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“Givers, Takers & Matchers” In The Classroom

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Researcher/Professor Adam Grant talks about his new book, Give and Take, in The New York Times this weekend. The article is titled Is Giving The Secret To Getting Ahead?

Here’s an excerpt:

Organizational psychology has long concerned itself with how to design work so that people will enjoy it and want to keep doing it. Traditionally the thinking has been that employers should appeal to workers’ more obvious forms of self-interest: financial incentives, yes, but also work that is inherently interesting or offers the possibility for career advancement. Grant’s research, which has generated broad interest in the study of relationships at work and will be published for the first time for a popular audience in his new book, “Give and Take,” starts with a premise that turns the thinking behind those theories on its head. The greatest untapped source of motivation, he argues, is a sense of service to others; focusing on the contribution of our work to other peoples’ lives has the potential to make us more productive than thinking about helping ourselves.

It’s a lengthy, but very useful article. A short, excellent video accompanies it, which I have embedded below:

He talks about how people tend to be “givers, takers or matchers” and that takers tend to only have short-term success.

It has the makings of a great lesson for the classroom, and I’ll share what I end up doing with it.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

One Comment

  1. Interestingly enough a colleague had passed this New York Times article along and after reading I too was immediately wondering, “how can this work for kids?” The quote you ended with is one to keep us thinking.

    One salient example of students’ sense of contribution that I’ve had the opportunity to witness was a hydro-fracking project my fifth graders worked on with high school students.

    The high school students prepared an amazingly balanced debate on the issue of hyrdo-fracking for my younger students to be a part of. They also designed a series of interactive demonstrations in order to help prepare my students to write persuasive essays on fracking once we got back to our own classroom.

    I wonder, did the high school students feel that intense sense of purpose to teach my fifth graders beyond their own learning? Looking back, I think so.

    I will keep an eye out for your related posts and what you intend to do with Adam Grant’s research in your own classroom.

    Thank you for being a wonderful example of a “giver” Larry Ferlazzo. Much appreciation.

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