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‘The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us’

Dan Pink’s (RSA Animate) idea’s in his video ‘The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us’ provides some interesting background on the psychology behind the question of performance pay. It challenges the notion of intrinsic motivation and puts into question whether people should be driven by financial incentives. If money wasn’t a concern of yours would your work quality/rate increase? Dan Pink suggests that the 3 factors that lead to better performance are 1. Autonomy 2. Mastery 3. Purpose.

Although, Dan Pink’s ideas apply to a business model, what he suggests can be applied to teachers and schools. When we have autonomy as teachers, guiding our students under the pedagogical approach we choose and we are experts in our field (content knowledge, behaviour management, etc), we undoubtedly become motivated by the purpose and not necessarily by the money.

However, the other side of the coin suggests that performance based pay can distort performance and cause a temporary blindness of purpose. But can incentive pay lead to quality teachers? Let’s see below what Dan Pink thinks.

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