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Millersville University Matthew J. Monahan


EDSU 701: Administrative Supervision February 22, 2017

REFLECTION ON DRIVE
Daniel H. Pink, 2009

I just dont know what to do with him anymore! my exasperated friend said
about his toddler. This good man is diligent in his endeavor to impress concepts of
appropriate behavior upon his three-year-old son. Bad behavior, especially refusal to
share or whining, typically results in the loss of a toy. The child understands the system
well enough that he sometimes surrenders toys based on his own actions, without being
asked. The stick of punishment is not as effective in curtailing his sons undesirable
behavior as my friend would like. It happens that I was reading Drive, and I suggested
that rewards and punishments are not always effective (I swear, he asked for a
suggestion!). I observed that this man is his sons hero, and that the boy wants to please
his father. Three-year-old behaviors will absolutely flare up. But if the child understands
why the behavior is undesirable, they may be able to invest less energy in the what of
punishments. In terms of Pink (2009), perhaps my friend can appeal to the Type I in
his son by positively appealing to the admiration that the child already has for him. (p.
75).
I could have used some good advice during this past fall semester. Students in my
co-taught class exhibited an encyclopedic list of problem behaviors, and the mix of
personalities was tricky. Recently one of the students commented, How did they ever
put us all in the same class together? Thats just stupid. Classroom management
became a challenge for my colleague and I. Rewards and punishments were less
effective that we would have liked, especially since grades did not extrinsically motivate
many of the students. Our class became an example of a low-trust environment: When
leaders fundamentally dont believe people can be trusted, they create systems that reflect
that belief. (Covey, 2006, p. 248). This semester I have the good fortune of teaching all
honors students. Many of these students are so extrinsically motivated by grades that I
must focus on the intrinsic motivation of learning opportunities. Grades will work
themselves out if they trust the process.
The challenge for me as a teacher is to attempt to replicate the techniques,
passion, and trust that I establish with highly motivated honors students on with less
motivated groups. It seems that Pink (2009) would suggest that the remedy for
unmotivated behavior is engagement, not punishment, because only engagement can
produce mastery. (p. 109).
The Central York School District is attempting to provide students with more
voice and choice in their own education. I believe that the district is also attempting to
inspire the same in its teachers. An opportunity available to teachers in the high school is
to teach seminar courses during our flex period. Seminar courses are not required, nor
are teachers compensated for planning and teaching them. They consist of 26 flex
periods, which last 40 minutes each. Students who complete the courses, in which they
voluntarily enroll, earn 1/3 of a credit on their transcript. I am currently teaching the fifth
of six seminar courses that I am designing to teach western civilization to interested
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students. This sequence is serving to fill a gap in our schools instruction, which I
believe to be a somewhat noble undertaking. The strongest motivator for me, however, is
that it gives me the excuse and occasion to delve into concepts and content of my
choosing. I get to explore historical topics of interest with engaged students. This is why
I got into teaching in the first place! Pink (2009) contends that taking an interest in
work is as natural as play or restpeople will accept, and even seek, responsibility.
(p. 74). The opportunity to develop and teach seminar courses seems like excellent
validation of this point. My seminar courses are mine and nobody tells me what, or how,
to teach. I invest considerable time in preparing for these voluntary lessons, and I am
happy to do so.
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REFERENCES

Covey, S.M.R. (2006). The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything.
New York, NY: Free Press.

Pink, D. (2009). Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. New York,
NY: Riverhead Books.