In response to the post, “Using Rewards,” and the subsequent comments, a reader writes:
“Giving people a goal to work towards, such as a reward, is absolutely a great idea. Too bad the State of Texas virtually refuses to allow schools to reward students for excellent performance on TAKS. However, I will say this: rewards will not “save your bacon”. I have seen highly dysfunctional schools try to get better, by using rewards for students. It does not matter how motivated the student is, if the student doesn’t know anything. What I mean is don’t think you can come up with a program or reward system that will make up for a lack of quality instruction. Creating and maintaining a good school boils down to having high quality, student centered, rigorous, bell-to-bell instruction, everyday. If you don’t have that, forget the rewards as they will do nothing for you.”
The reader is spot-on. The only thing I will add is this; as adults, not only do we have a responsibility to motivate our students, our students naturally do an excellent job of both mimicking our level of motivation and meeting our expectations. After years of experience and 1000’s of observations and site visits, I can assure you that when you hear adults say, “they just aren’t motivated to try on the test,” you have adults who are not motivated by student success and/or don’t believe their kids can pass.
Think. Work. Achieve.