won’t be troubled by reading them through an educator’s lens; it seems I’m not the only one. It all makes sense.

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