Through the Education Lens

Are We Wrong About Motivation? Daniel Pink thinks so.

CJW, August 11, 2010 4:28 PM


Previously published by The Daily Riff

"Watch" Dan Pink's Book:  DRIVE

Do we really know what motivates us?  In the TED video below, Daniel Pink plays with our minds, challenging our notions of what makes us do more (or less) than we ever thought we would want to do.

It also gives us a glimpse into his book: DRIVE.  "There is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does" is the theme of this talk, dispelling the "alarming assumptions and protocols built around carrot and stick" incentives and rewards.

Pink is author of a classic and influential best-seller, A Whole New Mind,  praised by Tom Peters as "a miracle," and by New York Times columnist Tom Friedman as "my favorite business book".  This book hails the critical importance of creative right- brain talent and skills (Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, Meaning), as they relate to a post-industrial, global, tech-centric world.  It's message is as relevant as ever.

Using behavioral science studies and evidence-based research to back up his findings for DRIVE,  Pink lets us know he's not messing around - that these "facts" are not some touchy-feely hunch.  He slams extrinsic motivators, declaring that studies prove "higher incentives led to worse performance" because they actually block and dull creativity.  These type of rewards work best for routine, rule-based, easy to automate tasks, such as assembly line work.
According to Pink, intrinsic motivation - connected to interests, passions, and so importantly, the larger sense of purpose and "how it matters" in the bigger picture - is the far more powerful motivator.   When it comes to real business situations today - how to solve this problem, how to adapt to this new situation - intrinsic delivers the "knock-out" punch to extrinsic motivation, hands down.

While Pink's talk revolves around how we operate in business, why not apply these science-based findings toward kids' motivation and learning?   If we did, then could one expect that for routine, rule-based student tasks like rote memorization, extrinsic motivators such as grades and test scores work as a motivator?   Should we also expect that as we go up the cognitive skill ladder to more complex tasks such as real problem solving, are we using the wrong motivators that are actually stifling creativity, further exploration and innovation?   And, worse yet, real motivation to learn more?

Clearly, fear is always a motivator.  So, is loathing.  But, that is another book entirely.
                                                                          - C.J. Westerberg  

 Dan Pink's Edu-Bite:
Today's Three Key Motivators:  Autonomy, Sense of Mastery, Sense of Purpose. 

Video Below is 18 min. - quickly engages after intro


Post a Comment


Finland. Finnishflag.BobCompton.jpg

The Finland Phenomenon: Inside the World's Most Surprising School System

03.17.2014 | New update December 2, 2013 which includes Yong Zhao link and comments PLUS CNN videos Watch Now | Comments


Is Learning a Sport?

02.14.2014 | Students should not go to school to win - students should go to school to learn. Watch Now | Comments

It's Personal: How a Parent Perspective Changes Everything

12.09.2013 | "For every problem that technology solves, it sort of creates a new one." Watch Now | Comments

American Teacher: responding to students, environments and conditions

12.05.2013 | "There are very few schools that purposefully try to create lines and connections between different fields. The way most high schools are set up, you're in history class, and then the bell rings; then you go to science class, and then the bell rings." Watch Now | Comments

MIT Invention: Touch Through Your Screen

11.19.2013 | Future inForm?"inFORM is a Dynamic Shape Display that can render 3D content physically, so users can interact with digital information in a tangible way. inFORM can also interact with the physical world around it, for example moving objects on the... Watch Now | Comments

Qualities of Leadership: Entrepreneurs vs. Turn-around CEOs

11.15.2013 | Guess who needs more of the right stuff? Video via Biz Insider Watch Now | Comments


Parents: Are we sabotaging our own kids' math "ability"?

11.12.2013 | Many parents in the United States assume that (math ability) is just some kind of aptitude - some kids have it, some kids don't . . . The result is most of our kids (in the U.S.) don't do really well in Math . . ." Watch Now | Comments


Stigliz on Education

11.11.2013 | VIDEO: "We have an education system that is very dependent on where you live, where you live is very dependent on what you can afford . . . " Watch Now | Comments


A Response to: Is Your Child a "Warrior" or "Worrier"?

11.07.2013 | Why Some Kids Handle Test Pressure and Others . . . Not. Watch Now | Comments

Cool Smart Teen: Changing the conversation about building stuff

11.04.2013 | Not just building an app to play with . . . but a test for cancer Watch Now | Comments

Video: What is the link between "design-thinking" and creativity?

11.03.2013 | Creative Confidence: Must-Watch Interview on Charlie Rose Watch Now | Comments

Noam Chomsky: The Purpose of Education

10.31.2013 | "Education is really aimed at helping students get to the point where they can learn on their own. . . " Watch Now | Comments

Noam Chomsky: In the news again, this time about Twitter and High Schoolers

10.31.2013 | Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus at MIT, "father of linguistics", political commentator.  From bio: "Besides his work in linguistics, Chomsky is internationally recognized as one of the most critically engaged public intellectuals alive today":               ... Watch Now | Comments


Does your school have a beehive?

10.27.2013 | "If we want children to be inventors, we have to give them opportunities to invent." - 5:00 mark, Mission Hill video Watch Now | Comments

Sparks of Genius. Thirteen Thinking Tools.jpg

How the Arts Prepare for a Life's Work in any Discipline

10.23.2013 | The Arts in STEM learning: "I actually explained my whole theory of immunology to an entire art class at a college JUST through visuals and they GOT it. I have many more problems trying to explain it to my students through words in my immunology classes." -Dr. Robert Root-Bernstein Watch Now | Comments


CEO: Drawing Can Help One Think and Reflect

10.22.2013 | Great video from pandodaily, my new favorite tech site, about how the CEO of Deviant Art uses his artistic expression and journaling to help him think, reflect, organize or clear his head to work better. Watch Now | Comments

millennial. cell-phone.jpg

I Forgot My Phone: Viral Video

10.21.2013 | If you missed this one, do check it out below.26 million views and counting . . . two minute run-time.... Watch Now | Comments


ADHD: One in 5 high school boys diagnosed

10.18.2013 | Mental Steroids to the Rescue - - - - The Real Deal, "Pseudo-ADHD" and the Money Trail Watch Now | Comments

How I Teach Math and Dance at the Same Time

10.17.2013 | In this video below, dance moves are equated with having "pattern attributes". This connection is very reminiscent of what mathematician Paul Lockhart was referring to in "A Mathematician's Lament" about math being about pattern-making . . . and art.Isn't also... Watch Now | Comments


Tom Friedman: Think Like an Immigrant

10.14.2013 | Five Ways to Succeed in Life and Work Watch Now | Comments