Using Rewards to Motivate Students
Many elementary teachers use rewards to motivate students to exhibit appropriate behavior and to achieve academically. Research shows, however, that rewards have limited utility as motivators and are effective only when used under specific conditions. There is also a philosophical argument against using rewards, that is, that it is more appropriate for a student-centered (progressive) teacher to use student-centered approaches to motivating students, like providing engaging and relevant instruction.
Please cast your vote after you've read the arguments.
You can also add to the debate by leaving a comment at the end of the page.
Yes, rewards are effective motivators for students.
Research shows that some elementary students respond to rewards to motivate learning when rewards are given (or taken away) in close proximity to completing a task that is readily under the control of a student.
This being done from a young age is precisely what would socially condition children to work based upon the consideration of future reward. Whilst it is very much true that much of society and later work life follows a similar pattern, people ought to be encouraged to appreciate intrinsic value in what they are working on. If students need to be motivated with external rewards then the ways in which the work is being taught ought to be reassessed (if it is essential that they learn the specific material) and the content itself questioned in terms of the extent to which it is needed.
Rewards are appropriate in a student-centered classroom.
If asked, students are most likely to agree that they like getting rewards, so providing them is a student-centered action.
FALSE. The children need to be kept on their toes, rewarding them for silly trivial actions will result in a weak backbone for our countries and empires stabilization. FOR NARNIA!!!
There needs to be more punishments for children whom are disrespectful. In fact, I will gladly volunteer my basement as an area for punishing the lazy, the dim witted, the forgetful. Without proper regulations and the installation of fear, the only reward they will be getting is a pink slip and a cardboard house.
You know what is motivation? Telling a child that they have two options for the day, memorize all of the material or have their lunch taken, and their pinky smashed between the door frame. It is much more effective than rewards, and cheaper as well. Also, free lunch! That should quell some teacher complaints and any cause of a strike, now they get paid minimum wage AND lunch is included. You're welcome.
Rewards are relatively ineffective for motivating students
Rewards only work under very specific conditions for specific tasks and have only short-term effects.
Rewards as motivators are not appropriate in student-centered classrooms
Rewards are used primarily by the teacher and for the teacher in order to control and manipulate behavior, something done to students, not with students.
What do you think?