Nidhi's Blog

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Rewards and Punishments

on June 13, 2013

Rewards and punishments are different ways to handle discipline in various life situations. Whether you are on the giving or receiving end of the discipline, understanding how to distinguish between the two can be helpful toward making good decisions. Rewards are generally more positive and used to reinforce good behavior, while punishments are used to discontinue negative behavior. Both are thought to be effective methods of discipline, depending on the situation with which you are confronted.

Learn about the different types of punishments in order to better understand what they are. Punishments can be verbal or physical. Verbal punishments include yelling, speaking negatively and criticizing. Physical punishments include spanking, hitting and slapping. Withholding rewards is another type of punishment. Withholding rewards means not giving a reward that was previously promised, such as not giving a child dessert because he behaved badly. Another method of punishment is creating penalties for behavior. Examples of penalties are time-outs, losing an allowance or being grounded.
Understand rewards by looking at how positive behaviors are treated. Rewards include such things as money, treats, gifts and spending time with people or at places that are enjoyable. If an individual receives something that makes her happy for good behavior, she is likely receiving a reward.
If a consequence is occurring for negative behavior, it is a punishment. Punishments can be created by people or can be naturally occurring as a result of an action, such as being hungry after missing dinner. If a consequence occurs for a positive behavior, it is a reward, such as receiving an A on a test after studying hard. Getting a good grade is a natural reward for the positive behavior of studying.


7 responses to “Rewards and Punishments

  1. This is interesting and gets me thinking about rewards and punishment in the classroom with our students. I strongly feel that some teacher discipline their students to the extremes. By this I mean taking away certain classes (physed, or art) when someone does not do their homework or finish work that was meant to be done in class. Why is it that these are the classes that teachers punish their students with by taking away. They are just as important as math or ela. I feel that kids should not be punished for not doing their homework. As teachers we do not always know what is happening in the homes of our students and should take that into consideration. We should be rewarding our students for the work they do, do to help build that relationship and confidence in our students.

  2. Personally, I love taking the reward route–if you want the students to be quiet, praise one or two who are sitting quietly and ready to work, instead of continuously telling the rest to stop talking. So many times, students are looking for attention. When they see that they will receive attention for doing what you ask, they will do the expected behaviour. It is a hard habit to get into, as often we find ourselves frustrated and almost pleading for the students to do what we want, but getting into this habit is really effective!

  3. Many times teachers resort to punishment because we are often tired and react too quickly. Teachers don’t always want to take the time to get to the root of the behaviour. In my experience, what I perceive as a behaviour issue is really not the case. For example, this week a student was aways putting his hands deep into his pockets and fumbling around. I found the behaviour distracting and I kept asking him to stop. I was ready to react negatively except i stopped to ask a simple question. Why are your hands always in your pockets? Because he replied, my eczema is really itchy today! Punishment and reactions wouldn’t be very effective in this case.

  4. […] was reading Nidhi’s blog tonight about rewards and punishment. How should we handle inappropriate behaviour in our […]

  5. Swati says:

    I don’t feel reward and punishment really work in classroom to manage students, or to motivate them to learn. Students may exhibit temporary compliance, BUT will not develop intrinsic motivation to perform well or to behave according to the set standard (which should be the goal). If punishment and rewards were effective in reducing inappropriate behavior or motivating students to perform, then there would be NO such problems in schools. I personally feel that Intrinsic motivation leads to improved student academic performance and they become more committed to learning in general.
    We teachers should communicate and discipline students in positive way. Instead of telling them what not to do, we should focus on telling them what is right for them to do.
    What do you feel about this?

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