Ever since seeing John Wick’s "Power to the Players" video about players in role-playing games (above), his comment, “Always tell the players, ‘Yes’” has been rattling around in my head. I’ve been trying to think about how I can adopt that philosophy to deal with students. Because so much of what I end up doing to student requests is saying, “No.”
And then he goes on to talk about how to say “Yes” to players, but to put them into dramatic situations. There's something in there about motivating players – in this case by creating dramatic situations – that I think can apply to students, but I haven’t figured it out yet. I think it has something to do with trying to motivate people by applying consequences.
Then, yesterday, I came across another fascinating article in the new issue of Science. I was struck by this little story (emphasis added):
In Haifa, at six day care centers, a fine was imposed on parents who were late picking up their children at the end of the day. Parents responded to the fine by doubling the fraction of time they arrived late. When after 12 weeks the fine was revoked, their enhanced tardiness persisted unabated.
Another case of where trying to motivate by creating consequences for peoples’ actions, and it doesn’t work.
I have to think more about on this.
As a bonus, here’s an audio file of Sir Ken Robinson giving a lecture on education reform. It doesn’t talk directly about motivating people, but it's in there tangentially, as it deals a lot with how education is demotivating people because it is based on an out-of-date educational system. Lots and lots of fascinating ideas there.