Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pondering MOTIVATION: Incentives? Cash Rewards for Learning?



WHAT DO YOU THINK? 
Should we expect desire to learn to be intrinsic, ALWAYS, across all disciplines?
Should age of the learner be a factor?
Short-term effects? Long-term effects?

16 comments:

Melanie Stevenson said...

I do not agree with paying children to take tests. As the video says, once the offer of the money was taken away, many of the students stopped trying. What if, instead, students could earn things for the school? The school that was featured did not have a science lab. What if they could earn science equipment that all students could have access to? I believe that age also plays a roll in the reward system. Most 5th graders will understand the delayed reward (as they will find out their scores over the summer), but many younger students will not. There has got to be a way to motivate students to want to do well as a personal goal, and not expect a reward.

Ashley Haddock said...

I am absolutely appalled by the idea of having a cash incentive to gain better test scores. In the long run, who does this really benefit? Sure, the school district in which these students test looks fantastic, but where is the line drawn? It was not very long ago I encountered a teacher at a friend's barbecue who tried everything in her power to dissuade me from going into education. Her reason being? She could not "clock in" and "clock out" to make every second she spent at the school worth her while monetarily. This motivated me even more to ensue a degree in education. There are many career fields individuals have interest in that require heart and soul and a passion to make a difference in other's lives other than their own. And, in my opinion, there are not enough teachers who are willing to sacrifice the time, and most importantly a large paycheck (along with benefits) to ensure the youth of our nation have the enhanced education they all deserve; this is not accomplished by becoming rich. If we begin to condition children to excel based on the amount of cash that is earned, what kind of example are we setting? Success is not measured by the amount of zeros in our bank accounts. Success in my mind is how many lives I have impacted and made a difference in. It is a detriment to society to begin conditioning children to believe the only way they can succeed in life is by the amount of money they earn. Values, integrity, and a sense of community is what children should have dangled in front of their faces to encourage them to achieve higher test scores.

Paige Vitulli Baggett said...

Interesting ideas Melanie.Especially earning money for the school. It reminds me of the debate I had when my children were young over paying children allowance. I didn't because I felt their contribution as a family member should not require monetary motivation. But I know parents who feel it helps them learn to save, manage their money and prepare for the world of work???

Paige Vitulli Baggett said...

My favorite part of your post Ashley:
"Values, integrity, and a sense of community is what children should have dangled in front of their faces to encourage them to achieve higher test scores."
Have you read Teach Like Your Hair is on Fire? You'd love it!

Chris Todd said...

I whole heartedly disagree with paying a group of students to learn.But what if there was a prize of some sort to the student with the highest scores from each grade level? It seems kind of the same but not exactly. A reward system has always been around but cash for grades for a mass of kids seems wrong. It is often difficult to motivate kids but thats why we become teachers. I dont think kids will always desire to learn what we teach. We learn things differently at different ages so yes always we should consider the age of the learner. As for effects we saw the students whose reward was taken away let their grades slide. I think that a reward sometimes is ok but not every time. What happens when they get to middle school and the reward system stops?

LeeAnn Bone said...

I do not like the idea. Yes, their grades go up if you offer them money but are they learning the information and keeping it in their heads or are they just trying to memorize enough just to get a good grade to get money. After they get this money they are satisified and potentially forget what they were taught therefore the money offer was of no use if they do not learn the information.
Also, it teaches kids if you offer someone money then good things will happen. But what if these good things do not happen when you offer someone money.
Why does it have to be only certain kids? That is a little unfair don't you think. If this kid get selected and another does not then that kids grades will probably lower, or if the same kid who got selected dies not get selected again then their grades will also lower.
I overall do not like the idea. I think it is a bad idea. We should try and bribe our children to make good grades we should teach them to want to do it for themselves to become better people. To actually learn instead of just doing it for the money and forgetting.

Jenna Baxter said...

While paying kids for better grades may sound good on the surface, if you dig deep enough you will find that these kids are not really learning. As stated in the video, while the kids were offered money their test scores improved, but as soon as the money was taken out of the equation test scores started to drop dramatically. Kids should want to learn to better themselves, not just for money. It is our job as teachers to motivate these kids to want to learn.

