May 28, 2012


500 schools offering 'iPods and shopping voucher bribes' to cut truancy rate and make pupils do homework

It seems obvious, doesn't it? Bribe the students with something and they'll do as you want. Too bad it doesn't work.

Check out Marzano's research. 

In the Freakonomics documentary (I can't remember if it was in the book), paying students with cold, hard cash for grades proved ineffective. Can you imagine? Cash. 

Two weeks ago, my students were working on a project. We were building a math game with several parts. Running out of time, I asked them to take home a "map" and finish coloring it. Coloring. In my three classes, 50-75% of the students did not finish. Coloring. No really... Coloring. For many students and their families, school is simply daycare. Bribes are not going to change that view.

In fifteen years, I've tried everything. Encouragement. Extra recess. Parties. Certificates. Game hours. Toys. Treats. Money. Coupons. Free time. Everything works for about a day. Nothing works in the long run.

Listen, I'm not a defeatist. I continue to do my best to motivate the students in the moment. By offering creative, enjoyable, unique, fun lessons and activities, I trick the students into learning. In spite of themselves. Toys and treats can't compete with a good computer activity.

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