I’ve been reading Daniel Pink’s book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. It’s a fascinating read, especially for a former psychology major and seeing the application to the education context for motivation. One part in particular really stuck out to me during this time of the year (we are in the midst of SOL testing, where there’s an extreme halt to the flow of our normal instructional days). Pink was describing some research where participants were told to “scrub their lives of flow”…”avoiding situations that might trigger enjoyment” (p. 126-127). Here were the results:
“Participants ‘noticed an increased sluggishness about their behavior.’ They began complaining of headaches. Most reported difficulty concentrating with ‘thoughts [that] wander around in circles without getting anywhere.’ Some felt sleepy, while others were too agitated to sleep. As Csikszentmihalyi wrote, ‘After just two days of deprivation…the general deterioration in mood was so advanced that prolonging the experiment would have been unadvisable'” (p. 127).
Needless to say, SOL testing puts a damper on the flow of the work we enjoy as educators. One week down, two more to go!