Motivation is a critical, yet somewhat unknown component in successful teaching.  Although this video is geared toward corporate organizations, there are many interesting points that can be applied to education.  The video narrated by Dan Pink is 11 minute video long.

Important points from the video

  • When Rudimentary Cognitive Skill is needed, a larger reward leads to poorer performance
  • Incentives can have an opposite effect than expected – Students concentrating on grades will do worse than those concentrating on subject matter.
  • 3 Factors that lead to better performance and personal satisfaction are:
    • Autonomy – Self Direction
    • Mastery – We like to get better at stuff
    • Purpose – We are animated and driven by what we do

When motivating students, you want to avoid “extrinsic” motivators such as rewards, and make sure they are not concentrating on grades, scholarships, or the brownies that have been brought in to reward students.

Instead use “intrinsic” motivators, such as making lessons as interesting as possible, and helping students to feel good about what they are learning.  Humor in the classroom will go further to motivate a student than donuts!

Go ahead and comment and tell us what you do in the classroom to motivate students!!