Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Why dangling rewards in front of students and teachers is counterproductive - The Washington Post

Why dangling rewards in front of students and teachers is counterproductive - The Washington Post:

Why dangling rewards in front of students and teachers is counterproductive


Dangling rewards in front of students and teachers with the aim of improving their performance is popular in many school districts and states. The thinking goes that they will work harder if they get something extra out of it — and the bigger that extra is, the harder they will work. The only problem is that the research isn’t there to support the usefulness of reward systems.
Here’s a look at the latest research on the subject and how it affects education. It was written by Alfie Kohn, author of 14 books on education, parenting and human behavior, including, most recently, The Myth of the Spoiled Child and Schooling Beyond Measure. This first appeared onwww.alfiekohn.org. I am republishing it with permission.
By Alfie Kohn
For nearly half a century, research has raised troubling questions about the practice of dangling rewards in front of people to get them to do what we want.  It doesn’t matter whether the people in question are male or female, children or adults.  It doesn’t matter whether the rewards are stickers, food, grades or money.  It doesn’t matter whether the goal is to get them to work harder, learn better, act nicely, or lose weight.  What the studies keep telling us is that rewards, like punishments, tend not only to be ineffective — particularly over the long haul — but often to undermine the very thing we’re trying to promote.
Since I reviewed the first wave of research on the counterproductive effects of rewards, new  studies have confirmed and extended the original findings.  By now, with the exception of economists and a diehard group of orthodox behaviorists (who have restyled themselves “behavior analysts”), most social scientists acknowledge that incentives tend to backfire.  Moreover, the problem isn’t limited to particular kinds of incentives or ways of using them.  The trouble is inherent to the very idea of incentives.  Extrinsic motivators (rewards) tend to Why dangling rewards in front of students and teachers is counterproductive - The Washington Post:


LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT FROM EDUCATION

LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT FROM EDUCATION
EduBloggers

Latest News and Comment from Education