Reward and Punishment

One tough concept in teaching is reward and punishment. Teachers use reward and punishment every day to encourage good behavior and good grades. Rewards often include prizes, candy, extra play time, and positive comments. Punishments may include calling parents, reprimand by words, losing playtime, time out, or going to the principal’s office.

Determining when to use reward and when to use punishment can be a little tricky. In some cases students need to be rewarded for good deeds and in other cases they need to be punished for wrong doing.

I feel that in most cases punishment seems to be more accepted than reward. We, as a society, tend to give more attention to those that do wrong rather than those that do right. When giving rewards, it can be very difficult on other children and even parents. Most children (and parents) understand the idea of punishment and want no part of it. They also tend to seem satisfied when one is punished for wrongful actions. Children and their parents want to know that teachers punish those students who do not follow the rules.

However when it comes to reward, others are not so gracious and understanding. When a student or a group of students are rewarded for a good behavior or a good action, those who were not rewarded are often upset and feel neglected. Those students will often argue, pout, and even cry. Their parents are also sometimes get upset and even angry that others were rewarded and their child was not. These are typically the same parents who were grateful that punishment was handed out to others.

So is it fair to give out rewards to students who do good and leave out those that do not? Yes, I think that it is. We punish only those who do wrong. It would not be right to punish those who were good. In return it would not be right to reward those who were bad.

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