Flow states are the pinnacle of intrinsic motivation, where somebody wants to do something for themselves, for the sake of doing it and doing it well.

People need to feel appreciated and safe, to give themselves to an activity; and they need to feel like they are making progress to keep giving themselves to it. To get into The Zone, you need to know you’re getting somewhere, that you’re in the process of mastering a skill – you need ongoing feedback, whether from another person or another source. There is also something uniquely satisfying about working with other people effectively, towards a shared goal; in my experience there is no substitute when it comes to building a community.

Source: Craft, Flow and Cognitive Styles. Originally a talk to the Waldorf… | by Oolong | Jul, 2021 | Medium

I updated “Mindset Marketing, Behaviorism, and Deficit Ideology”, “Neurodiversity in the Classroom”, “Surveillance, Positive Behavior Support, and Intrinsic Motivation”, “Reading Logs and Intrinsic Motivation”, “We don’t need your mindset marketing.”, and “Cambridge Analytica, Mindset Marketing, and Behaviorism” with selections from “It’s Not About Behavior – Alfie Kohn”.

Plenty of policies and programs limit our ability to do right by children. But perhaps the most restrictive virtual straitjacket that educators face is behaviorism – a psychological theory that would have us focus exclusively on what can be seen and measured, that ignores or dismisses inner experience and reduces wholes to parts. It also suggests that everything people do can be explained as a quest for reinforcement – and, by implication, that we can control others by rewarding them selectively.

Allow me, then, to propose this rule of thumb: The value of any book, article, or presentation intended for teachers (or parents) is inversely related to the number of times the word “behavior” appears in it. The more our attention is fixed on the surface, the more we slight students’ underlying motives, values, and needs.

It’s been decades since academic psychology took seriously the orthodox behaviorism of John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner, which by now has shrunk to a cult-like clan of “behavior analysts.” But, alas, its reductionist influence lives on – in classroom (and schoolwide) management programs like PBIS and Class Dojo, in scripted curricula and the reduction of children’s learning to “data,” in grades and rubrics, in “competency”- and “proficiency”-based approaches to instruction, in standardized assessments, in reading incentives and merit pay for teachers.

In preparing a new Afterword for the 25th-anniversary edition of my book Punished by Rewards, I’ve sorted through scores of recent studies on these subjects. I’m struck by how research continues to find that the best predictor of excellence is intrinsic motivation (finding a task valuable in its own right) – and that this interest is reliably undermined by extrinsic motivation (doing something to get a reward). New experiments confirm that children tend to become less concerned about others once they’ve been rewarded for helping or sharing. Likewise, paying students for better grades or test scores is rarely effective – never mind that the goal is utterly misconceived.

It’s time we outgrew this limited and limiting psychological theory. That means attending less to students’ behaviors and more to the students themselves.

Source: It’s Not About Behavior – Alfie Kohn

Selected quotes from the piece as a Twitter thread:

Through my own work I’ve come to believe the most important thing we can do to help students develop as writers is to allow them to write on subjects of interest and write for audiences that matter.

It’s not surprising this is de-motivating when it comes to writing. As I have said and will continue to say until everyone agrees with me, writing is thinking, and it is significantly more engaging to spend your time thinking about things you’re interested in.

Auto-Scoring of writing assignments should be abandoned if we are genuinely interested in students learning to write, rather than training them to pass assessments.

Source: No One Cares What You Think, And What You Feel | Just Visiting

In essence, they personalize the experience all on their own.
As a result, it is their agency and autonomy that helps them construct knowledge, supported only by strong relationships with their peers and teachers, coupled with an innately curious, intrinsic motivation.

 I began to see that personalized learning is not driven by technology or even solely by the teacher’s ability to personalize on behalf of the children: Personalized learning is driven by the learners themselves, guided by knowledgeable, empathetic teachers that know how to engineer a learning environment where autonomous learning and teacher-influenced learning can strike a mindful balance.

Source: This just in: Technology isn’t necessary to personalize learning. – InspirED