The Puzzle of Motivation

When I talk about engagement, I often recommend the book Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink. It’s a great read, explaining why people are more motivated by autonomy, the ability to seek mastery, and the desire to have purpose, than they are by traditional incentive systems.

It’s one of those books that is not about homeschooling but is somehow still about homeschooling. Or maybe more generally — about our society’s general approach to education and how we frequently ignore what research tells us about how people become engaged and learn.

If you’re interested in stimulating engagement in your family, another resource for learning about Pink’s ideas is his TED Talk (above), “The Puzzle of Motivation.”  He covers a lot of the same material in the talk that he writes about in a bit greater detail in his book, and you can get a good understanding of why you may want to re-think knee jerk approaches to “motivating” your children.

Both the book and the TED Talk are aimed at a business audience, but the lessons are there for educators, including homeschoolers.

You’ll see over in my Tools of Engagement page, that I list Pink’s motivators as among the things that can be used to help develop engagement in homeschooling families. Maximizing autonomy, providing opportunities for kids to gain mastery, and helping them find or feel a sense of purpose, are hallmarks of facilitating for engagement.



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