It seems that it didn’t take long before our students finally understood the value of using rubrics whenever they need to complete a task. Just the fact that they look forward to get hold of that rubric sheet tells me a lot! On our rubric, children are graded on a scale of 1-4 . We tell them that a 3 means they are working on their level but a 4 means that they are working above grade 2 level and they gave us more than we asked for. Everyone, of course, aims for a 4. The rubrics highly encourage autonomy, creativity, enthusiasm and engagement . What a beautiful thing it is to see our students intrinsically motivated!
One example of this was when the children wrote their Non-fiction book in class. We gave them a rubric stating what we were going to look for in their books – features that they HAD to COMPLY with. What we observed was that the students complied with every requirement as they needed to . But what surprised us was how excited they were to do MORE than what was asked for because they wanted to get that 4 . They would find ways to be creative by reading other non fiction books and getting ideas from them or searching for cool text features on the internet . They would even ask us if they can just stay in the classroom for break, strangely, they’d choose to WRITE over going to the playground at lunch recess.
When I compare how we motivate our students and how our workplace motivates ME , I see a lot of similarities . For one, in our workplace , we don’t focus on material incentives . What our amazing admin does is they give us, teachers full TRUST and autonomy in what we love doing. In their own way, they INSPIRE us to “do what we love in the service of something larger than ourselves.” I think the best motivator for me, is really seeing my 2 principals teach what they preach .
Compliant or Engaged ? I certainly believe in Dan Pink’s argument that engagement is the KEY to success in any type of workplace. What’s become clear to me is that schools should focus on intrinsic motivators in order to engage students and teachers. An ideal school is one that is results-driven and trust-based . It should be a place where visions are well articulated and mastery is possible.