Monday, July 5, 2010

Dan Pink: Compliance to engagement

Daniel Pink's books Drive and A Whole New Mind both speak to how education needs to shift from just left brain linear, sequential abilities to also include the metaphorical right brain abilities.

This leads to the question, how do we motivate people to shift away from the factory model of education towards conceptually creative learning. To make this shift, Pink argues that we must move away from traditional carrott and stick manipulators that simply encourage sit and get - or in other words, an education system that was about processing people through compliance.

Compliance may be good enough in training workers to conduct rote instructions on fundamentally simplistic tasks, but ingenuity, advancement and creativity require much more than just compliance - we require engagement which demands far more autonomy, purpose and mastery on the behalf of children.

Pink also identifies the sad irony in that the American education system is currently moving towards even greater emphasis on routines, right answers and standardization precisely at the time when our society is moving away from these these factory model characteristics.

Want more on these topics?

Here is a brilliant interview by Harvard Business Review's blogger Andrew Keen and Daniel Pink.


  1. Joe,

    enjoyed this video, Pink's book Drive is a must read for educators and fits well with what you write about in your blog

  2. Hey Joe,

    This is a very impressive site that you have here. With this much information available to each of us with just a couple of mouse clicks, why are our institutions still so backwards in their approaches? What is the pathology of these 20 year cycle that Pink identifies?

    Pink's books Drive and A Whole New Mind are both on my reading list for the summer and now I can't wait to get to them. There was something in his comments that had a ring of truth but still perplexes me. He said that our education system is designed for the convenience of adults which I would suggest is accurate. What I can't get my head around is what would this new education system that is designed to engage students look like? How do we keep it convenient enough for us adults to manage without stifling the engagement that we so desperately need to engender?

    Keep up the great work!

  3. Joe,
    You got your left and right brain mixed up in the first sentence.

    It should read

    education needs to shift from just left brain linear, sequential abilities to also include the metaphorical right brain abilities

  4. Thanks, Allan. I made the appropriate change. =)


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