October 23, 2010

What if? Could it work?

Currently watching a presentation  by Dan Pink on motivation

One of his points is on autonomy and how it drives us.  Here is my question:

What would happen if I told my students at the beginning of a unit: You have to produce this many stories.  They have to be equal in quality to this sample story for an "A".  These are the skills that you need in order to do it.  I don't care what your stories are about, as long as you demonstrate in them that you have this list of skills mastered and that the stories are creative and interesting.

If you want to just work independently and ignore me, fine.  Just get your work finished.  But, if you feel like you don't have the skills necessary, I will teach you a new technique every class meeting that you can use, a new skill to employ in your work.  The skill might be a writing technique, proper grammar, or even how to convey your own clear voice in your writing. If you listen and use it, great, your papers will improve.  If you ignore me, then you could already have the skills and be fine.  But, if you don't have the skills and ignore me, then your work will most likely be terrible, and you will therefore fail.  Pay attention if you want, ignore me if you want, but get the work done, and do it well.

What would happen?  I am too scared to try.


Little Bonobo said...

OMG, that sounds great! Do it, do it! I would have loved that kind of assignment in middle school. Kind of reminds me of the persona projects we had to do in high school, but with more freedom. Did you do one of those back in the day?

Jeff Russell said...

It really does sound good. But, I don't know if the current educational paradigm would allow for it.

Dreams, dreams of a foolish dreamer. Someday perhaps.

Pink also talks about a system called 20% time. It is where 80% of the time at work you do what the company says. 20% you work on whatever projects you want. Gmail and Google News are apparently products of Google's 20% time. Autonomy is AMAZING!