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What plants can teach us about engaging kids.

July 16th, 2013


As a science teacher, I’m always trying to keep my students engaged and motivated to learn. When I look at the natural world, I see a fascinating analogy between how plants engage animals and how teachers engage their students.

There are lots of ways that teachers can entice their students to want to learn (besides smelling nice and having treats in the front of class). I like the strategies outlined in Dan Pink’s book Drive.

Pink argues that intrinsic motivation comes in three situations: When we have autonomy, when we’re allowed to master a new skill, and when we work toward some larger purpose.

Watch this awesome animated talk in which Pink makes his point clear.

I can’t help but wonder what change we would see in education if every student (and every teacher and principal) had the opportunity to work with autonomy, toward mastery, and with meaningful purpose.

Frankly, I think we would see a lot of problems disappear.

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