Rewards and Punishments: Useful or Not?

This week while working on the interventions project, I’ve been thinking a lot about the effectiveness of positive and negative reinforcements (rewards and punishments) on students’ behavior and motivation. Here’s my thoughts:
one issue with using awards and punishments to reinforce behavior is that students develop an expectation of rewards and a fear of punishments. Therefore, behavioral and academic adjustments are made with the purpose of either gaining a reward or avoiding a punishment. While this may temporarily improve student behaviors, students do not develop personal responsibilitly and self-regulation (Alfie Kohn).Thay lack intrinsic motivation. After talking with Dr. Brocato this week in class, I am more aware that positive and negative reinforcements CAN have a purpose and place in classroom management. (After all, all or most actions human perform are done so with some kind of incentive in mind.) Therefore, positive and negative reinforcements should not be thrown out completely. They should be properly implemented, yet not the basis of our classroom management strategies.
Alfie Kohn and Carol Weinstein have researched the usefulness of rewards and punishments. Basically Kohn discusses how students do not develop self-regulation with rewards and punishments.
Why is this important? Because students need to develop self-regulation. Helping students learn to self-regulate is more likely to create long-lasting effects in students’ attitudes and behaviors. Students may become more ambitious, self-motivated individuals if they are held to standards of self-regulation in high school. When you take away the expectations of rewards and the fear of punishment (extrinsic motivators), students must find some intrinsic motivator to succeed.

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