One of the references made in Pink's talk about motivation was to a company that held 'Fedex Days' - one 24-hour period per quarter where employees are free to collaborate and work on anything they wish, as long as they have something to deliver to the team at the end of the time period. Other companies have tried similar programs as a way to motivate staff.
Naturally, I thought of applications to education. Could we somehow allow students time to explore an area of interest and set their own criteria for success? Would they find it motivating, and heighten their interest in learning?
The payoffs could be huge, especially when it seems like so much education is rather de-motivating. A couple of quick thoughts:
- a careful but flexible structure would be needed; many kids might be willing to direct their own learning but may not have the tools or the road map on how to do so;
- it would have to be sustainable; there are far too many 'one-and-done' activities that follow a simplistic recipe, resulting in little more than a nice diversion once in a while; a staff sometimes leaves a workshop fired up about something and rush to share it with the students, but they lack the mindset needed to go beyond that initial step.