Wednesday, July 28, 2010

She's Back...

I've been enjoying watching the conversations grow on this blog! You all have some great ideas, and I'm glad to see you are applying them to your personal goals and your work at school. (See especially Marcos's blog about homework and independence at Chinquapin.) You are already showing your leadership by participating in this blog and taking the risk of sharing your ideas here.

Now I would like to see the "lurkers" who have not yet participated chime in. We are getting closer to the start of school (August 16th!), and the rest of you most certainly should have started your reading of Drive by now.  If you are not sure where you might jump in, I suggest that you pull a passage (a sentence or two) that speaks to you and just respond to that.  (Don't forget to cite the page number.)  You don't have to have read and digested the entire book to be able to dive into the conversation.

How about it?  Which passage got you thinking?  Was it about autonomy, like Tito's blog below?  Or was it about mastery?  What about the significance of having a sense of purpose in what you do?

As you blog about your thoughts and reflections, don't forget to include "labels" (also called tags).  Include a label of your first name and at least one for the main idea of your blog.  As you can see from the "tag cloud" on the right, your name or topic gets bigger the more you use a particular tag.  And, frankly, my name is way too big here!  I want to see more from you than from me.

Finally, I want to thank the teachers -- Jeremy D., Amanda, and Amulya -- who have taken the time to participate in the conversation.  This all makes me very excited about the coming year and our work together.

(And a few members of the Class of 2011 are still missing.  Where are they?  Please encourage them to get on board!  I would like to see a post from everyone in the next week.)

The freedom of autonomy

The other day I was reading over the chapter of "autonomy" and the first thing I did was look up the word autonomy, because honestly I didnt know what it meant and plus I was curious. When I found out what it meant "independence or freedom" that like sparked this wirlwind of things of what the chapter could be about. I was thinking "okay maybe this is about the freedom of doing what you want to do, to self motivate you" and I was somewhat close. When I started reading the rest of the chapter and Pink was startig to go into how companies have been florishing because they have given there employees certain days to fix a problem on software or there own project and many thiings where coming out of it, like Google creating all their side branches like Gmail etc. Then it hit me. As seniors we have a responibility to set an example for the rest of the school and try to rub off on them and think that a way we could leave our mark on the school. Is to try to teach the students what we know about things. I was thinking we could have some sort of like "session" or whatever you want to call it for some students. I dont know if it could actually work but it was just a thought of mine.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Intrinsic motivation in Chinquapin

As Chapter 1 of Drive explains, Motivation 2.0 works by rewarding people for doing a good job, punishing them when things are not working, and keeping a very close eye on them. As we can see by reading the novel, this sort of structure is being less frequently used in business and replaced by a self-driven motivation. My question is, wouldn't this also work in Chinquapin?

People who work using intrinsic motivation do jobs that are interesting- non-routine work. These people are self-motivated, and therefore they need to be less monitored. I saw Chinquapin take a similar direction last year with the addition of a new rule- high school guys on the high honor roll didn't need to attend night study hall. Instead, these guys did their homework in their own dormitory, and, every now-and-then, on their own beds. As the year culminated, these students did pretty well.

Now, I don't know if Ray, who came up with this idea, had read Drive before, but this new rule showed a perfect example of how intrinsic motivation works. The students were were not monitored, and still managed to have positive results on their tests and quizzes. They were not monitored, forcing them to be self-driven and to work at their own pace . This privilege set up a "purpose maximizer" environment. Students were able to turn on their stereo and find more creative ways to do their homework, making the task more enjoyable.

I know there are many other ways to add intrinsic motivation to Chinquapin, but the positive result of this "experiment" by Ray could lead to Chinquapin being run by a new "operating system", something I definitely wouldn't mind.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

You're Off...!

I'm glad to see more members of the Class of 2011 starting to make an appearance here, and I'm even more thrilled to see the conversations beginning to emerge! If you are still a lurker and don't know where to start, you might pick a passage from Pink's book to respond to, or you might raise a question about one of his key points. In the end, though, you should bring all of this back to you -- how does what you learn from Pink relate to your understanding of your own sense of motivation and how you might cultivate it?

Now that this blog is beginning to take off, I am going to invite more faculty to comment on what you are saying. The faculty is reading Drive too! And, who knows, before the end of the summer, I might invite Dan Pink himself! Meanwhile, you might not hear so much from me -- I am actually going on vacation in Maine, where I may or may not have Internet access. I hope when I get back to find an explosion of creative ideas and discussion here!

