Monthly Archives: June 2011

Stickers, Candy, and Prizes: Should We Be Using Rewards in the Classroom?

The first grade teacher gives Jon a sticker for getting his math assignment completed. Susan receives a token for being quiet during ‘Morning Meeting’ and if she earns enough tokens this week she can pick a prize from the teacher’s ‘Treasure Chest’. If these external rewards work, why not use them? Or in other words, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.

In the short term, it seems like Jon and Susan improve their behavior, but what happens in the long-term? Will they expect a token every time or for everything? What if, in their perception they have been ‘good’ and the teacher did not reward them? What about their relationships with their peers, do peers eventually resent Jon and Susan?