ERIC Number: EJ917646
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Feb
Reference Count: 19
Developing the Motivation within: Using Praise and Rewards Effectively
Crow, Sherry R.; Small, Ruth V.
School Library Monthly, v27 n5 p5-7 Feb 2011
Motivation is a complicated issue. There are myriad reasons why people choose to do what they do. For example, employees usually work for money, students study to earn grades, heart attack victims learn that when they diet they will live longer--the list of extrinsic motivators is endless. Conversely, there are things people do just for the enjoyment of doing them. Gamers, painters, and skydivers play, paint, and dive for fun and/or fulfillment. This force that compels people to do things simply for enjoyment or satisfaction is called "intrinsic motivation." It would appear that extrinsic motivation is at the core of the educational system. Grades--the chief method of measuring and reporting student achievement and progress--joined by high-stakes test scores, provide the "carrot" of motivation for students, teachers, parents, and administrators alike. Other less obvious but universal external motivators are tangible rewards, such as stickers and prizes; and intangible rewards, such as praise and favor. Librarians are constantly seeking ways to motivate students to read and become information literate, often spending a great deal of capital and energy in incentive programs designed to reward students for their reading and information seeking efforts. Ironically, those types of gold-star, prize-centered programs often work against the goal, because these types of extrinsic motivators can and do decrease intrinsic motivation. The "real goal" is for students to read and seek information to improve their lives, resulting in what educators hope will be a joyful experience, or at the very least, a satisfying habit. In order to reach this goal, educators must, as much as possible, promote action based on students' internal impetus, not on external motivators. In order to foster intrinsic motivation in students, educators must be intentional in the use of motivators, choosing to use motivational strategies that will yield the "best" results for students: the foundation for lifelong learning.
Descriptors: Incentives, Motivation Techniques, Student Motivation, Lifelong Learning, Information Seeking, Rewards, Positive Reinforcement, Information Literacy, Academic Achievement, Feedback (Response)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A