Monday, January 14, 2013

Extrinsic vs. intrinsic motivation.

In my original ROW80 goals post, I made a joke about points being redeemable nowhere. I received a couple comments about reward systems being helpful to staying on goal. I agree this is a good idea. However, I want to maintain a balance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. If I ever find myself not wanting to write rather than not ever having enough time to write, I'll consider rewards. For now, writing is my reward, and I'm sticking with "pointless" points.

I coordinate an after-school reading club.  One part of the program includes Accelerated Reader time in the library. AR is the gamification of reading. Kids read a book, take a quiz and are rewarded points (based on the book's length and the student's score on the quiz). I have some students who are only there because they "have to" earn points for their classroom teacher. And I have others who blow their point goals out of the water because they read ALL the books!  The first type of student is working based on extrinsic motivation. This isn't bad because at least those kids are reading, but it's a chore and doesn't foster a love of reading. Example two students have an intrinsic motivation to read and don't really care about the points. These examples are the extremes. There are others who enjoy earning points and it makes reading more fun. Still, like on "who's line is it anyway," the points don't matter.

I might consider extrinsic rewards for my healthy eating goals. Like: eat clean 5 days a week, pizza and wine on the weekend! I notice some other ROW80ers post various goals aside from writing related ones.  I may do the same.  I have new years healthy eating goals this year.  And for the first two weeks, I'd give my self a "C+."  This is unacceptable.  I admit that I'm a nerd--I want that "A" average.