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Although I am not completely against rewards, I believe they are overused in our schools. If our schools were set up in such a way that we could reach the whole child through music, art and reasonable class sizes, we would not need rewards. I do not use rewards in my primary classroom. I feel it stresses out small children when we resort to this token system and robs them of their internal satisfaction. Punished by Rewards is an excellent book to read which sheds light on this viewpoint. That being said, I believe there are some situations where rewards could be helpful. Proper support and routine, however, should be the baseline.
My children attend a school where rewards are not part of the system in any way. They are very motivated and engaged with the material and can eloquently explain just why rewards are not needed at their school (MLC). I believe this system grows more independent people who can think for themselves.
I also believe that we are forgetting just how negative rewards and labels can become. I am aware of a primary classroom where children are awarded at assembly based on whether or not they can write their numbers to 100. If you cannot do this task for whatever reason, you must sit down while the other students stand. I believe this is an example of the worst kind of reward system where children are punished because they are not properly supported at home or are not on the same developmental plane as their peers.
posted 3 years, 9 months ago
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