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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Managing with Intrinsic Motivation

Managing with Intrinsic Motivation

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Are there ways you manage using intrinsic motivation? I just finished reading Drive, by Daniel Pink. Here's an interesting synopsis video: In the book he says intrinsic motivation is sourced in self-direction, mastery, and purpose, not external rewards (the video describes this wayyy better than I could). He gives some tangible ideas of how to build an intrinsically motivated environment. Such environments serve student creativity and engagement. Any ways you build self-direction, mastery, and purpose in your classrooms -- in management and in instruction?

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Stephen's picture

I need help with how to get my students to believe they can do it on their own.

Rachel Pickett's picture
Rachel Pickett
10th grade Social Studies

I'm happy to do 'action research' together about this. I think what you say is common. I certainly experience it!

One of the most motivating things for my students is seeing another classmate finish a product. We post the finished products on the board, like a gallery, and it inspires students to believe they can do it too, and make their work look good... because they see that someone they know has finished and made it look pretty cool. Right now, most work my students do ultimately turns into a tangible and useful product that they've created... that demonstrates their learning and has some kind of purpose.

How do you create an environment of purpose in your classroom?

Hey, also... I'm working on a power point about intrinsic motivation, based on ideas in "Drive." Is there anyone who's interested in this topic, and wants to give feedback about the clarity, relevance, design, etc of a draft? I'd like the power point to define and develop ideas for implementing an intrinsically motivated classroom, and send it to my principal and interested educators who might want to utilize it, too.

Thanks ahead of time, for any time you could offer.

Uniel Critchley's picture

I would love to collaborate and look over your powerpoint on intrinsic motivation! I have been recently watching similar videos to the "Drive" one by on "Changing Educational Paradigms." It's uses the same RSA animation as this video and it is a wake up call for education that is so needed right now. Let me know if you'd like my email address or if you'd like feedback on the draft...

Rachel Pickett's picture
Rachel Pickett
10th grade Social Studies

I love Sir Ken Robinson! What TED videos are you watching?

I'd love your email address. Send me a message, and thanks :)

Andrea's picture

I watched the Youtube video of Daniel Pink's "Drive" that you had posted. I found it quite interesting that he finds autonomy, mastery, and purpose as the driving forces of intrinsic motivation, not external rewards. It seems that many schools often resort to the latter form of motivation. His explanation reminded me of some ways that I have used autonomy in my classroom. I find that my students respond well to "menu activities" in which they get to choose an assignment from a list that will demonstrate their understanding of a concept. I have used this mainly in my reading class and have received positive results. Sometimes it is challenging to create enough choices for assignments, especially since I try to include a variety of learning styles. Despite this challenge, I do notice a change in their motivation and find it worthwhile.

Bob Sullo's picture
Bob Sullo
author, educational consultant

For the past 25 years, I have been writing about and teaching internal motivation. In fact, Dan Pink recommends my most recent book, "The Motivated Student" in his new, expanded edition of "Drive" that just came out yesterday. Without going off on too much of a tangent, let me simply suggest that fostering internal motivation is the single most important issue in education today. I'm delighted that you are all part of this group and exploring these ideas. We have great curriculum and great instructional practices and still a horrendous dropout rate and a huge population of "enrolled dropouts," those kids who remain in school but produce very little while disrupting others and draining teachers of their energy. Please check out my website ( to get more information. On the "videos" page, you'll have a chance to watch a short series related to internal motivation and another video of my recent session from the ASCD Annual Conference in San Francisco entitled "The Motivated Student: Five Strategies to Inspire." I hope this will help you get started on the most important journey of your professional lives. All the best....bob

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