How rewarding good behaviour can harm children

17th July 2015 at 17:26
rewards harm pupils

Popular school systems for rewarding good behaviour are actually harming children, according to an internationally renowned psychologist and expert in character education.

Prize-giving assemblies, motivational posters and gifts for children who do well are “killing” classroom culture, argues Marvin Berkowitz, professor of character education at the University of Missouri-St Louis.

The academic says research shows such rewards are counterproductive and that positive role models – in school or at home – are a far more powerful and benign influence on children’s characters.

Professor Berkowitz said that praising a child in public could be problematic. If a pupil’s good character or behaviour was highlighted in class or at an assembly, he said, “at this point everybody hates [that child], she’s uncomfortable, the teacher is killing the culture of my classroom”.

For more on this story, get the 17 July edition of TES on your tablet or phone or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents.


Related Content

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now