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Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes Paperback – September 30, 1999
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"Every parent, teacher, and manager should read this book -- and hurry." -- Thomas Gordon, founder of Parent Effectiveness Training
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Top Customer Reviews
I tried a different tactic the next period. I decided to promise them the jolly rancher regardless of the outcome, but I still wanted to play the game. I still got much of the same.
That night I picked up this book and read a good deal of it. I decided to put Kohn's ideas to the test. The next day, I pointed the kids to the materials, showed them basically how to do it and set them on their way. No games. No Jolly Ranchers. Nothing. Guess what? All students were learning and involved, students who finished came up to me and asked what to do. They were more than happy to either help other students or figure out more words, or create their own. A complere 180. True, there were plenty who asked, "Do we have to do this?" or "What do we get when we finished?" Which just reinforced for me Kohn's notion that kids have become addicted to rewards.
Does this book show you how? No. Thus the 4 stars and not 5. But it does point you in the right direction.Read more ›
For the most part, I found this to be an intentional counterbalance to business as usual. It appears that there are a great many reviewers with the psychology background to assess how he may set up BF Skinner as a straw man to strike down. I'm not sure it's necessary to set up Skinner as a man to strike down. I do agree with Kohn, however, that "pop behaviorism" and incentive driven behaviors are pervasive in our culture. Incentive plans in business, grades at school, and rewards at home are commonly thought of strategies for management. Kohn consistently attacks the abuses and excesses of incentives and gives a coherent framework for what makes rewards wrong, focusing on how relationships are fragmented and creativity and attention are undermined. As a teacher who has seen grade obsessed students in tutoring and classroom situations, any book that provides philosophical and psychological research to advocate for intrinsic learning is welcomed.
Readers should be aware that this is a *very* radical book. Like other radicals, Kohn is probably better at ripping down the capitalist, or in this case incentive-based, order than in building something up to replace it with. Kohn wants us to reason with people and clearly communicate agreed upon objectives. Has Kohn ever tried to implement these strategies in a classroom of 35-40 urban students?Read more ›
In this well-researched book, Alfie Kohn takes on the educational establishment dominated by experts who advise behavioristic classroom management plans. He challenges many current classroom management practices such as the contingent use of stickers, prizes, parties, gold stars, grades, honor rolls, awards assemblies, and praise. Any teacher working on improving classroom management and motivating students will benefit from reading this refreshingly original and persuasive book and will have a new perspective on some entrenched educational practices that often go unquestioned. As the author says, you don't have to accept everything he says to see the value in making some changes.
Kohn's central thesis is that it is misguided for teachers (and parents and bosses also) to rely on extrinsic motivators and reinforcers to assure quiet, orderly classrooms and manipulate students to behave in ways that are for the teacher's convenience. It is well acepted that punishment is not a way to motivate students. He contends that punishment and rewards are merely two sides of the same coin--and the coin doesn't buy much. Both approaches are applied and popularized behaviorism, a theory attributed to B. F. Skinner and his followers. Citing current research, he backs up his idea that rewards only succeed in the short term. Changes usually do not persist when there are no more "goodies" to be won.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoyed the uncomfortable challenge the author puts the reader. Because it is, should it be? He goes through the arguments well, and challenges.Published 9 days ago by Fig Wriggly
Read it in college. Flies in the face of established empirical science. His arguments would be more believable if he didn't get paid for writing the book.Published 2 months ago by T. Ross
Very interesting book. Used it for a book study that I was leading with the teachers at my school. We had some very good conversations about the different ideas brought forth in... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Justin Ketner
Do not believe a word in this book. If reinforcememt isn't increasing behavior you want to see in people then you aren't using reinforcement!Published 4 months ago by Stephanie W.
Amazing book with such eye opening information for parents and teachers alike. Highly recommend!Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great book! Very enlightening and a must read for all managersPublished 7 months ago by Jorge Alberto Arevalo
Great book! Very enlightening and a must read for all teachers in today's society of participation trophies!Published 7 months ago by Samantha E Blake
Every teacher in America should read this book. It should be required reading in fact.
If you want to understand why so many students give up on schooling, this book... Read more