What’s Eating You? … A Case for Intrinsic Motivation

We’ve all been on awesome PDs,  Camps, Incursion where we have left feeling reignited about our teaching (or other aspect of our lives). After a while it seems to ‘wear off’ and for those of us who are over thirty (OK! forty!)  it would be easy to surrender to the cynic inside saying, “Motivation is just hype and it doesn’t last very long.”

The truth is, our inner-cynic is RIGHT – that’s why we need motivation ALL the time.

I don’t know how far you are into the year when you are reading this but as I write we are about to commence Week 5 of Term 1. The honeymoon is over, some students have had a cry in your classes, the staff are getting niggly again, you have a wad of marking, programs are due in, you are reminded again that the administrators really HAVE spent too much time out of the lower-school classroom and your family are back to being your part-time interest… Clearly, my inner-cynic is alive and well!   

I know I need to seek out the inspiration needed to keep me firing from day-to-day and to gauge when I’m heading for the rocks and reignite my lighthouse! Many of you would have tremendous sources for inspiration and I would love to hear them. I’m certain they aren’t all web-based but they are the easiest to share.

My recent bank of mental turkish delights has come from TED but I have only recently stumbled up STUMBLE UPON (couldn’t help myself), EDTALKS and a ripper TOP 100 MOTIVATIONAL stories site.  What are your sources of inspiration right now? What gets you through the rough days?

For many, the reality of our motivations can based in pay, fear, looking ‘solid’, performing ‘crack-free’, work conditions or competition. I sincerely believe that teachers, more than any other occupation, need to be on the front line of being intrinsically motivated; of being positive, energetic and committed individuals,  because our actions and attitudes duplicate in the students we teach.

Now to go into my week like I really believe that.



Contextualising Media

I happened to stumble upon a re-run of one of the ABC’s “Big Ideas” programs last weekend. Similar to the range of materials available via TED (look it up if you haven’t heard of it and you’ll be addicted too!) I love many of the ideas, philosophies and challenges that are presented.

I have tried to locate a copy of the talk I heard last week but to no avail! As it was a re-run, I didn’t catch the original broadcast date and I was not clever enough to write down the speaker’s name – if it helps he is an American ‘HE’ and his first name is ‘Dr.’ ! You get the picture?

Anyway, his argument was that media (print and non-print) are failing to contextualise media coverage; instead of presenting the ‘big picture’ they tended to offer only the latest ‘update’. I couldn’t agree more! It becomes very obvious, when you discuss with older students any of the Social Sciences, that there is a distinct lack of connection with cause/effect and a limited knowledge of history, political construction and geographical historical contexts that are essential to our ‘reading’ of news.

  • What has just happened in Egypt? Why did it happen? What ’caused it’?
  • What is a ‘hung’ parliament? How does OUR political system actually work? What are the implications?
  • What is the GEC (Global Economic Crisis)? What caused it? What are the implications for us?
  • Asylum Seekers?

I read/view widely so these areas do not produce ‘gaps and silences’ for me personally (though of course none of us know the things we DON’T know that we don’t know… hope you followed that – it is profound) but don’t the media have a responsibility to pause and remind us of how the ‘daily update’ fits into the wider context? I would love to see a 30 minute documentary that summarised our political system and its origins or a brief 60 second overview of the history of an event before we hear the latest.

Are we connecting our younger ‘news’ readers with the contexts we know so intimately? Our current 14 year olds were 4 years old on September 11, 2001! Don’t they have the right to ask… “Why are we in Afghanistan?”. If I gave them a blank map of the world, would they even know where Afghanistan was? Come on News professionals – help us all out here.

“Dr. He” definately thinks we’d all benefit!

LMS – Does this mean … Let Me See?

School LMSs (Learning Management Systems) have been a saving grace for many (especially smaller) schools.

With Moodle a local hero and ‘free’ champion in this arena, I feel a real CAD to even mention ‘Blackboard’ or the newly open sourced ‘Instructure Canvas’ – The truth is, it is an entertaining advertisement!

There are plenty of follow-up instructional / overview videos on ‘youtube’ so I will leave you to explore further if interested. For now – enjoy the young lady with the fireworks!