There was a section in Pink's manual on specific schools, which are effectively using modern motivation techniques in order to extract the best work from their students. Stories are shared of learning environments where the students have complete autonomy over their learning and teachers are more like advisors than lecturers. The reading honestly sounds like the description of some far, distant world, unreachable by any practical means.
But why does it have to be like this? Why is there this innate sense within teachers to... well, teach? I think about my current school placement and the system we work with. We focus on creating an environment for our scholars that emphasizes real-world application throughout their learning, and a demonstration of that learning through the presentation of specific competencies. In this sense, there is still a strong tie to holistic, academic output (grades). There is no way within this system to give scholars complete autonomy over their learning.
Still, I remain hopeful. Next year, I am planning on implementing a rigid system of 20% time projects in my class. I want scholars to get the opportunity to explore something of deep interest to them. This is taken right out of Pink's instructions on proper motivation, and I am hoping that by creating a space for deep, personal learning that my scholars will be able to develop strong, cognitive, and meaningful understandings about themselves and the world in which they live.
It's been quite a ride this semester, and things are beginning to look forward for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year!