I got an email from Students First yesterday with an intriguing subject line: "Do you write like Hemingway?" It read:
"It's said Ernest Hemingway once wrote a story using just six words: 'For sale: baby shoes, never worn.' He reportedly declared it his greatest work. Words are powerful tools — for learning, for inspiration, for transformation. When we choose our words with precision, we can say so much. It is with Hemingway as our inspiration that I write to you with a fun challenge: Describe what it means to be a great teacher in just six words."Well, that's a straight-up poetry challenge, and my mind started percolating--but just like I spike my basic drip coffee with a layer of cinnamon, my current reading seeped in and flavored my six-word essay. I'm reading Drive by Daniel H. Pink, which is all about what motivates humans of all ages, extrinsically and intrinsically. He comes at the question of motivation mainly from a business/work perspective, but of course the research he cites and the new "operating system" he proposes--dubbed Motivation 3.0--are entirely applicable to education settings. Here's the conclusion Pink reaches by the end of his exploration of the three elements of Motivation 3.0, which are autonomy, mastery and purpose.
"A CENTRAL IDEA of this book has been the mismatch between what science knows and what business does. The gap is wide. Its existence is alarming. And though closing it seems daunting, we have reasons to be optimistic.That's certainly how things look to me. So I submitted my six-word essay on what it means to be a great teacher, and I submitted it although I know it's probably a bit too "spiritual" to win the iPad prize, even for Students First.
The scientists who study human motivation, several of whom we’ve encountered in this book, offer us a sharper and more accurate account of both human performance and the human condition. The truths they’ve revealed are simple, yet powerful. The science shows that those typical twentieth-century carrot-and-stick motivators—which we consider somehow a “natural” part of human enterprise—can sometimes work. But they’re effective in only a surprisingly narrow band of circumstances. The science shows that “if-then” rewards—the mainstays of the Motivation 2.0 operating system—not only are ineffective in many situations, but also can crush the high-level, creative, conceptual abilities that are central to current and future economic and social progress. The science shows that the secret to high performance isn’t our biological drive or our reward-and-punishment drive, but our third drive—our deep-seated desire to direct our own lives, to extend and expand our abilities, and to make a contribution.
Bringing our businesses in sync with these truths won’t be easy. Unlearning old ideas is difficult, undoing old habits even harder. And I’d be less sanguine about the prospects of closing the motivation gap anytime soon, if it weren’t for this: The science confirms what we already know in our hearts.
We know that human beings are not merely smaller, slower, bettersmelling donkeys trudging after that day’s carrot. We know—if we’ve spent time with young children or remember ourselves at our best—that we’re not destined to be passive and compliant. We’re designed to be active and engaged. And we know that the richest experiences in our lives aren’t when we’re clamoring for validation from others, but when we’re listening to our own voice—doing something that matters, doing it well, and doing it in the service of a cause larger than ourselves.
So, in the end, repairing the mismatch and bringing our understanding of motivation into the twenty-first century is more than an essential move for business. It’s an affirmation of our humanity."
Pink, Daniel H. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Chapter 6.
Love says, "Welcome." Faith says, "Grow."
I wonder if I successfully captured what I mean. If you're a teacher or a librarian, I invite you to respond with your own six-word essay. The Poetry Friday round-up today is with Elaine at Wild Rose Reader.