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Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise and Other Bribes Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise and Other Bribes by Alfie Kohn
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“In a word, learning is decontextualized. We break ideas down into tiny pieces that bear no relation to the whole. We give students a brick of information, followed by another brick, followed by another brick, until they are graduated, at which point we assume they have a house. What they have is a pile of bricks, and they don't have it for long.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise and Other Bribes
“Some who support [more] coercive strategies assume that children will run wild if they are not controlled. However, the children for whom this is true typically turn out to be those accustomed to being controlled— those who are not trusted, given explanations, encouraged to think for themselves, helped to develop and internalize good values, and so on. Control breeds the need for more control, which is used to justify the use of control.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise and Other Bribes
“People will typically be more enthusiastic where they feel a sense of belonging and see themselves as part of a community than they will in a workplace in which each person is left to his own devices”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise and Other Bribes
“Far from helping students to develop into mature, self-reliant, self-motivated individuals, schools seem to do everything they can to keep youngsters in a state of chronic, almost infantile, dependency. The pervasive atmosphere of distrust, together with rules covering the most minute aspects of existence, teach students every day that they are not people of worth, and certainly not individuals capable of regulating their own behavior.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“What rewards and punishments do is induce compliance, and this they do very well indeed. If your objective is to get people to obey an order, to show up on time and do what they’re told, then bribing or threatening them may be sensible strategies. But if your objective is to get long-term quality in the workplace, to help students become careful thinkers and self-directed learners, or to support children in developing good values, then rewards, like punishments, are absolutely useless. In fact, as we are beginning to see, they are worse than useless—they are actually counterproductive.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“Like any other tool for facilitating the completion of a questionable task, rewards offer a "how" answer to what is really a "why" question.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise and Other Bribes
“Students get the message bout what adults want. When 4th graders in a variety of classroomswere asked what their teachers most wanted them to do, they didn't say, "Ask thoughtful questions" or "Make responsible decisions" or Help others." They said, "Be quiet, don't fool around, and get our work done on time.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise and Other Bribes
“Independence is useful, but caring attitudes and behaviors shrivel up in a culture where each person is responsible only for himself.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise and Other Bribes
“Few readers will be shocked by the news that extrinsic motivators are a poor substitute for genuine interest in what one is doing. What is likely to be far more surprising and disturbing is the further point that rewards, like punishments, actually undermine the intrinsic motivation that promotes optimal performance.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“S. Neill put it, promising a reward for an activity is “tantamount to declaring that the activity is not worth doing for its own sake.”26 Thus, a parent who says to a child, “If you finish your math homework, you may watch an hour of TV” is teaching the child to think of math as something that isn’t much fun.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“the question is not whether more flies can be caught with honey than with vinegar, but why the flies are being caught in either case—and how this feels to the fly.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“We tell them how good they are and they light up, eager to please, and try to please us some more. These are the children we should really worry about.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“Many of us have watched people become uneasy, if not positively furious, when they believe some offense—including one committed by a child—has not been punished severely enough. Later in this book I will argue that a child’s misbehavior is best construed as a “teachable moment,” a problem to be solved together rather than an infraction that calls for a punitive response. I will try to show that this approach is not only more respectful and humane but also much more effective over the long haul at helping children develop a sense of responsibility.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“We complain loudly about such things as the sagging productivity of our workplaces, the crisis of our schools, and the warped values of our children. But the very strategy we use to solve those problems—dangling rewards like incentive plans and grades and candy bars in front of people—is partly responsible for the fix we’re in. We are a society of loyal Skinnerians, unable to think our way out of the box we have reinforced ourselves into.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“All rewards have the same effect,” one writer declares. “They dilute the pure joy that comes from success itself.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“As it happens, most studies have found that unexpected rewards are much less destructive than the rewards people are told about beforehand and are deliberately trying to obtain.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“four accounts of how praise may impede performance: it signals low ability, makes people feel pressured, invites a low-risk strategy to avoid failure, and reduces interest in the task itself.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“Rewards usually improve performance only at extremely simple—indeed, mindless—tasks, and even then they improve only quantitative performance.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“It is an integral part of the American myth that anyone who sets his mind to it can succeed, that diligence eventually pays off. It seems to follow, then, that people who do not succeed can be held responsible for their failure. Failure, after all, is prima facie evidence of not having tried hard enough. This doctrine has special appeal for those who are doing well, first because it allows them to think their blessings are deserved, and second because it spares them from having to feel too guilty about (or take any responsibility for) those who have much less.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“As it happens, most studies have found that unexpected rewards are much less destructive than the rewards people are told about beforehand and are deliberately trying to obtain. But”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“Are we encouraging him to make his own judgments about what constitutes a good performance (or a desirable action) ? Are we contributing to, or at least preserving, his ability to choose what kind of person to be? Or are we attempting to manipulate his behavior by getting him to think about whether he has met our criteria? The”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“A person is not an originating agent; he is a locus, a point at which many genetic and environmental conditions come together in a joint effect.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“We accept without question that children have to memorize the state capitals even though they could look up that information whenever they need it. Like any other tool for facilitating the completion of a questionable task, rewards offer a “how” answer to what is really a “why” question.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“the most notable aspect of a positive judgment is not that it is positive but that it is a judgment.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“Some behavioral psychologists defend the practice of punishing employees on the grounds that it helps to “clarify management’s expectations of performance and promote goal setting.”81 (This is comparable to the claim that throwing employees out an office window helps to clarify what floor they work on.) One”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“YOU CAN’T ALWAYS JUDGE a book by its cover, but you can sometimes feel justified in discarding one on the basis of its title. Anything called “How to Motivate Your Work Force,” “Making People Productive,” or something of the sort can safely be passed over because the enterprise it describes is wholly misconceived. “Strictly speaking,” said Douglas McGregor, “the answer to the question managers so often ask of behavioral scientists—’How do you motivate people?’—is, ‘You don’t.’”1”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“what actually stood between the carrot and the stick was, of course, a jackass.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“The more we try to measure, control, and pressure learning from without, the more we obstruct the tendencies of students to be actively involved and to participate in their own education. Not only does this result in a failure of students to absorb the cognitive agenda imparted by educators, but it also creates deleterious consequences for the affective agendas of schools [that is, how students feel about learning]. . . . Externally imposed evaluations, goals, rewards, and pressures seem to create a style of teaching and learning that is antithetical to quality learning outcomes in school, that is, learning characterized by durability, depth, and integration.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“When we repeatedly promise rewards to children for acting responsibly, or to students for making an effort to learn something new, or to employees for doing quality work, we are assuming that they could not or would not choose to act this way on their own.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes
“In the workplace, there is no getting around the fact that “the basic purpose of merit pay is manipulative.”
Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes

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