Today I watched a very interesting (and excellently illustrated) youtube video that compares US mainstream and Montessori schooling.
It talks about the fire a child has for learning and how it can be fanned or dampened, and it provides excellent food for thought about
– why we educate
– how we educate, and
– what motivates people to learn.
Extrinsic motivation – that which is from outside, from others – has limited effect. If you only do something for praise, for reward, to ensure you are not punished, then you are not doing it for yourself because you want to, and you will not do it when those pressures are removed. In other words, you will not choose to learn just because you are interested.
That’s a disaster.
The only way to be a quality learner for life is to be intrinsically motivated – for the motivation to come from within.
– encourage them to think about what the see, hear, smell, do and so on.
– encourage them to question how and why.
– allow them to experiment freely and investigative at their own pace and level, with support.
– model how you learn, how you get it wrong and try again, make your own love of learning shine through. Talk about the joy of improving, of moving forward, of cracking that gritty problem and the excitement of finally getting it right.
That’s the only way to fan the flames.