Saturday, August 20, 2011

Good Motivation and Bad Motivation

Pink makes a lot of connections to how we motivate ourselves such as goals and their rewards: "Goals that people set for themselves and that are devoted to attaining mastery are usually healthy. But goals imposed by others-sale targets, quarterly returns, standardized test scores, and so on-can sometimes have dangerous side effects." (pg. 50) Rewards are often given as soon as a goal is reached and this may be a good thing to motivate people, but it also may be a bad idea.

As in the example of Eduardo and SAT scores, it may be bad to give out the SAT. It may actually harm our way of thinking by saying this is what to expect in our first year of universities and more harm is even done when universities use the SAT to pick out students they want their first year. This motivates us to do well in the SAT and we set goals to achieve a high score. But as Pink just noted, this is the wrong type of motivation. By spending too much time trying to boost SAT scores, one may devote his whole time trying to do so and forget most of his other goals. (This is if it is one of that person's major goals.) In other words there is such a thing as bad goals and motivation and people may fall for it even though it may look like the reward at the end of the goal may be good enough.

(As for in my project, I want to set goals for my students but not something exaggerating such as the SAT. I really want to give them something besides skills to motivate them. But I fear that if I give them too much of a good reward, they might forget their school work and practice too much. But if I give them a too small reward, they may not even care about the lessons and neglect what I'm trying to teach them. This is something I have to further ponder.)

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