Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.

7.21.2015

It's Funny


 . . . how motivation seems to be driven by the same factors regardless of circumstances.  Recently I was reading an article (more below) about children, schools, behavior, and discipline.  It included the following sentence: University of Rochester psychologist Ed Deci, for example, found that teachers who aim to control students' behavior—rather than helping them control it themselves—undermine the very elements that are essential for motivation: autonomy, a sense of competence, and a capacity to relate to others.

"Autonomy, a sense of competence, and a capacity to relate to others."  That seems awfully familiar.

Consider this, from Daniel Pink's website about his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us: Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of life. He demonstrates that while carrots and sticks worked successfully in the twentieth century, that’s precisely the wrong way to motivate people for today’s challenges. In Drive, he examines the three elements of true motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose—and offers smart and surprising techniques for putting these into action.

"Autonomy, a sense of competence, and a capacity to relate to others" vs. "Autonomy, mastery, and purpose."

Yes, quite familiar.

I've written: Workplace motivation is the same as school-based learning is the same as personal motivation is the same as independent learning is the same as reading pleasure and recreational activities and play and creating and coming to grips with all kinds of change, personal, institutional, and societal.  It's a process.  A personal investment.  A choice.  An action.  A journey to an outcome.  And if you try to skip that journey and head straight to the outcome, give people the answer without the process, none of it will amount to much of anything.

The more I see, the more I see the same.

The question remains: How to put it into action?

The question remains.

The source of my quote above, which includes much more about Drive and links to even more about Drive, is previous post Active, Not Passive; Autonomy, Not Subordination.  The source of the quote at the top from the recent article about children, schools, behavior, and discipline, along with more context, is:
What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?

Negative consequences, timeouts, and punishment just make bad behavior worse. But a new approach really works. . . . 

Contemporary psychological studies suggest that, far from resolving children's behavior problems, these standard disciplinary methods often exacerbate them. They sacrifice long-term goals (student behavior improving for good) for short-term gain—momentary peace in the classroom.

University of Rochester psychologist Ed Deci, for example, found that teachers who aim to control students' behavior—rather than helping them control it themselves—undermine the very elements that are essential for motivation: autonomy, a sense of competence, and a capacity to relate to others. This, in turn, means they have a harder time learning self-control, an essential skill for long-term success. Stanford University's Carol Dweck, a developmental and social psychologist, has demonstrated that even rewards—gold stars and the like—can erode children's motivation and performance by shifting the focus to what the teacher thinks, rather than the intrinsic rewards of learning. . . .

Under Greene's philosophy, you'd no more punish a child for yelling out in class or jumping out of his seat repeatedly than you would if he bombed a spelling test. You'd talk with the kid to figure out the reasons for the outburst (was he worried he would forget what he wanted to say?), then brainstorm alternative strategies for the next time he felt that way. The goal is to get to the root of the problem, not to discipline a kid for the way his brain is wired.

"This approach really captures a couple of the main themes that are appearing in the literature with increasing frequency," says Russell Skiba, a psychology professor and director of the Equity Project at Indiana University. He explains that focusing on problem solving instead of punishment is now seen as key to successful discipline.

If Greene's approach is correct, then the educators who continue to argue over the appropriate balance of incentives and consequences may be debating the wrong thing entirely. After all, what good does it do to punish a child who literally hasn't yet acquired the brain functions required to control his behavior?

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