Thursday, March 15, 2012

Outside Motivation

One of the interesting things that I have learned is how our society is built upon what is called extrinsic motivation. Those of us with limited vocabulary would say that means we are trained to believe we can only be motivated to learn by either outside punishment or reward. Exactly the reason I mentioned the other day as being the reason I am going back to school in the first place, so I am guilty of being dependent on something else to motivate me.

I admit I have become too dependent on the external reward or punishment system so now my goal for when I do finish up my master's degree is that I can break out on my own (be a big girl now!) and not have an assignment due date or threat of a bad grade being the only reason I can accomplish something. When I get that figured out (maybe in the next life), then I want to somehow influence our education system to focus more on intrinsic motivation so that students come away with a passion for learning and doing something significant with what they have learned to influence the world, instead of just the focus of high test scores and grades that research has found a high percentage of students are cheating to obtain.

I have found it interesting that the more we tend to take away that intrinsic love of learning and internal motivation, the more rewards and punishments we have to tack on to get students to jump through the hoops. Thus we train students not to really learn to enjoy the experience but only depend on the final grade and someone else as their means of motivation and measure for success.

As I also study positive psychology, it becomes more and more important that we are present in the moment and truly enjoy the experience. Unfortunately with the focus on proving ourselves to get external measures based on the final results of our efforts, the less we can enjoy what we are doing and thus settle for the boredom or stress that external focus seem to promote.

Okay, I will step off my soapbox.

1 comment:

Christina said...

Have you read the book "DRIVE"? Very interesting about motivation. And an easy read.