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Reward, Habit and Motivation

Reward, Habit and Motivation An Article to take your thinking further around habit, reward, motivation in school.

This is a Free Sample Resource
Categories: Article, Professional Development, Other Subject, All Ages, Educators

Tags: Motivation Personal Development Personalised Learning
"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."
Henry Ford (1863-1947)

What is motivation?
Motivation is the driving force that makes us act to achieve our goals. 

What is reward?
Reward is the 'payment' offered as an incentive for achieving a goal.

What is habit?
Habit is a routine, repeated, often unconscious behaviour.

How do they all fit together? Very well. Like 3 peas in a pod: we use our positive habits to reach our goals, motivated by meaningful rewards. Well that's the idea.

I could stop now but for one thing. Goals. We naturally develop habits that drive us towards our goals, but very few of us pay serious attention to those goals. When we take a look, it's not what we expect. We go for outdated goals, other people's goals, socially expected goals, obsolete goals, pointless goals and personally destructive goals. It's only when we seize control of our goals that reward, habit and motivation become positive tools for growth.

Learning Motivators
Our values indicate our motivators and our values are evolving all the time. Spiral Dynamics is an effective way to explore value systems and motives: Are we driven by Orange - wanting the team to win; blue, wanting to follow the rules; or red, looking after number one? Find out more on Wiki.

Learning Rewards
We seek rewards that we think will make us happy. But there is a difference between having a million pounds and experiencing the things that a million pounds can get. Rewards can be extrinsic (£1m) or intrinsic (the feelings associated with achievement). More about reward in an Article in Educational Leadership.

Learning Habits
Repeated behaviours glue us to our goals by linking motivation and reward. Habits come and go, are broken and formed. But when do we take time to create new ones and abandon obsolete ones? Do we fully believe that we control our habits? More about habit in a resume of Stephen Covey's book.

Learning Goals
The trick to setting any goal is being specific. "I want to be happy" is a worthy goal but too general. "By 11am today I will have cheered up 3 people and so feel more positive myself" is specific and achievable. And if it becomes a habit, then a sure way to consistently meet the goal.

Now let's come to school. Your learners are motivated, reward-driven, goal-oriented and habit forming. It's just that their goals, motives, habits and rewards aren't the same as yours. We need some realignment and the way to do this is to put all of the above on the curriculum.

Teach pupils specifically about how motivation works. Offer lessons on the brain science of reward. Take them through high quality goal setting processes and teach them methods of habit management.

Otherwise, surprise, surprise, they'll keep doing what they've always done, and you'll keep getting what you've always got.

Contact me if you'd like help doing this in you school.

Related Resources:

4M Research Thinking

Goal Thinking

Motivation for Learning

Talent for Learning


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