14-year-old Gabriella told us that her school gives lots of rewards for doing well, or for good behaviour. It got her thinking about reward systems, and if they are a good idea.
I’m sure everyone has been offered a reward for doing the right thing at some point in their lives, whether it has been your parents rewarding you for your actions or teachers at school.
When you are presented with the idea of a reward it makes you want to succeed right? Or does it? I know from personal experience that people aren’t necessarily excited by the prospect of being given a reward and when they are, they are usually set on the reward and not the idea behind it. For example, prizes for winning competitions often attract entries and participants often enter because of the prize and not because they are really interested in the theme of the competition. The same kind if thing comes out of rewards at school.
People do well and behave a certain way if try know they can get something out of it and not because they want to. At a glance, this looks like a good idea. If you can encourage people to work hard and behave well then surely it’s the right approach isn’t it? But look a little deeper and your view may well change. If we are constantly getting young people to act a certain way by effectively bribing them, then they aren’t working hard because they want to and know that if they do well, they can get further in life; they’re working hard because they know the can get a reward and this could be seen as quite selfish behaviour.
As well as this, it’s not preparing young people for the real world where you have to work hard regardless of the rewards you get out of it and I think this is an unhealthy habit. Traditionally, we work hard because we know it’s the right thing to do and personally, I think having those sorts of morals is important so I think people should be educated on the effects of hard work rather than just being bribed into doing what you should be doing anyway.
It’s important to do well because you want to and we should all think about why we do certain things not only so that we know we have these morals but because it shows us what kind of people we are and isn’t that one of the most important things of all?
This article was written by Gabriella (14 years old)