Recently I’ve been rereading Daniel Pink’s book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.   He reports the science related to motivation, clarifying that people are driven by the desire for autonomy, mastery, and purpose.   When we offer additional rewards for doing an activity, whether it is taking out the trash, reading a book, or teaching a skill, this implies that the activity is otherwise not worth doing.  The reward tends to diminish whatever intrinsic enjoyment the activity offered.   It is interesting research and it has important implications for education.

Years ago I heard Mark Sanborn speak and he said something along these lines. . .  When many of us began as educators, we might have assumed that our primary task was to help children learn.   However, upon further reflection, and considering the pace at which knowledge is expanding and the world is changing, we may have come to the realization that it is much more important that children learn how to learn.   But with time and still further reflection it has become clear that the only way ongoing learning will occur is if children learn to love learning.

So then,

Our primary task is not to help children learn,

It is not even to help children learn how to learn.

Rather our highest priority is to help children learn to love learning.


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