Carol Dweck is a psychologist interested in the concept of a growth mindsets and how that relates to motivation. “Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports. It enhances relationships.” She contrasts a fixed mindset where people believe that their abilities/potential is basically a given that is unlikely to change greatly with a that of a growth mindset where we believe that our traits/abilities are the starting point and can be developed.
Since the beginning of IQ testing, debate has raged over whether it measures a fixed potential or a starting point that can vary according to a multitude of factors. “…scientists are learning that people have more capacity for life-long learning and brain development than they ever thought.” I do believe that hard work, Commitment, grit and a sense of open potential (growth mindset) will lead to greater intrinsic motivation but ultimately our perceived success will temper the power of the intrinsic motivation and hence our overall growth mindset!
From Carol Dweck’s website: http://mindsetonline.com/whatisit/whatdoesthismeanforme/index.html
In a recent New York Times article entitled ‘How Can You Make a Student Care Enough to Work Harder?’, Jessica Lahey asked several educators for their opinion on the age old dilemma that parents face when their child just doesn’t seem to be putting in the effort. Most spoke of the need to stay positive, focus on the positive and accept that children won’t always dance to the beat of our drum!
“Finally, my own advice is also to back off, as counterintuitive as that may feel. Instead of increasing pressure, surveillance and control over your children, try releasing your hold. The fastest way to undermine intrinsic motivation (motivation that comes from within) is to increase parental control. But research has shown that the best way to increase intrinsic motivation is through promoting autonomy and the competence that follows from doing a good job on one’s own.” Jessica Lahey
As Daniel Pink emphasizes in his book ‘Drive’, intrinsic motivation is the key to sustainable success and finding what lights our fire is a good start! We have just had our parent teacher conferences where the students were involved in the goal setting process. Teachers and parents obviously need to guide the process in the younger years but ultimately the better the children get at choosing realistic, achievable goals themselves and then experiencing the thrill of success creates the conditions under which intrinsic motivation can be a powerful force in our lives