Paige Vitulli Baggett said...

"It is our job as teachers to motivate these kids to want to learn." Good statement Jenna...I would expand it to parents as well. The love of learning starts at birth!

Jenna Reynolds said...

I will admit, my first reaction to the idea was "how unfair!'; i could have easily gotten thousands of dollars by the time I graduated high school (between standardized tests and AP scores)! However, after watching further, I can not even begin to see the reasoning behind this idea.
The kids are only memorizing what they need for the test. Ask them a week later, and it will be a foreign concept once again. Their scores go down when the money is not dangling in front of their faces, and the school itself does not even have money to pay the faculty or have adequate supplies. Money would not be a necessary go-to if the teachers had materials to effectively engage students to learn.
However, if a wealthy businessman wanted to give all of his money to 9 year old children, why not put it into a college fund, inspiring them to continue to do well. The benefits of teaching elementary school children to expect money for doing well ($100, not even something like $10 or $20!) and become so money-hungry that all motivation disappears when the incentive is no longer offered. I think I can stand waiting to see how these children will expect to be spoon fed even when they grow to be adults.

sloper said...

I feel that children should not receive monetary gifts for making good grades. I didn't receive money as a child for making good grades on my report card nor did I give my own children money as a reward for theirs either. We should only hope that children learn early on a sense of intrinsic motivation. Our goal should be for them to perform their best on important activities because it makes them proud not because someone is offering them a gift for doing well. The sad thing about this situation is if children are only perform well based on a stimulus then what happens when you remove it? I think that it is a dangerous idea to train children to perform on test by giving them a monetary gift for a few years and then expect them to perform well without it. To make a situation like this evenly remotely fair you would need to have a program that promises to pay them from the very first test all the way to their senior year. If a system does decide to pay children for their test grades I would think they should offer a voucher system that is set up at the local school. This might ensure that the child receives what he wants and prevent the parents from taking the money away from the child within the home.

Lauren McKenzie said...

Why can't the opportunity of going to college be enough an incentive? I don't know that I agree with this at all. If the money was going towards scholarship, I believe I would be more apt to agree; however, to put cash in the hands of students who should be eager to learn because it helps them in the future is ridiculous. The fact that these students are trying harder in order to get cash, and not because they want to succeed in the future, I feel is going to hold these students back in the future.

Faun Lyles said...

I do not think this is a good idea. I think this takes away the incentive to learn and turning into incentive to earn money.

Jessica Sanders said...

I do not agree with paying students to make good grades! Like the video says, it could end up as a problem in the long run. If you take away the reward, what would they work for? Students would probably stop trying. Paying them to make good grades does not push them to work hard for the right reasons, such as getting in to college or getting a good job.

Ashlea Leytham said...

At the beginning of this video, my thoughts were completely different than what they were at the end of the video. Looking at this through a student's perspective, it sounds amazing! Like the video said, students do not understand the impact that a good education will have on them later in their life. Giving them money makes them relate to reality a little more. Sounds like a great plan. Then I look at it through a teacher's perspective and I think it is absurd! Cash incentives take away from learning. Students are no longer learning the material to succeed in life, they are learning the material to get a payday in the summer! We need our students to learn something because they genuinely want to. Not because they are expecting something out of it in the end. Having a great education should be the bigger picture for our students.

Kate Fail said...

Wow...what a concept! I think the intentions for this program were good at the beginning but the repercussions of the program were not thought through. I think the fact that overall, the test scores did not improve other than in math shows this is not a good idea. Since they speak of this being a school with low resources, why not take that money they had to pay students and put it towards things like books and smartboards? If you engage the child and try to make learning fun then that should work just as well or even better in the long run as monetary incentives. It is the duty of the teacher to motivate the students and I find it somewhat lazy to turn to money as a resort for better grades.

Heather Perrin said...

Simply paying kids for their high test scores is a terrible idea. Students should want to make high grades, because they can, not because they get paid. Perhaps if the payment went to a scholarship for college it would be a better idea. My parents used to pay me for straight A's when I was in elementary and middle school. When I got to high school, and they stopped paying me, I stopped trying so hard for a while. Then I realized I wanted to learn just to learn! We should instill this in all of our students.