(Photo credit: https://bit.ly/2K6j8cm)
If there is any one rule that fits almost all of humanity it has to be that everyone wants to be motivated, in whatever way that person feels is their motivation they will seek it out. The question for any future teacher is – how to hone in on all these different motivations.
The first thing to do is to identify what these motivations are, however the problem that most people face is that there are too many motivations and even more excuses. So let’s take a brief look at what the common motivations are:
According to Daniel H. Pink in his book Drive, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drive:_The_Surprising_Truth_About_What_Motivates_Us) there are three main motivations:
- Autonomy — Our desire to be self directed. It increases engagement over compliance.
- Mastery — The urge to get better skills.
- Purpose — The desire to do something that has meaning and is important.
His book details the key motivations that workers are seeking when engaging in work. These are also important in our life’s journey also.
Generally, we seek to be in charge of our own life, to be good at something and to feel that our productivity is making a difference somehow. All these can work together or they can be separate from each other, but all of us do seek these things.
Our education system has to reflect this, however more often than not it’s focus is not balanced and falls too much into the mastery category. All our secondary school education is based on mastery, with very little independence and questioning why. This worked very well when we were building our society with a massive range of ‘compliers’ who only wanted a job to attain enough money to buy what they personally wanted. This was the manufacturing world building the material world, and cold and vicious cycle.
The material world still exists however, but how much to we really need nowadays. Yes there are plenty of people who would like better living conditions, better driving efficiency and so on, but these are all things that are for most people in the developed world, available to attain. However, ultimately today’s generation are not quite as interested in material gains as they used to be, they are more interested in asking the final question – why?
The why question is supremely important for future learning. Teachers need to foster it everywhere and never diminish any answer no matter how uninformed it is. The key point of future learning is exploration and discovery. Thank goodness we have an increasing number of technologies to help us find out some answers to our ‘Why’ questions, and when we get an answer to our Why question we do find meaning and purpose in what we are doing.
The hardest step of course for any teacher is to get their student to the first step, to want to find meaning. To want to find meaning is related directly to who the person is and what is important to them. For most teenagers it will be mainly about popular culture, fitting in or making a statement about who they are. The teenage culture today is in fact no different to any other teenage generation, they will be moody and confused, wanting to be an adult with no maturity, and most of all will be working to make the world a different place to how their parents viewed it.
These teenage traits are common and necessary to keep the cycle of growth going. However if we are going to be moving away from compliance, we will be moving more into exploration. This then means that one size (one curriculum) will not fit all, every child will need to be free to nurture their own world of thinking and discovery. A daunting task for teachers to keep all of these people motivated and supported.
But perhaps we should change the notion of learning to more about ‘researching’. If you look at the general PhD principle of study. All PhD students are requested to do a ‘research methodology’ paper which outlines how your new idea is going to be presented and justified. This notion can also be integrated into the curriculum even as low as the Elementary levels. That all they need to do is present where they are at and teachers will be ‘supervisors’ of each persons project.
Of course we can’t pretend to get children to complete PhD’s but we can get them to understand the way in which information should be best presented and justified. At least for now. Even this process may be under scrutiny too.
So though a teacher will always be needed for the necessary elements of learning e.g. nurturing, providing access to information and rewarding discovery and excitement. They will also need to be far more dynamic in terms of remaining open to new ideas, letting the unexpected happen and most importantly setting up opportunities for children and student to discover firstly their own wants and desires. Then the next step is mastery of the core skills that make you a better version of who you are and finding meaning through the eternal question of why….why is this important and how can I make this even more important for me, my family and friends and the world.
This is the future learner.