For my first run with the 20% Project, I made several deliberate commitments that I considered paramount for a successful project. One of those commitments was to rely as much as possible on “intrinsic” motivation.
Intrinsic movitation is a nice thought, but the reality remains “kids are kids.” While this project absolutely liberated some students, it invited others to fall back on old ways of delay, deny, and dodge. As a result, I’ll run toward more structure for the next crew.
Interesting collateral findings:
1. It’s difficult to “cheat” on the 20% Project. You can’t just copy somebody else’s homework, you must do your own original work. The array of excuses on checkpoint days was varied, but not terribly inventive.
2. Allowing great freedom on 20% days was not successful. While the point was to allow students to engage in whatever they chose, the reality was that many did other homework, surfed the web, or socialized with friends in the library. These wanderers also tended to be the ones with the most excuses and the most complaints. The problem, at least concerning a portion of my population, was the same as always. What motivates students to learn on their own? Complete freedom does not necessarily equal success.
Another post soon.