Are Rewards Working?

I've always felt conflicted about the use of rewards in my classroom. This year I tried to move away from material awards, by using prize tickets to reward good behavior. Prize tickets are used in a raffle at the end of the week. Hopefully this reinforces cumulative good behavior and not just sporadic efforts by the students.

Not long ago I also posted Roland Fryer's interview from The Colbert Report. Fryer is the Harvard economist behind the efforts to reward NYC students monetarily for test scores. An article in today's NY Times discusses various studies examining the different types of reward systems, including Fryer's. There are some interesting results on the effectiveness of different rewards, but ultimately it appears experts are still divided.

Which means for my own classroom, I'll just have to keep going with whatever works, and hope I won't be affecting any long term damage on my students love of learning or effort to succeed. I try to always tie rewards to achievement as well as effort. I also try to make sure that rewards are more meaningful than material.


Marcy said…
I personally don't agree with or use token economies in my classroom. But, each teacher has to discover his/her teaching voice, which leads them to determine what works.

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