Human Beings are Naturally Motivated to Learn
Daily Insight Video
The natural state of a human being is to be motivated and to learn.
I just got off the phone with a parent who is interested in finding a coach for his son, and it is a story I have heard countless times. It goes something like this:
Last year, my child had okay grades during the spring, and when they started to feel the pressure, they began to work really hard. I have never seen my child work so hard, and I was so proud. I was so confident that they would continue this into the new school year. This year however, their motivation seems down. They keep telling me that it is okay, because when the time comes, they will be able to get everything done and they will get good grades again. That’s what happened last year, so it can happen this year!
I have seen this cycle over and over again. It happens a lot!
Part of the reason for this is that we conditionally motivate students. We tell them that if they put in the work, they will get a good grade. That kind of technique kills intrinsic, long term motivation.
This is something that we have to be able to acknowledge and work through. We need to be able to tap into our natural state of being motivated and creative in order to overcome the motivation we feel towards money or other extrinsic things. When we do things for reasons beyond money or grades, the quality of our work improves. That is when we do our best work!
The challenge while working with students is to get them to accept that grades are there, while also have them acknowledge that they need to be motivated by something more. Finding intrinsic motivation do math or learn a language can be difficult, but it is worth it.
Ultimately, people like what they understand. If we teach students how they learn best and what works well for them, their passion for learning will follow.