By KRN Admin | Categories Educators | July 25, 2017

Motivating students is complicated. School staff knows what is required of the students by the state. The challenge has been to find a way to get the class to not only see that goal but to instill a desire to achieve it.

A healthy debate has existed for years whether or not rewarding student achievement is the right mechanism for this task. This means of motivation does work (as shown in a study by Robert Fryer, Jr.), but it is important that faculty use it properly.

Not all positive reinforcement is beneficial to students. Reinforcement generally falls into two categories: planned and unplanned. Planned motivation–offering a reward for performing certain tasks–can help students develop good habits over the years. It is the unplanned motivation, bribing a student to get them to perform, that ultimately harms students in the long run. There are distinct differences between the two.

This trail of breadcrumbs, filled with more books, more experiences, and more education about the joy of learning, can turn students focused on trudging from test to test to ones that understand the journey. Bribing students to prevent bad behaviors teaches them the wrong lesson. It shows them that they can get an advantage by using the right leverage, not by working for it.  A system of planned rewards makes the complication of motivating students into a learning mindset easier to do.