Saturday, February 14, 2009

reinforcement pitfalls?

Basically, this evening's post is just a recap of a comment that I left over at one of David Warlick's recent posts. (I promise that I do have some original thoughts of my own that I am sharing, but these guys just do such a great job of asking questions that it is easy to use them for information!) His post is about gaming in modern society and what people are seeing as some of the advantages in students graduating from school and going into the workforce. David had met someone who worked with both younger and older employees in a publishing company who had made the statement " thing he remembered was that younger workers want to know that they are doing a good job, that they need frequent reinforcement...".
So, my question for today is this: Do you think that this has become a part of society today? Now-a-days don't students get rewarded for everything? We give trophies to all the people on the team now. If you participate in the local Science Fair, or Geography Bee, or Spelling Bee or whatever, you get a ribbon or an award of some kind. You don't have to be the best athlete or even the hardest worker to receive recognition. As a classroom teacher believe me, I UNDERSTAND AND AGREE WITH the idea that each person has something to add or that some people would never belong to a club/group without it, and of course everybody likes it when they receive recognition. For some students the participation ribbon might be the only one that they get and a little recognition might pull a student out of his/her shell. But in the experiences that I witnessed, I think that it devalues the idea of getting awards for doing something better, or working harder, or doing something for intrinsic reward instead of the piece of paper or metal. I have seen many an award get left behind "it doesn't mean anything" because "everybody got one of those". Are these same people going into the workforce expecting to get that trophy for simply doing the job that they were hired to do?
(Flickr photo credit: red team by atomicshed)

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