Autonomy, Mastery & Purpose

During lunch today, I started painting. About five kids stayed inside instead of going out for recess cause they wanted to paint, too. Those 20 minutes were the most chill moments with these kids ever. I learned a ton about them as we talked and worked. When the other kids came back from recess, you would not believe how supportive and complimentary they were of the work the painters had done. (And just how many of them wanted to join in and help us!)
 
Daniel Pink talks of three main reasons for drive/motivation: autonomy, mastery and purpose. I have been exploring autonomy and mastery so much in my classroom but these past few days I have seen the power of purpose and how it’s really transforming attitudes and behaviours.
 
It’s that time of year when classrooms, teachers and students are starting to lose steam. We’re tired and summer is looming. But it really feels like my classroom is just starting to hit its stride. Students are finally believing that they can accomplish anything and becoming experts at setting their own goals. AUTONOMY & MASTERY!
 
Starting with one students’ idea to raise money for a charity, over half the class has been having regular meetings to brainstorm what charity we should support and how exactly they want to do it. Now that we have a plan, even more students are jumping on board to help. PURPOSE!
 
They’re accomplishing goals from the language curriculum: writing down proposals, presenting their ideas orally, convincing our principal to give us the go-ahead, coming up with marketing plans. They’re doing math: figuring out prices and budgets. They’re using technology and integrating art. All this they do all the time.. but now, with so much more passion.
 
It’s been a tough year and I’m exhausted but their energy and excitement is changing my attitude from counting down the days till the end to wishing it would never end.
Stay tuned for an announcement about our fundraiser and the ways you can help!
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