That’s what Daniel Pink said a recent blog post. The company twitter recently gave its staff something called ‘hack week’ which allowed them to do anything they wanted at work (instead of the normal work they did) – like google’s 20% idea. The same thing is happening over at FedEx.
Pink continues by saying, “[management] is a technology to get compliance. The only way people engage is through self-reliance.”
I think about this from two perspectives. The first from that of the teacher being the manager. How much autonomy do I let my children have? How much of classroom management is about compliance rather than self-directed learning? The second is from that of the teacher being managed. How much of it is about compliance? How much autonomy is given?
Recently, another teacher had a great idea to start a professional book club, and I used the opportunity to suggest Daniel Pink’s book Drive as a suggestion for a book. I sent out an email noting that it was completely optional, hoping to get about 5 people interested. It turns out that three times that many signed up. Whether they like the book, agree with the thesis, or not, I anticipate that we will get a great discussion out of it because people are reading it because they want to. Making it optional and giving people the autonomy to choose whether or not to partake almost prove’s Pink’s point that people will be more engaged to do something when they have a choice.
If management said everybody had to read this book, there would be eye-rolls galore, and little engagement. The same principle applies to teaching kids. We must give them some autonomy in their learning.