Pink Time! Raising a question…!

The first time that I heard about Pink Time was in the Motivation and Education course when the designers of this idea inspired by  Daniel Pink’s TED talk and his book, were invited to our class to talk about this novel idea. That’s how it works:

They ask their students to skip the class three time times, do ANYTHING that they like, absolutely ANYTHING; no limitation or guideline,  share what they did with the class in the next session, and assign a grade to themselves.

They found it to be a very successful experience. Challenging students to learn something because they like it not for any other reason and helping them to become self-regulated learners.  At that point, for me, as a person who believes in the chaotic and unstructured nature of learning, this sounded like the most fascinating idea.

Fast forward to six months later, last semester, I took a course in which Pink Time was part of the syllabus. In the middle of the semester, we skipped one class, did whatever we wanted, shared it with people in the room in the next session, and assigned a grade to ourselves. I decided to read an article about STEAM education which I had in mind for a long time (which by the way, even with the excuse of Pink Time, I did not read the whole thing). As fun and entertaining the next session after the Pink Time session was, hearing about everybody’s activities and what they did, I did not like the whole experience. Here, I’m going to describe what I felt without analyzing it:

While trying to figure out what I should do for my Pink Time, I found myself doing it with a sense of obligation. I was not excited. I was not adventurous (stayed within the academic structure (read an article)), and I definitely did not enjoy it. I was surprised by my feelings toward this experience to which I had a pretty positive attitude toward before I got involved in it. This experience made me think whether this activity in this form is appropriate for all levels. When people get to the level of graduate school, they are pretty much self-motivated. I loved the case made by Daniel Pink, but should the implementation of his idea in the form of Pink Time be modified for the different educational levels?

I look forward to reading your comments and ideas about this question.


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4 Responses to Pink Time! Raising a question…!

  1. baileyfood

    This is an interesting post – I also was involved in a course where pink time was included within the syllabus. Prior to this I had never heard of the concept. Theoretically it sounds like a good idea, though I agree that perhaps the applicability of its use differs by level. I also felt obligated rather than inspired. I have a natural curiosity – as I’m sure most who find themselves in graduate school do – however this task was another add on to a long list of ‘to-dos’. I use my limited free time to investigate and learn about topics that interest me, and therefore I’d rather use academic time to further writing tasks or to keep up with emergent articles within my field.

  2. hlee28

    I appreciate you brought Pink time. I also took a quantitative course that included pink time, it was the first pink time during my education. I believe the concept of pink time is really interesting in many ways, pink time could be a good education tool for every level of education. But I think that we need kind of strategies to use the concept to students based on the levels of their education, the different majors, or for different purposes. I’ve noticed that many of students in the course I took were presenting what they already have done, (some students used the pink time very effectively for sure), because we were all graduate level of students so I guess we took the easiest way to do other assignments/projects they are working on. For graduate level of students, I would assign a topic which related to course subject for pink time, and will discuss to decide what topic they want to do. Also I would have pink time at the beginning of my course (week 2 or 3) than later when students have mid or final exams or works to do. Pink time has great potentials as a tool for education in many ways, so let’s try to find the best way for our students.

  3. Amy Hermundstad Nave

    This was a really interesting post and brought up a great question! I personally have never been in a class that incorporated Pink Time, and I am trying to be honest with myself in thinking about what I would do. I can definitely relate to just moving from one deadline to the next and just working on whatever is most urgent at the time. I am curious to hear other thoughts on ways to maybe modify Pink Time based on educational levels!

  4. Brittany Hoover

    I’ve heard about pink time from others in my department but have never experienced it for myself. From how you and others describe it, I too would most likely do something that I would’ve needed to do at any other point of my day or week. I think graduate students are good at self-motivation but maybe not good at stepping outside of our programs and academic fields? Also maybe not applying imagination to things that are required for class. I think once you set requirements and parameters on something that is meant to be a different learning strategy, the fun is gone from it. These are just my random thoughts.

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