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A is for Average Dr Helen Street. EXTRINSIC REWARDS Stickers Merit Cards Ice cream School prizes Money… Approval…

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Presentation on theme: "A is for Average Dr Helen Street. EXTRINSIC REWARDS Stickers Merit Cards Ice cream School prizes Money… Approval…"— Presentation transcript:

1 A is for Average Dr Helen Street

2 EXTRINSIC REWARDS Stickers Merit Cards Ice cream School prizes Money… Approval…

3 INTRINSIC REWARDS Meaning Skill advancement Appropriate challenge Personal and professional development Self-enhancement FUN

4 The problem of this for that A focus on outcomes leads to a loss of interest in process An unhealthy need for others approval Moments of elation amidst a life of discontentment (conditional goal setting)

5 Crazy stickers and average ‘A’s Primary school – Stickers, stars and merit cards High School – Grades and awards Working life – Incentives and bonus schemes “Promising a reward to someone who seems unmotivated – or demotivated – is like offering salt water to someone who is thirsty: it’s not the solution; it’s the problem” Alfie Kohn, 1999, The Schools Our Children Deserve

6 Crazy stickers and average ‘A’s Creates an outcome focus  Loss of autonomy  Loss of control  Loss of choice  Loss of attention on process

7 Crazy stickers and average ‘A’s A need for greater and greater rewards – if it isn’t working – increase the dose Stickers for everything ‘A’ becomes average

8 Crazy Stickers and Average ‘A’s Reduced Intrinsic Motivation More than 80 studies with young people have shown that providing incentives takes attention away from learning, and results in a reduced enjoyment of an activity

9 Crazy stickers and average ‘A’s Decreases sympathy and empathy If kids are rewarded for being nice to others – they learn to like them less…

10 Crazy stickers and average ‘A’s Is just like a punishment… For every ‘winner’ there are far more losers For every winner the pressure to win again increases

11 Crazy stickers and average ‘A’s Links to depression vulnerability Fame, fortune and feeling down  Street, Nathan and Durkin 2002 (Young and Well)  Goal choices and depression

12 But surely rewards work really well…? Rewards create  Compliance and control  Obedience  A love of rewards (as long as they increase in value)

13 Intrinsic motivation and beyond Life satisfaction Autonomy Positive social relationships A love of ongoing learning Task persistence Better performance Co-operation and compliance

14 Creating opportunity We can not ‘make’ young people motivated We can  Support an optimum learning environment  Create opportunity for self- determination

15 Positive relationships A safe environment Collaboration Autonomy (choice) Task engagement (interesting and relevant content) The motivated class Creating an optimum learning environment

16 Creating positive relationships Teacher Wellbeing  Enhancing work experience  Managing stress Effective communication  Taking an interest in individuals  Listening  Being genuine  Empathy and compassion

17 Developing a safe environment Emotional safety Connections with others Intimacy – opportunity to express true self (Childhood wellbeing in the classroom, Street, H 2004 in ‘Checking The Pulse’ Smith and Riley (ed))

18 Encouraging Autonomy Deprive children of self-determination and you deprive them of motivation

19 Engaging Students  Challenge and skills  Clear, achievable goals  Ongoing feedback  Structure  Meaning and value

20 A word about praise… To praise is "to commend the worth of or to express approval or admiration" (Brophy, 1981) Encouragement is to support autonomy and self-direction CONTROLENCOURAGEMENT Look at how quietly Jack is sitting! I can see that you have really expanded that idea in the essay That’s fabulous.The green paint really makes the picture stand out Edward Deci 2013 – personal communication

21 Ideals and realities An ideal for the future  NO MORE REWARDS, AWARDS, INCENTIVE PLANS OR GRADES  Celebrate community (not achievement)  Provide ongoing feedback (not absolute judgements)  Support collaboration, autonomy and engagement  Appreciate the positive  Develop meaningful relationships  CELEBRATE LEARNING

22 Ideals and realities A shift in the right direction  Autonomy (not control)  Reduce complexity of rewards (A versus incomplete – Kohn)  Minimise use (Do we need to grade this?)  Ensure that rewards and punishments are task relevant (A chance to borrow a coveted book?)  Focus on behaviour (for rewards as well as punishments!!) No more‘stickers for being a great person…’

23 Interested in finding out more? Class on Fire workshop in November All notes, references and related articles can be downloaded directly from If you want to ask me a question, invite me to your school to talk or to help you make a positive change …

24 Motivated for life Truly successful students do not learn to love rewards they ‘love to learn’ for life.

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