Simon Creasey

Streaks: is the motivational tool helpful or harmful?

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Gamblers often find a winning run is more satisfying than the prize itself. Simon Creasey explores whether classroom reward schemes that tap into the same motivational triggers are a useful or harmful tool

 Streaks: is the motivational tool helpful or harmful?

Archie holds his red badge for achieving 30 consecutive days of “sitting quietly on the carpet when asked”, and eyes the chart on the interactive whiteboard. He reads that if he makes it to another 30 days of faultless, quiet sitting, he will receive the blue badge; 30 days after that, he will get to pick a prize from Mrs Anjit’s desk drawer.

Max nudges him in the ribs, trying to ask about the badge. But Archie looks forward, says nothing: he’s 30 days in, he’s not going to mess this up now. It’s not even the prize that is the main thing motivating him – right now, he just wants to keep ...

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