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Paying children for their effort in school


Just a quick follow up to the post I wrote a week or so ago about the Horizon documentary “Who Do You Want Your Child To Be?” in this interesting article on TimesOnline.

One of the methods discussed in the documentary of getting kids interested in their education again was by paying them for their effort and achievement in school. David Baddiel visited a school in America where this was being piloted and came away feeling very positive about the scheme and the futures of some of the children he had met.

I think the end of the article on TimesOnline sums up how I feel about the idea quite nicely: “Aspirational families have always rewarded – with praise and variously priced titbits – their children’s hard work. If that isn’t happening at home, isn’t it OK for the State to step in?” It is a really difficult debate that casts an interesting light on the idea that learning should be fun. Is that going to be enough for some children? If you didn’t manage to see it, then have a read.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Have you read Motivated Minds? It’s been around a while, but I just recently got around to reading it. It’s great! It was really inspiring for me as a teacher and parent. It’s all about motivating children to love learning for the sake of learning. So obviously, it strongly discourages methods like the one featured in this documentary. And I tend to lean that same direction myself. It condones rewarding learning ONLY to jump-start unmotivated students. So I could see this $ in exchange for achievements system benefitting some students, and really screwing with the rest. Such a tough thing… ya, know? I’m going to go read the link you’ve included.

    April 6, 2009
  2. Thanks for the link. I watched the Horizon documentary, and was fascinated by this part of it. My initial reaction was negative, of course. But watching it in action, it made sense to me. And this article helps to articulate why. Better start saving so I can bribe Cassy to get good grades!

    April 10, 2009
    • natashaworswick #

      That’s exactly how I feel. It is really uncomfortable and I’m still just not quite sure how I feel about it. It has made me think a lot about how my own parents used to encourage me, and there was at times a little bribery – not monetary (I had to earn that with chores and working with my dad!) but often a popular toy etc… I really would love Milo to just enjoy learning for the sake of it. I think I might go check out the book Amy mentioned to see if I can pick up some tips!

      April 11, 2009

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