Blog Post

Should we bribe kids to behave well?

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 14 March 2004



Should we bribe kids to behave well?
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Posted DateSunday 14 March 2004 11:17 GMT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
Linkshttp://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/programmes/heavenandearth/prog ... 
Original SourceBBC - Releigion & Ethics - Heaven & Earth 
CategoriesMotivation; Measures, Targets and Rewards
PeopleAlfie Kohn
CountryUnited Kingdom

I want to cry! I want to shout! I want to scream! But I quietly smile to myself and shake my head. I have just been watching a Sunday morning programmme on BBC TV - Heaven & Earth where they were reporting on a scheme in Manchester England in which schoolchildren could win a prize just for attending lessons, as part of a plan to tackle truancy.
As part of a 10 week pilot scheme, each week a computer will select random names of six pupils from six different schools across the city. They will each win vouchers of £100, and £15 for each of their classroom peers, if they have been in classes at particular times the previous week. If they haven't attended, no one wins and the money is rolled over. Mick Waters, Manchester City Council's chief education officer said: "This is about dangling a carrot in front of all students for a trial period to see if we can get some of our non attenders back in their classrooms and back in the habit of regular attendance."
I hope like me other people feel this a very misguided idea to say the least. Judging by the Vote on the Heaven and earth website 95% of people do but I have no idea how accurate a poll that is.

To me Alfie Kohn sums up all the arguments against such rewards on his website or in his book Punished by Rewards
In this book, Alfie Kohn shows that while manipulating people with incentives seems to work in the short run, it is a strategy that ultimately fails and even does lasting harm. Our workplaces and classrooms will continue to decline, he argues, until we begin to question our reliance on a theory of motivation derived from laboratory animals.
Same reasons why I am against rewards and other bribes for knowledge sharing Smile!

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