It’s our choice – the adults’ choice – a rich and relevant environment of materials for spontaneous and active exploration and a subtle encouragement of the child’s innate tendencies, drives, and urges OR the imposition of an adult-devised, scheduled, and delivered curriculum for society’s imperative and a blatant system of the adult’s overriding demands, rewards, and punishments. But it’s the child’s humanity that will be enhanced in heart, mind, and soul OR coerced – or forced – to conform, contort – or twist – itself in order to survive. So when we look out there around us and wonder how to motivate, energize, and inspire; we should look further, look back to childhood, to the newborn, that wellspring of energy, effort, motivation and inspiration. We should ask ourselves, “How did we destroy all that was inborn to replace it with a system of physical and relational impositions?”

“What a teacher can do – all a teacher can do – is work with students to create a classroom culture, a climate, a curriculum that will nourish and sustain the fundamental inclinations that everyone starts out with:  to make sense of oneself and the world, to become increasingly competent at tasks that are regarded as consequential, to connect with (and express oneself to) other people.  Motivation – at least intrinsic motivation — is something to be supported, or if necessary revived.  It’s not something we can instill in students by acting on them in a certain way.  You can tap their motivation, in other words, but you can’t “motivate them.”  And if you think this distinction is merely semantic, then I’m afraid we disagree.”

Read the full article at