Motivational Reflection

A search on this blog for “dopamine” will return a post about Feedback & Motivation along with most of my posts about neurotransmitters, of which dopamine is but one. In rereading my posts, I was reminded of the role of dopamine – one of the “feel good” neurotransmitters – in motivation.To quote myself:

If you’ve been following this blog then you know that the “feel good” neurotransmitters–serotonin, dopamine and endorphin–can be released by the brain in response to external stimuli such as exercise, laughter, singing, listening to music, and, perhaps the most powerful of all, positive feedback.

Positive feedback can make most of us feel good, and receiving that feedback can be motivational. In December, 2006, I applied to the Google Teacher Academy and part of the application process was to make a movie on one of two topics. I chose “Motivation and Learning” and made a Flash animation on the topic. Dopamine plays a starring role in the animation. (For the curious, I was accepted and attended the academy in February of this year. Quite stimulating!)

This past Wednesday, August 29, was the opening day faculty meeting at my school, and the debut of the professional development activity that I created back in June. (The Prof Dev Series link at the top of the page will take you to a listing of the posts about that activity.)

Being asked to create the activity was in and of itself a hugely motivating force. The actual time spent on creating the activity, and writing blog entries for each portion, proved to be an enormously satisfying and creative endeavor. Each day’s efforts and results motivated me to want to return the next day to continue the process. It was the very act of creating that provided my intrinsic motivation, and if there was any extrinsic motivation involved it was purely seeing the blog post and seeing the updated digital file for the activity.

My next several posts will be about the activity and the following day’s speaker. For now, I am off to enjoy the glorious sunshine of this Saturday morning!

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