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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Underlying Concern: Enhancing Intrinsic Motivation


Grit – the Underlying Concern: Enhancing Intrinsic Motivation
We are pleased to see greater attention given to student engagement and

disengagement. However, as often is the case in education, we fear the importance

of the work will be attenuated by assigning it a buzzword.

As one group has noted:

"Every industry has its buzzwords and education is no worse than any

other. One of the challenges of a buzzword is that it can be hard to know if

it marks a passing fad or the leading edge of a trend. Buzzwords can be

distracting as we try to hop on the latest and coolest bandwagon and may

find, too late, that the bandwagon isn't going to any particular destination.

One of the current buzzwords is ‘grit.’ Angela Lee Duckworth did a TED Talk on

grit that has, as of this writing, over 1.7 million views.


Forbes writer Jordan Shapiro points out in Grit, Optimism And Other Buzzwords In

The Way of Education that much of this new movement simply reflects ‘the same

familiar go-get-'em cowboy-individualism and unwavering underdog-tenacity that has

always dominated the American mythos.’

While grit (or perseverance or tenacity) are important and need to be qualities of our

students, as Temple University's Avi Kaplan states, ‘Grit has to be balanced with

intelligent flexibility.’ Apollo 13 gave us ‘Failure is not an option.’ Grit and its fellow

buzzwords and the pathos that spreads them remind us that failure is an option, but

it is important to learn from those failures and to figure out what to do with the

experience of the failure and the learning it begets."

How do you see keeping the focus on matters related to

what enhances and what diminishes intrinsic motivation?

Tell us and we will share it widely.

Send comments to ltaylor@ucla.edu

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