PS. Don't forget to add labels for your posts. Also, you can begin playing with adding links to other relevant sites or videos or photographs. Remember, if you add material from others that you need to credit your source and only add material you have permission to disseminate (look for "Creative Commons" permissions to be safe). I'm adding a video below of Dan Pink's presentation for TED. TED Talks makes its "ideas worth spreading" available to others via Creative Commons permissions.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Thoughts

I hadn't had a chance to begin reading Daniel H. Pink's book today due to other activities that I have going on this summer until today. I was at work when it started raining hard and I had to come home. Finally having time to read the book, I picked it up and didn't stop reading it until now that I finished it.

The purpose of Pink's book is to present a new view on the topic of motivation. Although it might come as a surprise to some people to learn that external motivation isn't the best tool to coax a person into doing something, it makes sense to me that internal motivation is the better medium available. I had been contemplating this idea before, but after reading Drive, there is no doubt in my mind that a persons true motivation comes from within.

It makes sense that you would motivate yourself to do something as a result of interest rather than reward. The reason that I think this is true is that I think that there is more to life than waiting around for the next paycheck, or recognition for that matter. When I think about it, if people lived to enjoy their lives rather than worrying about superficial matters then the world would be more productive. Pink argues that this is true because we have an internal drive to be active rather than sit idly waiting for the world to pass us by. We all have share this. Even the monkeys that are presented to us in the introduction. They solved the puzzles for the simple joy of accomplishing the task, in a way this is self fulfillment, this is the same way that I have seen myself behaving. I do what I do because I enjoy it, not because I expect anyone to give me anything. I want to constantly push my limits to see what I can accomplish, however I don't do it for anyone's benefit but my own.

I agree that money is an important factor in life, but it's not the most important thing out there. I work during the summer, from six to five; the pay isn't that good, but I find myself working just to do something. Nothing feels better than coming back home from a long day at work to a cold shower, knowing that I have done something, the pay is a bonus. Honestly how many of you feel bored when you have nothing to do? Doing something should be it's own reward because it inhibits our life from becoming dull, like a knife that is never sharpened. Pink proposes that a person's salary should be able to meet that person's necessities and that that should be it, the employee must be left to enjoy their work. He even points out how companies that employ this tactic are developing at better rates than companies who remain stagnant in a changing world. When the world changes, different innovations arise to keep up with it, it seems that for the 21st century there won't be an innovation, simply more attention should be paid to something that we all have in ourselves, our internal motivation. Jobs are indeed changing, no longer are they boring, there are a lot of jobs out there that you can find pleasure in and it's these jobs that hold the key for prosperity because routine jobs can be condensed into a series of on and off signals which can be used to program machines to complete them. A robotic vacuum already exists, how long is it until a lawn mower can be programed to mow by itself? I don't think that it will take that long, but the one thing that no machine can replace is human ingenuity; the designers and innovators can't possibly be replaced because the brain is the best machine there is.

Pink makes an important point in voicing Mar Twain's opinion of turning play into work and vise-versa. Nobody likes to be told what to do (or at least i don't) and that is essentially what work is "you do this and I'll pay you" but what if we choose to find a job we appreciate and where we decide what we do?, then work would no longer seem like work and we regain control of our lives, something we all wish for. I myself wish to leave nothing to chance and cease whatever control I may. I don't want anybody trying to direct my life, standing over my shoulder, breathing down my neck, I hate it. It's the same way at any job, if your boss is constantly hassling you to do something, then you begin to resent him, but he's the one who pays you so you'll probably put up with what he throws your way hoping to get a raise, chances are you're probably miserable, meaning you won't do more than asked to. However, if your boss isn't a complete idiot, then you find yourself with more liberty and have viable options as to how to do something, and chose what method may please you, this environment allows for greater possibilities and that is why in the long run you will find yourself enjoying your job and maybe working overtime, not out of necessity, but by your own will. Truth is we all love going what we want whenever we want.
Throughout the beginning of the book Pink talks about our internal motivation then he reaches part two, where he talks about three elements for success in a work environment: Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose. Autonomy has to do with control and the ability to direct our own lives, mastery deals with becoming proficient at something, and is it's own reward, while purpose is what drives us to accomplish anything we desire. Of these three I value mastery the most. Why? Because I want it, my purpose is to attain it. According to Pink mastery is reached by being involved in something, by immersing yourself so deep in something that nothing else matters, by reaching a state of flow, that's when greatness is achieved. It takes time, dedication, and work to reach mastery, it is a hunt that is never finished because it always eludes the pursuer; but like any good hunter will tell you, it's the thrill of the chase that matters.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Drive- Read Or Not To Read

