Learning Theories

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1. Some researchers believe that by rewarding learners with tangible rewards such as gold stars or similar rewards we are doing more harm than good. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? Do all rewards have a negative impact? Support your ideas with evidence from the literature (10 points). Children are either motivated extrinsically or intrinsically. Those students who are intrinsically motivated, in them a desire to learn is seen. This is usually linked with achieving a feeling of accomplishment. These are the students who are always ready to take tasks with challenging nature so that they can understand the concepts and information deeply. On the other hand those students who are extrinsically motivated put in minimal efforts to gain maximum rewards. Large number of teachers believes that motivation of the students can be increased if they are provided with various forms of tangible rewards like gold stars, stickers, candy or even prizes. They believe that such type of rewards can generate positive results as students will repeat the action knowing that they will be rewarded for that. It is also believed that parents are not encouraging their students to learn for which they become indifferent to this. Thus, such tangible rewards can motivate students to learn. Teachers in this respect believe that these rewards will help children not only to learn but also to listen and behave in appropriate manner (Kamins & Dweck, 1999). Besides this several argue that learning is devalued and development of self discipline by giving away rewards to students. Best example in this respect is of a child who completes his assignment just with an intention to be rewarded, might not have learnt the value of doing hard work. Thus, it will not be wrong to say that tangible rewards only produces changes in short run (Skinner, 1953). Rewards therefore have a negative effect on the performance of the students for the reason that they are seen as a way to control students and elder students may feel insulted or even manipulated at times when rewards are been offered. Important point here is that no change is seen in the behavior by the rewards when students are not properly supervised. Many teachers prefer to give intangible rewards to their students rather than tangible. Such students are provided with an opportunity to earn points which are easily exchangeable with special privileges. Examples for intangible rewards are giving students extra time for activities, reading, class games etc.

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