Be A Responsible Educator: Know the Difference and Choose the One that is In The Best Interest of Your Students, Long-Term
- Marble Jars?
- Prize Words?
- Traffic Light Charts?
- Clip Charts?
(IF you are serious about supporting
positive changes for your students.)
What is an Extrinsic Motivator?
Yes, Even the Grade is an Extrinsic Motivator!
It starts at a very young age, when, like a puppy in the house-training stage, we incentivize our children with a reward for all of those kind person/good citizen behaviors we expect them to strive for. "Sit puppy! Good girl, have a dog biscuit!" Similar to: "Your teacher told me that you are so polite in school and that your behavior clip never moves down. Let's go out for pizza and celebrate!"
What is an Intrinsic Motivator?
The Rub: Extrinsic Motivators Extinguish Intrinsic Motivation
Like using a Fire Extinguisher to Put It Out
or Being Squished by an Elephant!
Doing the work for the purpose of getting the A takes all of the excitement out of the learning it takes to get to the A and creates a mindset of pushing through the work to get to the desired outcome. It's about the A, not about the learning that could be happening. I wonder how many different ways students may find to get to the A if they are not embracing the learning process? ...food for thought.
The positive emotions that we experience, which build self-esteem and confidence, are not recognized with extrinsic motivators. A pat on the back and a comment such as, "Wow! You must feel so good about yourself having done something so nice for a friend! I'll bet you are really proud of yourself," is the best choice for encouraging positive behaviors and building a solid foundation of confidence. This encourages the child to recognize the intrinsic motivator; the response directs them to recognize the feeling within and eventually eliminates the need to find the reward on the outside. Self-Regulation in the Works.
And if you are reluctant to give up the reward system, couple the sticker or prize with a comment such as the Wow statement above. Provide the child with guidance to find and recognize the internal feelings while recognizing the child with a reward. This is not optimal, but full resistance to the concept is more harmful.