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Effects of Reward on Motivation in Elementary School Students with Disabilities: A Review of the Literature.

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Presentation on theme: "Effects of Reward on Motivation in Elementary School Students with Disabilities: A Review of the Literature."— Presentation transcript:

1 Effects of Reward on Motivation in Elementary School Students with Disabilities: A Review of the Literature

2 Effects of Rewards: A Quick Survey Loved it! Especially when it involved chocolate haha…I wanted to win. Since I had an ego the size of the sun, public praise was the only thing that worked. I use rewards with some of my students but I do wonder about the long term effects when the rewards go away will they still be motivated later in life?!?! But for now it is a great attendance intervention. I’d do anything for a gold star. Do I get a gold star if I comment???!

3 Problem Statement Teachers commonly implement behavioral interventions for students with disabilities in the classroom to reduce challenging behaviors and consequently increase valuable learning time. One such popular intervention is the use of rewards to improve student behavior and resulting performance. Although research exists confirming the effectiveness of rewards in decreasing negative behaviors, the long- lasting effects on motivation are unknown. If rewards primarily promote extrinsic motivation, then intrinsic motivation may be undermined, resulting in decreased competence, self-determination, and creativity among students. The proper use of rewards in the classroom for children with disabilities must be determined so that they will develop their own intrinsic motivation, resulting in greater success and enjoyment over time.

4 Definitions Intrinsic Motivation: A behavior for which there exists no recognizable reward except the activity itself (Akin-Little, Eckert, Lovett, & Little, 2004). Extrinsic Motivation: A behavior controlled by stimuli external to the task (Akin-Little et al., 2004).

5 Theoretical Framework Positivistic Behaviorism: Extrinsic rewards can build upon one’s intrinsic motivation (operant conditioning). Cognitive Evaluation Theory: Rewards can damage the chance of one becoming intrinsically motivated.

6 Commonly used among students with disabilities, most widely researched behavioral intervention in schools (Kilmas & McLauglin, 2007). Students with disabilities are developmentally less mature, thus respond positively to extrinsic rewards in order to shape behaviors (Witzel & Mercer, 2003). Research reports improvements in behavior with the use of token economies. Reward Systems: The Token Economy

7 Effects on Motivation Preference of self-management interventions for regulating own learning and behavior (Shogren et al., 2011). No clinically significant difference existed between self-management and token economy interventions.

8 Reward Variables Types of rewards used, the reward contingency, how rewards are allocated, and the context in which rewards are administered (Cameron et al., 2005). Rewards for successful achievement on an activity increases individuals’ interest and motivation to perform the activity and other similar tasks in the future. Rewards given without appropriate communication in regards to the purpose of the reward can foster extrinsic rather than intrinsic motivation (Eisenberger & Cameron, 1996).

9 Using Rewards Properly Use rewards properly to promote and sustain intrinsic motivation for students with disabilities. Teachers should determine the function of specific student behaviors, whether intrinsic or extrinsic, so that they can respond appropriately with intervention (Witzel & Mercer, 2003). Undermining effect: the delivery of extrinsic rewards will “undermine” intrinsic motivation for tasks in which children already engage with little or no intrinsic incentive (Reitman, 1998).

10 References Akin-Little, K. A., Eckert, T. L., Lovett, B. J., & Little, S. G. (2004). Extrinsic reinforcement in the classroom: Bribery or best practice. School Psychology Review, 33, Cameron, J. W., Pierce, D., Banko, K. M., & Gear, A. (2005). Achievement-based rewards and intrinsic motivation: A test of cognitive mediators. Journal of Educational Psychology, 97, Eisenberger, R., & Cameron, J. (1996). Detrimental effects of reward: Reality or myth? American Psychologist, 51, Kilmas, A., & McLaughlin, T. F. (2007). The effects of a token economy system to improve social and academic behavior with a rural primary aged child with disabilities. International Journal of Special Education, 22, Reitman, D. (1998). The real and imagined harmful effects of rewards: Implications for clinical practice. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 29, Shogren, K. A., Lang, R., Machalicek, W., Rispoli, M. J., & O'Reily, M. (2011). Self-versus teacher management of behavior for elementary school students with asperger syndrome: Impact on classroom behavior. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 13, Witzel, B. S., & Mercer, C. D. (2003). Using rewards to teach students with disabilities: Implications for motivation. Remedial and Special Education, 24,


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