Reward System: A Means of Motivation For Students

Why do some students find school boring? If you are to ask kids what they love about their school, they all will likely give the same response; their friends and extra-curricular activities. To them, these are the reasons why they love school. However, why did they enroll in your school? To learn! Learning can be boring and interesting, depending on the approach employed by the teacher. To make learning interesting and engaging for students, there is a system that schools use in their classrooms, this system is known as the ‘Reward System’. You know what reward means; a gift given in respect to an effort or achievement. The reward system according to Huffman, Huff, Patterson, & Nietfield is defined as “An effective way in which you can celebrate student achievement and positive student behavior. The use of rewards within the classroom is a form of extrinsic motivation for students, encouraging them to participate cooperatively in academic and social learning experiences” 

To keep a child’s mind occupied with learning is a hard task to do. Teachers employ this system in order to stimulate them to show interest in learning and build good behavior. This post will address some of the popular reward systems, the advantages and the disadvantages that are attached to this reward system. Rewards come in various forms, but they are all categorized into two major types; Tangible and Intangible rewards. 

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  • Tangible rewards have material value. They include physical materials like money, candy, ice-cream, and toys.

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  • Intangible rewards are the type without any material value, but they also serve the purpose of keeping the students motivated. Example; extra mark, increased playtime, exemption from an assignment for a day, etc. 

The reward system can be further divided into two parts;

  1. The exchange reward system is the system where the students that perform extraordinarily are rewarded. 
  2. The group reward system: this type of reward system works better as it motivates the students more. For example, groups are created with rules of engagement. So any group that performs better in a task is rewarded. Other members of a group can be motivated by their mates to also do better and let the group get rewarded as well. 

How then do you go about rewarding the class?

  • Before you attach any reward to a class task, you should point out to the students how important the task is to them. This creates value in them. 

  • Do not make the mistake of bribing the students; rather, you reward their achievement. Bribing is done when you say ‘I will give you XXXX if you can solve the question on the board’. When this becomes constant, the students might not want to partake in class activities unless you promise to give them something.

Some popular examples of rewards;

  • Extra lunch, candy, or Juice box

  • Addition to their playtime

  • Exemption from homework for a day

  • Extra mark

  • Teachers deputy for a day

  • Class captain/leader for a day

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Advantages of a reward system

  1. Motivation increases; they show more interest in engaging in classwork.
  2. They show improved behavior.
  3. They perform better in their academics; focus more on studying and doing their homework.
  4. You notice an improvement in their grades.

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Draw-back of reward system

  1. Addiction: they get too used to this and would not want to engage in class activities unless there is any reward attached to them.
  2. Reward if not taken care of can turn to bribe, which can be very manipulative.
  3. Reward overtime loses its value. This is why we advise you to do random gifts and do not engage in it regularly. 

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These reward systems are introduced in the class because the behaviors that get rewarded are repeated. Teachers have confirmed that rewarding children allows them to partake more in learning and also build good behavior in them.  

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