science, or athletics), psychologist
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and his colleagues explored whether traditional
schooling provides any periods of
optimal motivation, which they called
flow—a Cinderella-at-the-ball experience marked by “losing track of
time and being unaware of fatigue
and of everything else but the activity
itself” (Csikszentmihalyi, Rathunde,
& Whalen, 1993, p. 14). At random
intervals throughout the day, students
recorded what they were doing and
their level of engagement. The resulting
in-depth look at their lives offered a
gloomy picture of high school.
While in class, these students
reported high levels of concentration,
but low levels of interest, even in sub-
jects in which they were highly skilled.
In many classrooms, teachers failed to
explain the relevance of the learning to
the world outside school. As one tal-
ented, yet disappointed, math student
noted, “Once you have the theorem
down, it would help you to know how
you could use it, instead of just strictly
what it is. I think it makes it more inter-
esting and easier to learn” (Csikszentmi-
halyi et al., 1993, p.;183).
Combining Intrinsic and
Ultimately, Csikszentmihalyi and colleagues (1993) found that students
develop their talents over the long
haul when they are both intrinsically
and extrinsically motivated—when
they are able to combine enjoyment
of their studies with “serious goal-directedness”—a sense of how to
for Today’s Schools.
The Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership,
Administration, and Policy (Ed.D.) program at
Attend an information meeting. RSVP at gsep.pepperdine.edu or call (866) 503-5467
to schedule a consultation with your program admissions manager, Michelle Awadalla.
WEST LoS AngELES • onLInE