Reward: Motivation and Students

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International Journal of Research Studies in Psychology
2012 June, Volume 1 Number 2, 29-38

Looking into the issues of rewards and punishment in
students
Ching, Gregory S.
Lunghwa University of Science and Technology, Taiwan, ROC (gregory_ching@yahoo.com) Received: 9 December 2012
Available Online: 28 January 2012

Revised: 15 January 2012
DOI: 10.5861/ijrsp.2012.v1i2.44

Accepted: 25 January 2012

ISSN: 2243-7781
Online ISSN: 2243-779X

Abstract
A good classroom condition is one of the important aspects in classroom instruction. Many scholars had mentioned that learning is achieved when the students are well motivated. Similarly, different schools have different types of reward and penalty policy, but almost all of them have one common goal which is to motivate students to learn. Similarly, educators nowadays are aware that giving penalties are counterproductive. An effective rewards and penalty system should promote positive behavior and regular attendance, which are essential foundations to a creative learning and teaching environment. This study is concerned with the way in which rewards and penalties, may or may not, motivate students to engage in learning and change their behavior. This study also aims to explore the characteristics of systems of rewards and sanctions in four schools in the Philippines, and students’ perceptions of the effectiveness of systems currently in use. Participants were graduating high school and college freshmen students of Chinese ethnicity. Questionnaires, interviews and observations were used to collect information regarding the students’ engagement with learning, social control, and rewards and penalties policies. Results showed that although school policies tended to link their rewards and penalties system with a positive discipline approach the emphasis in practice often appeared to be on penalties for bad behavior rather than enhancing engagement and motivation. Students tended to perceive rewards to be strongly linked to work and penalties to behavior.

Keywords: motivation; learning attitudes; student performance; student behavior; learning styles

© The Author

Ching, G. S.

Looking into the issues of rewards and punishment in students

1.

Introduction

A good classroom condition is one of the most important aspects in classroom instruction (Beresford, 2000). Learning is achieved if the students are well motivated. Hence, motivation to learn is paramount to student success; however the source of motivation is somewhat complex (Boekaerts, 2002). Many has mentioned that rewards whether intrinsic or extrinsic stimulated new insights in some instances, and in other instances reaffirmed earlier research on achievement motivation in the McClelland–Atkinson tradition (McClelland, Atkinson, Clark, & Lowell, 1976). McClelland and Atkinson demonstrated that motivation to choose, act, or persevere in an activity depended upon the relative expected value of possible goals in a situation and the expectancies of the probability that a given course of action would achieve the goal. When a student is well rewarded for the achievements done in class; this performance–mastery distinction has proved to be useful with regard to differences in goals that were lumped together in need achievement research. An example of reaffirmation of earlier work is the research on performance-avoidant students who demonstrated the same behavior as those labeled high fear of failure in the McClelland–Atkinson tradition (Atkinson, 1957; McClelland, 1958).

Currently, schools have different types of reward and penalty policy in placed, but almost all of them have one common goal which is to motivate students to learn. Educators nowadays are aware that giving penalties are counterproductive. Punishment tends to generate anger, defiance, and a desire for revenge. Moreover, it also gives example to the use of authority rather than reason and encouragement, thus this would tend to rupture...
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