Posts tagged “extrinsic motivation

27 Intrinsic Motivation Ideas

“My students won’t do anything unless I make them do it!”

“If we are going to get kids to stop running in the hallway we need to increase the punishment. We need to get their attention!”

“Ok, children, whenever I ask for quiet I am going to be looking to see which group gets quiet first. I will then put a check by that group’s name on the board. When that group reaches 10 checks they will get a special prize.”


As teachers and parents (and everybody else for that matter) it is all too easy, even when we know its weaknesses and dangers, to revert to extrinsic (external) motivators. Choice theory explains that students (and everybody else for that matter) always behave for intrinsic (internal) reasons. External factors influence us, to be sure, but ultimately we make choices for reasons that are important to us personally. A student may rush to get quiet in the hope of getting a check by her group’s name. Other students may care less about the special prize for getting quiet. This is the great dichotomy that teachers face every day. Most teachers know about the value of intrinsic motivation, but consistently implementing this kind of an approach can feel elusive. As Glasser pointed out many times, we live in an external control world where extrinsic motivators have become the norm. Choice theory teachers are committed to swimming against this current, though. One such teacher came up with a series of suggestions that will help us as teachers tap into and honor the internal control design of our students.

Today’s blog post is a wonderful infographic by Mia MacMeekin at teach Read her 27 ideas on increasing intrinsic motivation in order from 1 – 27.


Why DRIVE Drives Me


Drive (2009), Daniel Pink’s New York Times Bestseller, represents one of the reasons I was “driven” to write the Glasser biography. Drive is a well-written, captivating explanation of human motivation. Pink describes what he sees as a progression from Motivation 1.0 – motivation based purely on a biological drive for survival – to Motivation 2.0 – motivation based on extrinsic reward and punishment – to Motivation 3.0 – motivation based on intrinsic needs for autonomy, creativity, and achievement. Reading Pink’s insights and examples are like reviewing a What’s What list of research and a Who’s Who list of thought leaders and gurus in the fields of psychology, philosophy, and business over the last 50 years. Only problem is, even though the book covers the dawning of intrinsic motivation and the human need for freedom and self-determination, the influence and contributions of William Glasser are never mentioned.

I read and re-read Drive with such intense mixed emotions. On the one hand I really appreciate the way Pink makes a case for choice theory, while on the other hand I am really frustrated, and even a bit angry, that choice theory or Glasser is totally left out of the book. Abraham Maslow is included; Deci and Ryan are included; and others like Csikszentmihalyi, Seligman, Herzberg, and Deming are mentioned, and a host of others, but not Glasser. How you can write a book about human motivation that summarizes the theories on the topic from the last 50 years and not include William Glasser is beyond me.

Drive is not the only example of Glasser being left out or overlooked. In the course of my research for the Glasser biography I noticed a troubling trend of his work and ideas being less and less at the forefront and more and more slipping into the shadows. Even as the wave of internal control psychology grew bigger, affirming the personal power of choice, people seemed to forget the identity of one of the original wave creators. This felt unfair to me, and even unwise. Unfair because Glasser was one of the pillars on whom others built, and unwise because his message, and the behavior model he developed, is so helpful.

Part of what has motivated me to write Glasser’s story is the hope that the biography will contribute toward establishing his legacy and his prominence as a progressive leader in the fields of mental health and education. I don’t want his ideas to ride off into the sunset. I want his ideas to be recognized as laying the foundation for today’s effective practices.

In spite of Drive not referring to choice theory or Glasser, I still recommend you read it. Drive really is an excellent book and if you are into choice theory you will find that it adds to your understanding and expertise. Just be prepared to have mixed emotions as you go through it.


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“Everything that frees our spirit without giving us control of ourselves is ruinous.”  Goethe

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