Rewards and Punishments Don’t Motivate
- The current NCLB system and Obama’s Blueprint place excessive reliance on rewards and punishments. The assumption is that they will motivate students and educators. It relies on a belief in behaviorism, which focuses only on objectively observable behaviors and discounts mental activities. They do not take into consideration the challenges that confront individual schools. Sanctions do not tell a staff what is wrong or how to improve the situation. There is no evidence that sanctions are effective. There is also research that shows how rewards dampen interest in, and enthusiasm for, the activity that is rewarded. Fortunately we haven’t been dangling many rewards in front of kids. Human motivation is far more complex.
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