Friday, 30 July 2010

Driving Toward a New School Year

One of the best parts of summer is having more time to read.  Although I did spend my fair share of time reading mindless, "by the pool" books, I also enjoyed several intellectually stimulating reads as well.  One of those books was Drive by Daniel Pink.  Pink's book touts to provide a "strong, science-based case for rethinking motivation."  As an educator, I have always been challenged by what motivates students.  As a high school principal, I am now faced with the challenge of exploring not only what motivates students, but also what motivates adults.  It should be no surprise that students are not really that different from adults when it comes to motivation.
     Pink states that "enjoyment-based intrinsic motivation, namely how creative a person feels when working on a project, is the strongest and most pervasive driver.”  To me, this quote is applicable not only in the classroom, but also in the workplace.  This also led me to think about our technology initiative.  Our 1:1 environment gives students and teachers alike the opportunity to tap into that creativity and design a more autonomous work environment.  By nature we are wired to be curious and self-directed (Those of you who spent any time with a toddler this summer know exactly what I'm talking about!!), and it's a shame to think that it might actually be school that discourages this curiosity. As the new school year quickly approaches, I challenge us all to tap into that intrinsic motivation that engages us and makes us feel the excitement for learning that a small child understands so well.  
     Finally, on Leadership Day 2010 I am once again reminded that although technology is a wonderful tool, it is truly the emphasis on learning that will earn the greatest rewards.  I will leave you with a final thought-provoking quote from Drive, “If you believe intelligence is a fixed quantity, then every educational and professional encounter becomes a measure of how much you have.  If you believe intelligence is something you can increase, then the same encounters become opportunity for growth.”  I hope this school year will continue to provide countless opportunities to use technology for creative, engaging, and active learning for both our students and our adults!