I really do not know what motivates me but I am, most people would say, ‘motivated’ and very enthusiastic.

For some things.

I am sure that the things I enjoy give me the satisfaction of, to paraphrase Kipling, filling the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run but it is hard to define or understand.

RSA Animate has been exciting educators, well everyone actually, for some time now and I have regularly, as have many bloggers, posted their animations. Watch their latest effort exploring, what motivates us. 

I am particularly interested in motivating students and colleagues and to this end, have recently been listening to Daniel Pink‘s, Drive and was thrilled to see his ideas animated. Like you, I deeply value autonomy, desire mastery and need, deeply need, a sense of purpose. 

What motivates you? What motivates those around you?

How are we motivating students, especially if concerned about the ‘factory’ nature of schooling, with measurement of outcomes and performance via neverending assessment tasks?

Is your school the kind of place that values and provides opportunities reflecting Pink’s ideas? One cannot blame the system, or at least, not in good conscience, without doing something positive to assist students have a sense of autonomy to seek mastery in the areas that provide them with a sense of purpose.

Do you have it very wrong ‘at your place’? What can you do?



  1. Darcy,

    I think motivation may be one the keys to real learning and real Ed reform. I wish all teachers and Ed Reformers would read the book while thinking about education.

    I posted my thoughts about Drive just the other day. I hope you find it useful.



  2. For more on Daniel Pink’s “Drive” see my author approved summary.

    • Stu

    • 13 years ago

    I didn’t get motivated until AFTER I finished school and university and got my first job. In the real-world setting, I was able to see exactly what my achievements meant to others – until I had a real-world audience (my co-workers and clients) I could not see the point of striving to do better. And that motivation has stayed with me ever since, particularly because in my job, my clients keep changing. In the classroom, I believe we must give meaning to the work we expect the students to do. Meanings are interpreted differently by different students, but ultimately, connecting projects to people or tangible real goals that will have ongoing value is all the motivation students need. Think about youth demonstrations – those kids are motivated. Why? Because there’s a cause – a tangible real goal. That’s what needs to be encapsulated in school work.

  3. I am very simple. Enthusiasm as “the god within” just works. It does partner curiosity because I love to find out how things works. Lastly “I wonder what is going to happen next?” is a constant subtext to investing time and imagination into my efforts.

  4. Thanks for the link to the video. I’m waiting for the paperback to come out soon. As for your questions, my school couldn’t be doing it more wrong and it’s the battle I struggle with every day. Motivatinfg kids in a traditional 7 period rat race day is a challenge indedled. But hey, that’s the art of teaching.

    • Darcy Moore

    • 13 years ago

    Intrinsic motivation is so powerful, I fear what Justin relays is the reality for most kids in most schools. We just can’t or wont say it and need to change this reality NOW!

    Thanks Larry, I think this is the first time you have posted at my blog and I look forward to your posts appearing in my reader.

    You seem highly motivated, Stu, in fact, extraordinarily so. I liked reading the novels in high school – often finishing them the night of issue – but not doing questions on every chapter. I was a great one for starting courses properly, at uni, when they were finished, if that makes sense. I read far more History in the holidays than I vever did during semester time. Always liked Maths until I lost interest at 16 in repetitive exercises (took me longer than most, I guess). At primary school, sprinkling sparkly stuff on cardboard did not appeal and I had poor handwriting – so that, as any primary school teacher will deny, was that ;O) Teaching motivated me, probably due to the sense of autonomy and purpose – and the need for mastery, if one was to (have students) flourish in the classroom.

    I see the world in a similar way, Victor – but would use more secular language ;O)

      • Roberta McLeod

      • 13 years ago

      Hi Darcy, I teach with the enigmatic Bianca who introduced me briefly to you at an ETA meet last year. As an English teacher I think BIG ideas are the way to engage with students. This is where I am at. The first step is to find out what they think, extend it with great texts (HA-budget I know) then get them to write about it. I failed primary (similiar level of engagement to you) but it was high school where I really came alive and was challenged to think, express, argue. Of course as Justin M. comments, it was being in the debates and plays out of class time, that really engaged me.

      We changed how we program in our Eng Dep by getting the whole year to do the same text/ unit at the same time so the whole year could discuss what was happening in Eng. We are also concentrating on scaffolding and modelling how to write.

      Bianca has also switched us onto Edmodo which is a great FREE educatial social networking site. I have found this great for the shy or introverted kids who like peace to reflect on their ideas or like typing rather than talking in the classroom. You can also post extension or motivational Youtube clips or articles which your class can comment on. It is a teacher controlled site. teaching teenagers is always a challenge as they are always at the mercy of hormones, friends, family and genetics! It would probably be good to read up on what makes a great leader. I am a big fan of Weary Dunlop. He just led by example and got on with it. So go the educational reformers and classroom teachers!
      Just being on this site means you are all enthusiastic role models.
      So listen and value each student, teach them explicitly how to write so the success helps them remain engaged and leave the classroom (with them) sometimes.

    • Darcy Moore

    • 13 years ago

    Hello Roberta,

    Yes, I remember meeting you and thanks for commenting at my blog. I agree with you and believe modelling the change you wish to see in others is essential. Weary Dunlop has the most extraordinary level of respect in Australia and from others who know his part in helping his comrades. I really should read his autobiography.

    Bianca really is doing a good job connecting and sharing. I love her enthusiasm and honesty!

    You blogging? 🙂

    • Alexis Brett

    • 13 years ago

    I’m putting together a list of the top 100 administrator blogs and I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions via e-mail to include more information in my article. Please e-mail me and include the title of your blog in the e-mail, thanks!

      • Darcy Moore

      • 13 years ago

      Where will the article be published, Alexis? 🙂

  5. […] * Creating and encouraging independent, tech-savvy, self-motivated learners: Year 7 especially will be enthusiastic and keen. Try and give them ideas about how they can independently engage with learning in areas they feel passionate about. Talk up the need to pursue your learning passions independently, as well as formally. Great teachers inspire others and know how to connect. They motivate others. […]

  6. […] or mandates. Virtuous circles are powerful. There’s not time for a discussion here but Daniel Pink’s ideas are worth […]

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