I happened not to have started to read Drive due to my concentration on my other summer reading book called, A Hope in the Unseen. Even though I'm behind I hope to read the book as soon as possible and get into this whole blogging community, which I am new to. But I also want to conttribute. even though I'm not reading Drive I can still see some similarity between that book and A Hope in the Unseen. The book introduces an African -American teenager, who is a very smart and lost soul. Having to face a corrupt world in which poverty, violence and drugs affect his community and school, he is forced to stay on the right path of success and live everyday in fear. Even though he doesn't cause any trouble and does well in school, the story itself shows how one student pushes himself to confront everyday obstacles and yet still maintain a steady composure. Instead of taking the easy way out and becoming corrupt just like most of the urban population, he stays true and does what he does best for he wants to be soemone in life and even though the road is dark and lonely, he is the light and guides himself to drive far beyond than what most kids don't acheive.
I hope Drive also has that sense of motivation and hopefully I get to read it soon.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I smile ran across my face as I read the first chapter of Daniel Pink's Drive. It wasn't a surprise to me that motivation does not come from rewards. People who get motivated to perform a task by monetary means or just rewards in general just tend to get pumped for a short period of time and lose interest. I have seen this in my own family. My mother to try to get my brothers to obey and do their chores offered to reward my brothers with money which t first made them very happy and excited of course but that has eventually turned completely bad. My brothers were of course motivated or moved by the sight of this reward then but now they will not do anything unless they get something in return. Parents (including my mom unfortunately) who use rewards to get their children are failing to see that this system of educating is not the most appropriate. When my brothers no longer obeyed without some type of reward, I realized what happened immediately. My mother lost control of the situation and now she has to find a way to fix it. The experiments that these scientist did back then just proved what I had believed for some time.

The Challenge Continues...

Okay, so we have two more gutsy souls who have posted their thoughts about the book -- kudos to David and Marcos! To meet the challenge, we need two more by the end of today! If you feel more comfortable just getting your feet wet, rather than jumping into the water, you might join the conversation in the comments, as both David and Marcos have done.

In fact, commenting on blogs is an important part of the process. Take the time to consider what is said, ask questions, and pursue debate. You have excellent examples to study here! I've been holding back on commenting on the last two posts, because I'm sure these guys would value your feedback, and I don't want this just to be a conversation with me. Let them know what you think, and you will be more likely to get the comments you desire and deserve when you post your thoughts.

Finally, I'm still looking for more members of the Class of 2011 to sign on. Call them, text them, do whatever you need to do to get them participating! This blog is not meant to be a chore or an exercise for the your summer reading, but something that allows you to get involved and make this shared reading experience something bigger!

Friday, July 2, 2010

This Book Is a "Door-Opener"

I just finished reading the introduction and part of Chapter 1 from Drive, and I'm amazed at the complex point of view that this book is putting out there. It's really intriguing because the idea of having a satisfaction that comes from within makes sense if you think about it. Plus, I find a spiritual factor having to do with that idea since the satisfaction comes "from within". It's great because it means you don't have to rely on any outside sources for satisfaction or rewards. It clicked in my mind that doing what I would love to do would be satisfying itself. I believe this book will greatly influence my Senior Project as I keep reading, especially towards the last Chapter.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ready! Set! Go?

I have not yet started the book but I do look forward to it. What I'm mostly interested in right now (now that we're not confined in school with mountains of work), is getting all those neglected books that I meant to read but never got a chance to, thanks to Chinquapin, and reading them, and also researching new subject, such as Architecture and Art, that I will not get a chance to learn about in high school.
I think that doing this is, in a sense (base off of what I've heard and not read), adhering to what Drive is all about, which to my knowledge is, "Going out and doing what I want because it is motivationally self-satisfying."

-David Copeland

Where in the World is the Class of 2011?

Okay, I know everyone is on vacation, but where are the rest of the leaders of the Class of 2011? My challenge to those who have taken the plunge and signed on to the blog is to get two more class members to join your ranks by July 4th! My challenge to those even braver few (Rebecca and Tito) who have been brave enough to post is to get at least two more people to actually blog something! Rebecca is right: you need to take little bits and pieces from Drive and connect it to your life, to your thinking about how you learn, and to your future. Make this about you and for you. If you need a "trailer" to get folks interested in picking up the book, check out this video from Dan Pink's blog on Drive.

Now for some blogging tips: Include tags (called "labels" on Blogger for some crazy reason), so that your posts can become searchable. It's a good idea to include your name as one label and any key words for your discussion as other labels. Thus, I'm labeling this post "Susan" and "blogging" and "challenge".

Tag, you're it.