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3 Ways to Increase Teacher Motivation and Decrease Stress

Daniel H. Pink, best selling author of “A Whole New Mind” and “Drive” suggests THREE ways to increase motivation in schools. Pink advocates autonomy, mastery and purpose instead of the tired, traditional carrot-and-stick methods.

Speaking at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Conference in the U.S., Pink believes today’s management approaches in schools tend to be designed around compliance.

Based on his background in behavioural science, Pink argues that schools and teachers should be more focused on engagement through self-direction. For both students and teachers, Pink advocates autonomy, mastery and purpose as key drivers.

Pink highlights the importance of feedback to mastery. Teachers and students generally have the desire to do better but either receive no feedback or feedback that is too late in the process to be beneficial.

Whilst communicating the relevance of some class work to disengaged students can be challenging, the significance of the work that teachers do should also be highlighted.

Further motivation for teachers should come through emphasising the purpose and significance of the important work we do in schools. Teachers have a ‘why’ (or purpose) bigger and more important than anyone in the country, according to Pink.

I wholeheartedly agree. For almost all members of society, their children are the most important things in the world. This is a double-edged sword. Whilst it is a tremendous responsibility it is also a significant investment of trust. Parents not only entrust the welfare of their most prized possession to teachers, they also entrust them with their future. We need to continue to emphasise the BIG picture for all staff working in schools.

Through researching Happy School articles the following key drivers are important to happiness.

We need to feel…

  • our work is important,
  • we make a difference,
  • we are good at what we do,
  • that our work is appreciated and
  • we belong and feel part of a team.

A void in any of these areas will lead to us feeling insecure and unsatisfied.