Question: Rewards for individual students, effective or ineffective?

Posted on March 25th, 2013 by

Since last Thursday was our last day in kindergarten practicum, we had a debriefing on our experiences today in class. One topic that came up was positive reinforcement in the classroom. A group mentioned that a teacher would reward students for good behavior by giving out stickers. Is giving rewards for good behavior effective or ineffective? Why do you think so? How would you reward students in your future classroom or would you not use a reward system at all?



  1. Drew Olinger says:

    Sarah that is a very good question that you are bringing up! I assume you are interested in this because of what our cooperating teacher did with the use of stickers. She did something very similar to what Casey was talking about, she would give the stickers out on a rare occasion and once the students reached 5 they would get to eat lunch with someone one special. I believe that the use of stickers is a good motivational tool but as Casey mentioned it can’t be overused or the effect of the stickers will be lacking. Make these rewards rare enough where it is motivating to the students but not so rare that it is a meaningless reward. All in all it is essential not to saturate the effect of the motivational tool, so by setting up a system that is consistent throughout, students will understand the expectations and be motivated to succeed or to earn the reward!

  2. Casey Dowling says:

    I researched this question and how it relates to student motivation for my Critical Thinking paper in our Psychology course last semester. My paper focused on the appropriate amount of rewards and punishment in the lower classes. I was interested to look if too much or too little effected students’ motivation. My research found that rewards are essential in the classroom, but rewarding students for everything will eventually decrease the value of the reward. In my future classroom I will set up a sticker system, or reward bin that students will have to work up to receive a grand prize. I will also set up a reward system for the entire class. One way to do this would be to start a paper chain and add a link to it each day the whole class has a “good” day. When the paper chain reaches the ground the class will be rewarded with a prize from a prize bin. To summarize, I believe rewards are necessary in the classroom, but in moderation and with consistency.