05 Jun Intrinsic Motivation Drives Lifelong Learning
We’ve developed a culture motivated by external rewards, unrelated compensation for work done. On a basic level, this drive is a natural extension of the give-take relationship between working members of a community. In a functioning society, all members participate in bringing goods to bear for trade, so that the entire community may live a more fruitful life.
But education is personal. Inquiry is the mechanism by which we each advance our own understanding of the observable world and our place within it.
Intrinsic motivation to learn is at the heart of our curriculum.
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It is rare to see a child in a traditional learning environment who is motivated to learn by their own curiosity. Rather than inspired to seek answers to the questions that move them, they are coerced by reward or even punishment to behave in a way that suggests learning.
However, the act of reciting memorized materials is far from the ability to integrate information into a working body of knowledge.
This model is counterintuitive to developing individuals who are fulfilled, emotionally healthy, and have a place in the modern workforce.
The dismemberment of information from curiosity stifles intellectual development. In other words, the model of punishment or reward for work done is counterintuitive to preparing teens for life-long success.
Dr. Barbra L. McCombs states in her work Motivation and Lifelong Learning Summary that, “The motivation to learn is an internal, naturally occurring capacity of human beings that is enhanced and nurtured by quality of relationships, opportunities of personal choice and responsibility for learning meaningful learning tasks. Lifelong learning is also a natural propensity of humans to continue to grow, learn, and develop that is facilitated by uncovering the enjoyment of learning and reducing negative thoughts and belief systems.”
By teaching teens to think about everything, to use curiosity as a lens through which to see the world not only as it is, but as it can be, we can prepare them to take the lead in a constantly changing world.
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