Tuesday, April 17, 2012
In a Sunday times article Professor Richard Ryan , the co-author of the Self determination motivational theory , Should we reward kids for A grades ? warns parents not to reward children for A grades.
His arguments for grades are similar to the CPS – collaborative problem solving approach discouraging rewards for good behavior.
1 Kids are naturally motivated to be curious and learn, do well and behave in an adaptive and appropriate way. Rewards undermine intrinsic motivation as kids see themselves learning and behaving only when there is a reward. Kids do well if they can and not if they want to. If they are struggling we need to ask what is getting in their way and how we can help them. When it comes to motivation we can try create an environment which is conducive to kids motivating themselves.
2 Rewards put the responsibility for learning and behaving on the parent.' Now the parent is the one who has to monitor the child, instead of the child assimilating and really internalizing the value of learning and hard work, (pro-social behavior ),which is really what we want to develop. The locus of control shifts from the child to the parent. Instead of asking what type of person do I want to be – a caring person who is curious and loves learning, kids learn to ask what will I get or what will be done to me ?
3 Rewards reward outcomes and often negative behaviors and values such as cheating, non-cooperation, not taking risks, that help kids get good grades. They ignore the process of learning, the activity itself , valued behavior and the feelings of the whole child.
4 Rewards actually cause the very problems – poor grades and maladaptive behavior – they are supposed to remedy. Rewards increase stress and anxiety which in itself can compromise performance.
5 They way to go is to avoid rewards and instead express appreciation and encouragement. We can be supportive and love a child unconditionally no matter how well he does in school or how he behaves. We can take steps to foster the child's competence, and his perception of being autonomous, self –directed and help him enjoy whatever he does. This will lead to a happier and self –motivated child.