#change11 Motivation and education and resistance to change, curiosity

The discussion in the comments of the last post on resistance and motivation:

I know very few people who like change to for the sake of change – most don’t want change in the areas where they need stability, but embrace it in areas where they need variety. The resistance isn’t just a preference – it’s internal to a person’s needs. (Comment on last blog by Lisa M. Lane)

Early experience, positive and negative, seems a likely factor. (Comment of  VanessaVaile)

I find people who dislike change to be less confident of themselves. (Scott’s comment)

Curiosity and motivation for learning and resistance to change seem to depend on a level of certainty, confidence, safety, trust.2)

Question: How about intrinsic motivation and resistance to learning  and resistance to change?

SDT [Self Dtermination Theory] suggests that humans are intrinsically motivated to approach activities that are interesting, optimally challenging, and spontaneously satisfying (Ryan & Deci, 2000a), and that this process promotes development. Intrinsically motivated behaviours (e.g., exploration) are undertaken in the absence of external contingencies or controls, so engagement with these behaviours does not require prompts by socializers. However, not all behaviours that are important for socialization are intrinsically motivating. Hence, initiation of socially prescribed but unenjoyable behaviors may require the use extrinsic motivators (Ryan, Deci, & Grolnick, 1995). 1)
…  The need for relatedness refers to the warmth and caring received from interactions with others, resulting in a general sense of belonging.

Question: How do we, participants, students, teachers of the MOOC and of schools foster that confidence that is necessary for curiosity and motivation?  Dan Pink tells us that carrot and stick does not work.

Observation: I am confident with some skills, and not confident with other skills. Which means I know and feel I am able to do these things.  Is self-confidence  the sum of all these confidences?  Or is self-confidence the feeling that I am worth  being here even if  I am not able to do anything at all?

A sense of belonging is necessary for motivation (SDT-theory). This is an argument for participants in a MOOC to connect and share. Connecting means belonging?

Science Daily about ‘Personality Gene’ Makes Songbirds Curious: Exploratory Behavior In Great Tits. And exploratory behavior is about the same as curiosity.

Using Instructional Design Strategies To Foster Curiosity. ERIC Digest.   with ten strategies for fostering curiosity.

1)Niemiec, C. P., Lynch, M. F., Vansteenkiste, M., Bernstein, J., Deci, E. L., Ryan, R. M. (2006). The antecedents and consequences of autonomous self-regulation for college: A self-determination theory perspective on socialization. Journal of Adolescence, 29, 761-775. PDF Full Text

2) Also A. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs    It is remarkable that curiosity or learning do not appear in the pyramid.


16 thoughts on “#change11 Motivation and education and resistance to change, curiosity

  1. Curosity and antivipation missed Maslow’s list. The more I read it the more is looks like a list of virtues assigned to a person rather than a list they would make themselves. Where does “self-actualization” need the “acceptance of facts” to confirm itself?

  2. Hi Jaap,

    Agree that Maslow has been discussed extensively and what interests me are the contrasts between his comfortable with learning criteria for the successful learner and the messier “ten strategies for fostering curiosity” you also referenced.

    I think Maslow values a settled and strategic approach to learning that has beauty in it symphonic symmetry. Whereas the ten strategies you also linked to seem to thrive on tensions and incongruities that deliberately provoke an unsettled atmosphere.

    The leverage point in learning differs between students. Some thrive in the comfort of a settled atmosphere while others pace the edges.

  3. Hi Scott, we agree. These strategies for fostering curiosity are far more important, and it is pity this ten strategies are not very clear. Teachers should do more to foster curiosity and some better guidelines would be most welcome.

  4. I do agree that a sense of belonging and feeling valued is important for sustaining confidence. I am pondering the association between connection and belonging. Can we argue that belonging necessarily follows from connection? The term connection seems to me to operate on several levels, in some instances I do connect with others in the network, but that connection is rather like a ‘stop over’ a brief stay with little impact however in other circumstances the connection is more sustained, and becomes deeper. I find that relationships develop when I have more frequent contact and there results a sense of mutuality and reciprocity in the connection. It is these connections that lead me to gain a sense of belonging. Interestingly I don’t know about how a sense of belonging develops in a distributed learning environment?

  5. Theresa, Maslow is from a century ago, (april 1 1908) so cut him in pieces and let’s paste a new pyramid. The old pyramid is from 1943.
    His image of the pyramid was a clever move, simple and easy picture of his theory, which he nor anybody else ever found empirical validation.

  6. Hi Liz, people seem to differ in what amount of contacts they need to have a feeling of belonging. Little children (but not only these) do cry when they do not see any one. Some people do sail around the world alone and they seem to like that. Some students love being with class mates, other students prefer a place of their own.

    Students seem to learn better when they are allowed to work together.

  7. Maslow’s hierarchy has served a useful pupose to inspire conversations like this. But often it’s simply accepted rather than explored. I just read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars and was surprised to see the theory featured in this young adult novel. I hope teen readers find it interesting enough to reflect on, question, and seek to learn more.

    Here’s an interesting perspective on the theory and a new diagram that’s more of the interactive flow charts / mind maps that we’re used to. It’s called “Maslow Rewired” and you’ll not be surprised to find connection at the center — http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2012/03/29/what-maslow-missed/

    What do think of the graphic? How might you change it?

  8. I wonder to what extent this kind of thinking is based on a conscious understanding of ones needs (for example, I am curious therefore I try to learn) and on a specific desire to learn something in particular (for example, that’s interesting, I think I’ll look that up).

    It’s not so much that curiosity and motivation rely on being secure or confident or comfortable – it’s that doing something active (and/or public) about it requires security or confidence or comfort.

    And I totally disagree with Ryan and Deci, above – it makes no sense to say that “humans are intrinsically motivated to approach activities that are interesting”. It is the individual human who finds it interesting or not in the first place.

    Similarly, I’m not sure that confidence is required for either curiosity or motivation – it seems to be the other way around.

  9. Thanks Lisa, Your questions open up new lines of thinking.
    My first thoughts are:
    “humans are intrinsically motivated to approach activities that are interesting” could mean that curiosity is a kind of basic human feature.
    People do make a difference in amount of motivation in people, one could find high and low motivated people. http://www.netc.org/focus/challenges/student.php
    I do ask (myself) if answers on these subjects of motivation and curiosity and security and confidence are fruit of research or of common understanding. I do not find in a (very short) search much research on these subjects. Will have to search better.
    Have to keep in mind that definitions of these very abstract subjects are not clear. What behavior does indicate someone is motivated or curious or confident?
    Someone said: “Most simple subjects change into very complex questions when we look longer at them”
    Have to have breakfast now. Thanks again.

  10. Hi Chris, thanks for your comment, it takes some time to think about your comment.
    A need is a construction, a figure of speech, which is used to explain why people do the things they do.
    I guess that is the reason why it is hard to find support for Maslow’s “theory”. It is not a scientific theory but it is a story to explain why people do things. (and it has been useful)
    The new graphic is does not satisfy me, because the central dot (connections) is not connected to the other dots.
    In my opinion the old and the new graphic are too clear and simple, as if all wisdom and knowledge about needs and motives can be caught in one graphic. As if no questions remain unanswered.

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