Category Archives: Motivational/Inspiring

Terry Fox: The best example of determination and intrinsic motivation I know.

If you want to know what intrinsic motivation is, just look at Terry Fox. He had an idea: He wanted to raise money for cancer research by running across Canada. He would do it by running a marathon a day. He would do it on one real leg and one artificial leg. He was not paid. All donations went to cancer research. In the end he ran 3339 miles in 143 Read the rest of this entry


Love is Louder – National Bullying Week

Seth Godin on intrinsic and extrinsic motivators at work

The following is an excerpt from Seth Godin’s book Linchpin.

What’s in it for me?

Author Richard Florida polled twenty thousand creative professionals and gave them a choice of thirty-eight factors that motivated them to do their best at work.

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My 100th Post: My Teacher Checklist

1. When students ask me for something, am I saying “no” for a good reason or because it is automatic and I don’t question why I say it anymore?

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10 pictures of my school: My "10 Picture Tour"

Cale Birk called on educators to take 10 pictures of their school so that “we will learn a little bit about what your learning environment looks like.” Here is my submission.

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Forget April Fool’s day. Create your own day.

April Fool’s day is here. Every year someone publishes some crazy story that we wish were true. For a moment we believe the story. We think, “Wow! Great! I love it!” Then we Read the rest of this entry

A few of my favorite Sir Ken Robinson Videos

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lnspirational Blue Jays Commercial, "I’m Coming Home."

It’s almost opening day. I am a Red Sox fan but this commercial was just too good to pass up for a blog post. Excellent music and scenes. Enjoy!

When Community Comes Together

On the morning of March 24 at approximately 1:30 AM building 4100 was burning in Iqaluit. The 29 apartments in the building housed approximately 60 residents. Even though the building burned completely, everyone got out safely!

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One of my favorite Seth Godin posts of all time!

On January 24, 2011 Seth Godin posted the following post on his blog. It would be great if more educators could read this. There is something to be learned here. Setting up a classroom based on collaboration, and not competition is key. Moreover, allow for more student choice. Indeed, if we want our students to be problem solvers and life-long learners the ideas Seth Godin poses here can help. –Brian

Here is the post:

Three ways to help people get things done

A friend sent me a copy of a new book about basketball coach Don Meyer. Don was one of the most successful college basketball coaches of all time, apparently. It’s quite a sad book—sad because of his tragic accident, but also sad because it’s a vivid story about a misguided management technique.

Meyer’s belief was that he could become an external compass and taskmaster to his players. By yelling louder, pushing harder and relentlessly riding his players, his plan was to generate excellence by bullying them. The hope was that over time, people would start pushing themselves, incorporating Don’s voice inside their head, but in fact, this often turns out to be untrue. People can be pushed, but the minute you stop, they stop. If the habit you’ve taught is to achieve in order to avoid getting chewed out, once the chewing out stops, so does the achievement.

It might win basketball games, but it doesn’t scale and it doesn’t last. When Don left the room (or the players graduated), the team stopped winning.

A second way to manage people is to create competition. Pit people against one another and many of them will respond. Post all the grades on a test, with names, and watch people try to outdo each other next time. Promise a group of six managers that one of them will get promoted in six months and watch the energy level rise. Want to see little league players raise their game? Just let them know the playoffs are in two weeks and they’re one game out of contention.

Again, there’s human nature at work here, and this can work in the short run. The problem, of course, is that in every competition most competitors lose. Some people use that losing to try harder next time, but others merely give up. Worse, it’s hard to create the cooperative environment that fosters creativity when everyone in the room knows that someone else is out to defeat them.

Both the first message (the bully with the heart of gold) and the second (creating scarce prizes) are based on a factory model, one of scarcity. It’s my factory, my basketball, my gallery and I’m going to manipulate whatever I need to do to get the results I need. If there’s only room for one winner, it seems these approaches make sense.

The third method, the one that I prefer, is to open the door. Give people a platform, not a ceiling. Set expectations, not to manipulate but to encourage. And then get out of the way, helping when asked but not yelling from the back of the bus.

When people learn to embrace achievement, they get hooked on it. Take a look at the incredible achievements the alumni of some organizations achieve after they move on. When adults (and kids) see the power of self-direction and realize the benefits of mutual support, they tend to seek it out over and over again.

In a non-factory mindset, one where many people have the opportunity to use the platform (I count the web and most of the arts in this category), there are always achievers eager to take the opportunity. No, most people can’t manage themselves well enough to excel in the way you need them to, certainly not immediately. But those that can (or those that can learn to) are able to produce amazing results, far better than we ever could have bullied them into. They turn into linchpins, solving problems you didn’t even realize you had. A new generation of leaders is created…

And it lasts a lifetime.

Seth Godin