Rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels,
each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels,
and each student demonstrates learning at high levels (Blackburn, 2008).

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Motivating Students--Rewards or Not??

Do your students like to be rewarded?  Do you also wish your students were more motivated?  That's a hard balance, isn't it?  An overuse of rewards or other extrinsic motivators can have unintended consequences, including having to regularly increase the rewards to higher levels. If you've been reading my blog posts, you know my bias is toward creating an environment in which students are more motivated to succeed.  You can do that by tapping into two things:  value and success.

Although there are those who contend that extrinsic and intrinsic motivation are opposites and that teachers must choose one or the other, most teachers I meet take a middle-ground approach. They are opposites but not mutually exclusive. In a society that celebrates the value of rewards, a classroom that solely focuses on students’ self-motivation is likely the exception, not the rule. However, we should strive to create a classroom environment that minimizes temporary, external rewards and encourages students to become self-motivated. It is possible. As Jennifer, a student on a message board said, “No one can provide motivation for you, it must come from your core, from your inner self. If it doesn’t, then it’s not motivation.”

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