Skip to main content

Berlin Brandenburg International School

You are here



Friday, 14 October, 2016

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a keynote by Alfie Kohn whose main research focus is motivation. In a well-known book, he has applied the question of motivation to schools in general and homework in particular. His message comes timely when we go on a week of holidays and when many parents will ask: Do you have any homework? Following the research, homework does not change outcomes –motivation does.  So naturally you will ask, how we as a school motivate the students?

Especially as the next piece of bad news shares that extrinsic motivation using grades, incentives and even praise, does not have an effect according to Kohn’s research – what works is intrinsic motivation which stems from curiosity and a deep interest in a question. At BBIS, we try hard not to kill the natural curiosity of children, and keep honouring the question, not just the answer. Inevitably, in certain learning situations some things cannot be avoided - like preparing for exams, a bit of homework, or receiving grades. What I hope is that your sons and daughters have a great week with you, following their interests – then it is time well spent.

With best wishes,

Peter Kotrc