Punished by Rewards

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Midterm Essay
November 15, 2012

"Alfie Kohn, author of Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes (1993), contends that rewards and punishments are “two sides of the same coin” (p. 50). Although rewards are certainly more pleasurable, they are “every bit as controlling as punishments, even if they control by seduction” (p. 51). According to Kohn, if we want youngsters to become self-regulating, responsible, caring individuals, we must abandon attempts at external control and provide students with opportunities to develop competence, connection, and autonomy in caring classroom communities"

One of the most important parts of being an effective teacher is motivation of the children you are teaching. When I was learning have to be an effective teacher in my methods classes, many of the techniques that I was taught included extrinsic motivation. When I began my student teaching I watched techniques my cooperating teacher used to motivation and noticed she did not use any of the techniques I had learned in my classes. I found myself confused about how I would handle the matter of motivation when it came time for me to take control of the class on my own. I used candy and a treasure chest for rewards, but found that I only received motivation for a short time in return for these rewards. I knew that I would have to do more research and construct a new plan to motivate my student’s long term.

I did some research and found that, extrinsic motivation refers to an individual’s involvement in an activity because an incentive or reward external to the activity has been offered. An extrinsically motivated child will choose to read a book or complete homework because they will get stickers when they have finished or not be allowed to watch TV if they do not finish. Another frequently used tactic to motivate children is threating to call the parent or some other authority figure if they do not get their work done....
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