There has been a lot of talk of providing financial incentives for students who do well in school. Not to toot my own horn...but I was a pretty good student in school...and never had to be paid. So why should we pay kids for doing what they are supposed to do? Going to school and getting decent grades is one of the few things we expect from our children so they should not be compensated financially. We clothe them, feed them, provide shelter...so that is their "payment," right?
Hmmmm...I'm just not sure. Times are different now. When we perform better at work, don't we expect a raise, a promotion, some kind of recognition? Should students have the same opportunity? If paying for grades is the only way to encourage students to do well in school, why not?
As an educator I know about the value of intrinsic (as opposed to extrinsic) motivators. But when I think back to my own childhood...I didn't get "paid"for good grades....but there was always an uncle who gave me $5 for getting As or an aunt who would take me to lunch for a good report card. There was also the proud looks from my parents when they would show my family my report card during family gatherings. Or the times they took certificates and plaques that I earned to work so that they could show off to their friends. So,what if a child doesn't have those parents who show pride in academic achievement? What if there is no uncle with a five dollar bill or an aunt waiting for a lunch date? What if the only reward or pat on the back a child receives is a financial one?
I am still very torn on the issue. I worry about whether such a program will encourage cheating or reduce intrinsic motivation. Is there an age range where these type of rewards work better than others? What about students with unidentified learning disorders that may always lag behind - who will reward them? The research on these type of programs have mixed results so I am not the only one who is still undecided on this issue! There are all kinds of questions still stirring around in my head. Maybe I'll rewrite this blog when I come to a conclusion.... in the meantime, I'd love to hear what you think. Should students be rewarded for good attendance and good grades?