To Reward or Not to Reward: Motivating Students to Learn

The late Jere Brophy, a longtime Michigan State University professor of educational psychology, started the second edition of his 428-page tome titled Motivating Students to Learn with the following summaries of two opposing views about how best to motivate students: Learning is fun and exciting, at least when the curriculum is well matched to students’ interests and abilities and the teacher emphasizes hands-on activities.  When you teach the right things the right way, motivation takes care of itself.  If students aren’t enjoying learning, something is wrong with your curriculum and instruction -- you have somehow turned an inherently enjoyable activity into drudgery. School is inherently boring and frustrating.  We require students to come, then try to teach them stuff that they don’t see a need for and don’t find meaningful.  There is little support for academic achievement in the peer culture, and frequently in the home as...(Read Full Article)