Friday, October 9, 2015

Five Reasons NOT to Reward Students

Five Reasons NOT to Reward Students - Rewarding students MAY do more harm than good. Here are some reasons.
Many teachers love to reward their students for doing a good job on their classwork. 
I have mixed feelings about this, and here are some reason why.
Rewards can make behavior and work habits worse in the long run. Simple rewards can certainly motivate children to work harder, but once the reward is gone, the motivation stops. Behaviors and work habits go downhill fast once the children have been rewarded. "Why should I read if I'm not earning a prize?"

Rewards cost money. Teachers don't have a lot of money. 

Rewards give the wrong impression. Good behavior is what's expected. Giving rewards makes good behavior an extra effort worth of a prize. It's almost like turning good behavior into a job, with a paycheck as the prize. 

Rewards lead to entitlement. Children develop a sense of entitlement for simply doing what is expected. Unfortunately, this leads to adults who feel entitled simply for showing up at work. 
Learning is its own reward. Students need to be developing a sense of pride in what they do. That is the true reward! Feeling good about working hard for something is a wonderful feeling! Taking pride in a project done well, or a successful test is a prize within itself. 

Despite all these reasons, I won't say that rewards should never be used. There are some children that need that extra motivation in order to be successful. Some children have behavioral challenges or educational challenges that make school very hard. In these cases, rewards should be used carefully.



12 comments:

  1. THANK YOU! I couldn't agree more! I think that school-wide and classroom behavior reward systems that provide extrinsic rewards have backfired in the long run not only for the kids, but for the education system and society in general. They have directly contributed to the development of "what's in it for me?", entitled youth who lack personal drive and initiative and the sense of pride that comes with a job well done. I'm so happy to hear from another educator who shares my beliefs, particularly when the beliefs are contrary to the current trend in education to incentivize everything!

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    1. Thanks for your response! The "what's in it for me?" mentality doesn't help education. I hope the children develop personal pride in what they do. That's my goal, and it's a lot more valuable than trinkets!

      Sally

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  2. Excellent post, Sally! I dumped the Treasure Chest 6 years ago after starting Whole Brain Teaching...the Super Improvers Team took its place! The "trinkets" were short-lived incentives, but a little piece of construction paper with 10 stars drawn on it to recognize ten episodes of individual improvement is carefully carried home to be celebrated there and hung on the fridge! New card and one level up on the wall ready for 10 more self improvements! Inspires even the most challenging students in a classroom! So positive!!

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    1. Thanks for your comments! Whole Brain Teaching backs up what I believe in... the children should feel proud to do their best work! And they do!

      Sally

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    2. Nancy where can I find out about the Whole Brain Teaching? Could you tell me more about the Super Improvers Teamand the chart? Are you looking at an individual assignment they improved on or a subject that they improvedon?

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  3. Great post! I agree, as a veteran Teacher you live and you learn. It disturbs me to see new teachers walking around with candy boxes in hand to give a jelly bean to "good students" or for " good work". Smh

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    1. I have so many allergies in my class, candy isn't an option! Honestly, I'm glad!

      Sally

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  4. yes, Yes, YES! I did a treasure chest for far too long, and I'm glad I ditched it for the reasons you mentioned above. Spot on post! =)
    ~Heather aka HoJo~

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    1. Thanks, Heather! I'm glad there are others out there who have come to this realization!

      Sally

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  5. I completely agree. And when I do want to reward my students, I try to give them an experience, not a trinket, sticker or candy. For example: For a collective reward, 10 extra minutes of recess with the entire playground to ourselves. For example - individual rewards: getting to sit at the teacher's desk to do assignments for the morning.

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  6. I completely agree. And when I do want to reward my students, I try to give them an experience, not a trinket, sticker or candy. For example: For a collective reward, 10 extra minutes of recess with the entire playground to ourselves. For example - individual rewards: getting to sit at the teacher's desk to do assignments for the morning.

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  7. My daughter and I were just talking about this on the phone! It is no longer expected of children to do their work and behave at school. They only want to do it if they are given an extrinsic reward. Students are not able to feel rewarded intrinsically any more. It's sad that this generation of parents and students feel the entitlement. I unfortunately have to blame my generation for doing this. Things are definitely getting worse. Parents are trying to be their child's friend and give them everything they didn't have as a child and now it is backfiring on them. Schools won't suspend repeat offenders. Those students are getting away with disrupting the class and hindering the learning of all. I don't know what the answer is to change it, but I do see the problem. It's sad when students think that "EVERYONE" should receive an award for good work, even if they didn't earn it to begin with. It's like society is too afraid to say, hey you did work hard enough, so therefore you don't get to reap the benefits of those who did. We have to stop feeling sorry for those who don't try, those whose parents aren't involved in their education and stop worrying about being politically correct all the time. I am guilty of this myself. I currently have issues with my own son and regret not being harder on him.

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