Posts Tagged internal vs. external motivation

What Motivates You?

How successful you are at handling stress often comes down to one thing: Knowing what motivates you.

Do you know what motivates you? Most people have never given this question a second thought. But when you know what motivates you, you can thrive in any stressful situation.

Internal vs External Motivation

Autonomy is a key driver of human behavior in traditional American culture. The most successful people are autonomous. As a result, they are able to handle stress successfully.

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs referred to autonomy as the level of “self-actualization.” The Levels of Development refers to this as Level D, Democracy. People operating at Level D take the initiative to do the right thing regardless of social pressures. … >>>


Grading Student Behavior Doesn’t Work

grading student behavior

I have heard of teachers grading student behavior. But I was thunderstruck when a parent informed me that a teacher was using the letters of the Hierarchy of Social Development to have students grade themselves.

When you ask children to grade themselves on their behavior, the inference is that this is necessary because they may behave irresponsibly. This, by itself, is contrary to the Discipline Without Stress model. Teachers should be positive and assume that students will act responsibly.

The Perils of Grading Student Behavior

We all know that on a grading scale the letter “A” represents the highest. Unfortunately—AND WITH GREAT MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE LEVELS OF DEVELOPMENT—this teacher was asking students to grade their own behavior each … >>>


Internal Motivation Drives Behavior

Internal Motivation Drives Behavior

For decades I’ve said that internal motivation drives behavior. I’ve seen this truth daily throughout my career. It’s the reason why I wrote the book Discipline Without Stress—to help teachers teach students the difference between internal motivation and external motivation and how each impacts their behavior.

In the Discipline Without Stress discussion group, a teacher made a comment about wanting to use Discipline Without Stress to “give young people a meaningful voice in their education.” One of my dear colleagues and friends, Kerry Weisner, responded with her viewpoint. Here is her reply:

“Giving kids ‘a meaningful voice in their education’ is not my goal when I use ideas from DWS in my teaching or parenting. Perhaps I misunderstand what … >>>


Procedures, Discipline, and Feelings

When students are following procedures, they are at an acceptable level of behavior: Level C. At this point discipline isn’t an issue, and you don’t need rules. The procedures and expectations accomplish what rules are supposed to do, and your need for discipline help diminishes. Even better, the procedures and expectations are better than discipline because they spell out clearly and exactly what you want students to do.

Level D is always available as a choice. You might refer to that option a lot, but always word it as an OPTION, which is the secret to making it even more attractive.

With very young students, aim at getting them to understand the difference in a very simple concrete way … >>>


Rewards and Motivation

We know that rewarding fosters competition to see who gets the most number of rewards. We also know that using rewards as incentives to young people fosters feelings of punishments to those in school who believe they should have received a reward, but didn’t.

Recently a teacher relayed a story to me that perfectly sums up the pitfalls of relying on rewards. Her story is a perfect illustration of how external manipulators (giving rewards as reinforcers) do not do what adults would like them to do, namely, transfer the desired motivation.

“I have a cute story about rewards in the classroom. I teach first grade, and sometimes just getting the kids to remember their folders and to sharpen pencils is … >>>


Free Books and Staff Development for USA Schools

The mindset of current educational approaches regarding student behavior unfortunately focuses  on obedience, which turns out to be a common source of reluctance, resistance, resentment, and even rebellion. Simply stated, OBEDIENCE DOES NOT CREATE DESIRE.

However, when the focus is on promoting responsibility, obedience follows as a natural by-product. The reason is that motivation to be responsible requires a DESIRE to do so. The motivation must be INTERNAL.

Many schools use EXTERNAL motivation of stimulus-response psychology in the form of rewards, threats, and punishments. However, these approaches (a) foster compliance rather than commitment, (b) require an adult presence for monitoring, (c) set up students to be dependent upon external agents, and (d) do not foster long-term motivation for responsibility. In … >>>