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Motivation and Transcendent Purpose

What Motivates Us?

In the video above, Daniel Pink talks about the science of what motivates us. According to Pink when people are given monetary rewards for complex cognitive tasks requiring conceptual thinking and creativity, the rewards result in poorer performance. He says the best thing is to pay people enough so that monetary issues are taken off the table. In EduCitizenship 2020's proposal, we have argued previously that teachers should be trained well and given good salaries. Along with those decent salaries, teachers need to be given the respect that their training and experience deserves. Pink argues in the video that to get engagement, people should be given autonomy and challenge. The educational environment certainly offers challenge, but when teachers are given monetary incentives (Merit Pay) for obtaining high grades in their students standardized tests, from Pink's research we could extrapolate that this would be demotivating. In this situation, teachers are focusing on details and content on the tests. There is little autonomy in that.

Pink also uses the example of the open source movement where people are willing to work together and sometimes alone to create and improve open source resources. He believes that when there is a transcendent purpose the best thing is to get out of the way and allow those who have an interest to create and collaborate. For a productive and sustainable education, administrators and overseers of education need to foster the creativity of those in the community. Just as teachers must move to allow constructive principles to live in their classrooms so that students can be the producers and creators they want to be, administrators too must learn to get out of the way to allow teachers to produce and create the learning environments of the future.

Jane Hart in a November 2010 article //The New Era of Workplace Learning// discusses the increasing importance of social learning. She equates social learning to working smarter and sees it as a key to sustainability and innovation. But social learning isn't necessarily controlled by organizations; it's owned by the individuals who learn every day from those they work with and from the work they do. Hart suggests 5 ways to foster innovative employees and learners:

  1. Encourage and support individuals' and teams self-sufficiency to address their own learning and performance problems (relinquish control and trust people to learn and do their jobs)
  2. Help develop autonomous workers ( some will be self directed but others will need to learn new literacies to effectively use social tools)
  3. Provide performance consulting services, where individuals and teams need help in addressing their own learning and performance problems
  4. Rethink the use of learning tools and systems (learning needs to be integrated into work. Organizations may provide secure social networks but they shouldn't ignore social networks on the open internet)
  5. Help to develop an open, enabling culture for working and learning (Michael Lauscette in The Social Employee Manifesto says, "“Old approaches to managing employees, with their roots in the industrial society are not adequate for hyper-connected, socially aware employees. We need a new paradigm for getting things done and for empowering a new breed of employee that does not function well in a hierarchical, top down, highly controlled environment."

According to Lauscette, social employees of the future need coaches and mentors not bosses; they need freedom and autonomy; an inclusive decision making culture, flexibility in work; management to successful outcomes, not fixed methods. They need openness transparency and community.

When all those who work in education accept and respect each others' valuable input as equal partners, then it will be easier for the community, government bodies and businesses to join together with educators in a singular purpose and learning partnership.

Next up, Data Driven Decision Making