“Somewhere along the line, many children end up as disengaged, compliant externally motivated individuals. Why is that?”
“By providing them with a so called ‘Goldilocks’ task, we can help them achieve a state of ‘Flow’, which in turn assists them on their path to mastery”
Hello and welcome to episode 32 of the PE Umbrella podcast! We are the ONLY Primary and Elementary PE podcast dedicated to providing you value and actionable take aways on a weekly basis!
The main reasoning behind this episode was to perform a sort of ‘brain dump’ of the many ideas and thoughts that I personally have on the subject of rewards in an education setting and the impact on motivation. I briefly mentioned the crux of this topic in a previous email sent to The PE Umbrella community but felt that justice had not been served and I had so much more to add and discuss. I have wanted to podcast about this for some time now as I was inspired by the ideas that were put forward having read a book titled ‘DRIVE – The surprising truth about what motivates us’ and how they so very closely relate to what is happening across education day in and day out. I endeavour to make links specifically with PE during the podcast but I also touch upon my own classroom teaching experience and the ideas I put forward are equally applicable across whole school, both primary and secondary.
During the episode I take you on a journey as to why some rewards are detrimental to intrinsic motivation, particularly contingent ‘if-then’ rewards. I briefly explain how this evidence came to light in a study conducted by psychologists Mark Lepper and David Greene and highlight my own real life working examples of where I myself have fallen foul of using ‘if-then’ rewards in classes I have taught in. It really has me thinking, have I contributed towards reducing the intrinsic motivation of children that I have taught, in tasks that they would have otherwise enjoyed? In a sense, has my offering of rewards turned an activity of leisure/play into that of work? Perhaps I have, as Pink argues that by offering ‘expected’ rewards we are taking part of a child’s autonomy, a key ingredient for intrinsic motivation. A terrific ‘Candle Experiment’ by Karl Dunker highlights just how an ‘if-then reward’ actually hindered success of a non routine task as the allure of a reward contributed towards a narrowed focus of the mind, thus stifling creative thinking.
I then dig further into how we can help maintain/contribute towards keeping children intrinsically motivated towards a task by highlighting 3 key elements:
I provide my own suggestions for each of these as to how we can adapt/think about our PE lessons, so they can help promote one or more of these key elements!
In this podcast I refer to a past episode with Ryan Forwood so be sure to check that out here for insight into a ‘Sport Education’ model of teaching PE for your school that will give a real purpose to your teaching and lessons.
If you are still reading this then what are you waiting for? Click above to listen NOW or head on over to iTunes to subscribe to the podcast and listen whenever you choose! I’ll catch you ‘Under the Umbrella’
I would absolutely love to hear your own thoughts and opinions on this subject matter so please please please do get in touch by tweeting me @ryansporting, sending me a snap to the same name ‘ryansporting’ or emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, be sure to subscribe to The PE Umbrella on iTunes or Stitcher radio by following the links above. It would be amazing if you could rate and review the show there and give me your feedback as it will help me further improve the content and the show that I provide for YOU going forward. Have a truly brilliant week engaging, motivating and inspiring your children, and I’ll catch you next time ‘Under the Umbrella’.