Does the reward system motivate students?

A student drawing with a phone besides him




Poor academic achievement in students is often linked to a lack of motivation in class. Rewards and incentives may be given by the teachers as part of the effort to motivate students. But, in some instances, the rewards given might not often yield the positive effects intended. As a matter of fact, high student achievement should come from students who are motivated by intrinsically. Motivation affects every aspect of students’ school life, from attendance to their academic performance as well as their extra-curricular activities.

Promoting student motivation in schools is very important for every tutor particularly in today’s educational environment, where learning institutions are constantly under demands to improve on the test scores, responsibility, and accountability. Due to these demands, teachers end up bombarding students with the promise of rewards. Other incentives may include, budges for good behavior and treats for completing assignments but, these short term incentives though they are done with good intentions, may often miss the mark.

When rewards are given, they can motivate students to attend class or behave well. But, when teachers are not careful in choosing what to reward for, they can prompt children to produce trashy work. In some worst scenario, they can cause their students to, actually, hate some subjects. Therefore, there should be a guideline that draws a line on when to use the rewards and for what reason. Rewards and incentives should be used within a limited time.

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Below is a list of the advantages and disadvantages of using the reward system.

Advantages of reward systems

Appropriate behavior – Giving out items can instantly change the behavior of a student. Students can obey to appropriate behaviors greatly when they are extrinsically rewarded.

A motivation for full effort – Rewards can greatly encourage involvement from those students who are normally unengaged. This can make them show more interest and increase participation in classroom tasks, every day.

More productive students – Rewards and incentives provide a short-term influence to behave or work hard.

Happy students. Rewards create a feeling of pride and success. These achievements can make students more joyful.

Increased self-esteem – Reward system is an easy way to make students understand, do what the teacher wants, then get a prize. Eventually, they become more self-confident.

Improved outcomes – The reinforcement is regular and given immediately, students will not have to wait to receive it. It promotes and acknowledges school effort immediately, and this can lead to improved outcomes for students, children are also motivated to complete their homework on time.

Disadvantages of reward systems

Devaluation – Rewards can make children work for the wrong reasons, which only generate a temporary change. In the end, rewards may become so expected and their real effect may be greatly reduced.

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Addiction – Rather than them being incentives, they can often change and actually become more of a bribe and children may become addicted to these rewards and eventually won’t study without them.

Finishing – Rewards may encourage external attention where children may learn because they want to get something physical out of it so they may focus more on finishing the task in order to win the award, but putting less effort in learning the process.

Manipulation – Not all students may be motivated by giving out a reward, some might feel like they are being manipulated through these incentives, which in turn may teach them how to also manipulate through giving out rewards.

Increased pressure – In a case where the teacher stops giving the rewards, then the desired behaviors may come to an end because they were tied to the reward.

Choosing to motivate students by rewarding them is a decision that should be done based on the environment and prevailing circumstances.




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