11 January 2011

Interesting reads: Drive by Daniel H. Pink

Although this non-fiction text deals with some weighty motivation theory, it is presented in layman’s terms, making it easy for readers to grasp the concepts. The author makes an argument that traditional ways of motivating people are simply outdated and no longer suit the environment of today’s worker (student /employee /etc).
Drive asserts that people working on a task need three variables to ensure their motivation is at its peak: autonomy, mastery, purpose. This is an enlightening text in many ways, short enough to read quickly but impressive enough to influence the way I approached certain elements of teaching.

During 2010 I structured the tasks for one particular class differently in order to provide them with greater autonomy. Whilst I have done this before in my teaching, Pink's ideas influenced my decision to provide varying levels of structure. The class comprised of high achieving Year 10 English students. It was remarkable how well they  responded to the lessons where they chose the activity on which they would be working. Where I gave less structure than usual, students still responded with innovative, conceptual presentations. As long as they knew the purpose, and understood how the task would increase their mastery, they worked diligently. 

I found that Drive also encourages reflection on today’s working environment.  More of that in another post. 

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