Friday, April 9, 2010

Two Questions...

Normally in this space I write about the tools we use to make learning easier, more fun or just plain better. But we all know that learning is not solely about the tools. We know (or at least we should) there are many dimensions to learning.

One of those dimensions that we often struggle with (for both students and teachers) is motivation. Helping students feel like learning is something they want to do and need to do. Helping teachers to think differently so they can teach differently. 

I am a big believer that motivation is mostly intrinsic. Meaning that it has to come from within. Don't get me wrong. We as educators can do a lot for our kids to help them find their motivation. But ultimately it is up to them to want to do. It is the same thing when trying to motivate educators. There is a certain amount that a district or administration can do to help teachers find their motivation. But again, ultimately it is up to the teacher to either to want to do or not. 

If you have not heard of Dan Pink take some time over the weekend to read about him. He is a fascinating author that, when you read him, really makes you think about yourself and your role in this world. I have been reading his latest book, Drive, for the past couple of days and have just been glued to my Kindle. The book centers around finding out what motivates us as humans and how to capitalize on that to have high satisfaction in work and at home. 

Before you take a look at the book there are 2 videos you need to see. 

The first is this one I found on Dan's website that really sums up some thinking I have been doing since my keynote at TeachMeet Nashville. The video is an excerpt from the book and but really could help to start a conversation with your kids or your staff. 

The other video is Dan speaking at TED. (If you don;t know what TED is, it brings together some amazing thinkers, doers, movers and shakers to have them talk about, really, whatever they want. There is a great website for all the TED videos and an awesome wiki for Teaching With TED.) Here is his also speaking about the book and more about motivation.

So think about those 2 things this weekend and head back here. I would love to know what your sentence is and how you think you could use this stuff with kids.


  1. I posted the first video on my blog a few weeks back and decided at the time that my sentence is "I reflect each day with the goal of being better the next". That's my personal sentence right now. It's draft 1 and I'm not sure that it encapsulates all aspects of my life. It's not quite strong enough but it's a work in progress.

  2. I am also looking at motivation for student learning and how do we get them to be motivated and what causes intrinsic motivation.

    Here are my thoughts on that:

  3. What I love about Dan Pink's "two questions" video is its simplicity. My first instinct of course is to think about this from an education point of view. How could someone teach the same way for 30 years in a row and never think they need improvement? Master teachers are the ones that are going to get up every morning and say, "How can I be better today than I was yesterday?" Teachers could have a different "sentence" every year. I'm sure they do whether they realize it or not. The students that leave our classrooms at the end of each semester or year I'm sure have a "sentence" for remembering us. But shouldn't every profession live by this? I refer back to my comment on the simplicity of this idea. What a great motto to live by!

  4. Just blogged about this- we had Dan Pink come to our school after he wrote A Whole New Mind-

  5. I used Dan Pink's first video here with my students in a blogging exercise. There sentences were inspiring!

  6. I have also found Pink inspiring. I just blogged about a talk I gave on motivation at a recent TEDxOntarioEd event hosted in London, Canada April 9, 2010. We were all asked to speak about how student motivation informed our work and lives.