Intrinsic motivation – the new killer app in all of us

For quite some time I’ve been marvelling at the ability of intrinsic motivation to produce great results.  I watched my students last year make a concert happen in six weeks when we joined Project Global Cooling and we had a set time frame to work towards. It wasn’t part of the curriculum, it wasn’t assessed, and yet they worked themselves into the ground to pull it off  because they believed in what they were doing. I saw a similar thing happen this year with the Sleepout 4 Schools initiative our Yr 9 students ran.

I’ve experienced it first hand. Writing this blog is fuelled by intrinsic motivation. I don’t get paid for it, I don’t even know who is reading it half the time, and yet I plough on because there is personal satisfaction in doing it. I’m intrinsically motivated and there is no doubt my workplace is at an advantage because of this. I take what I learn back there.  

Dan Pink presented a TED talk in July talking about the results that businesses can achieve when workers are intrinsically motivated. It’s fascinating and will form the basis of a new book he is releasing in December this year.  Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us. Garr Reynolds has written a post about this  – it led me to Dan’s TED talk.

Unfortunately the ROWE (results only work environment) idea that Dan refers to isn’t going to apply to teaching anytime soon. I’d love to see Google’s approach applied though in school settings. Right now I need the 20% ‘Google time’ to discover new ideas that can be applied to education.  If I were still paid my wage, but given the equivalent of a day to mine my personal learning network for ideas applicable to teaching and learning, then I think that’s a good investment made. This constant working 24/7 approach is wearing thin but intrinsic motivation keeps me going!

Watch. Learn. Find your intrinsic motivation.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Intrinsic motivation – the new killer app in all of us

  1. Lynn Swannell

    I’m intrinsically motivated already just reading your article! I’ve only been blogging for a nanosecond compared to some and really don’t have many followers, but I started feeling guilty today about not putting a new post up this week. Time to get to work.

  2. It’s an interesting phenomenon – intrinsic motivation. I’ve read your post with great interest. I feel the same way as you do, Jenny, about the blogging and the way I function online now. Who for? Not that important. I couldn’t stop doing it. I even do it when I’m sick. Some people think I have a problem. There’s just so much to keep up with and so much people are doing and sharing. How can we encourage this instrinsic motivation at school in our students (and teachers)? You’re doing it already. I’m learning.

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