Thursday, October 8, 2009

Prize or feedback?

One supporter of the rewards program disagrees with my characterization of the program as culminating in a "prize." She points out that the student who is chosen in the drawing at the end of each week does not receive a tangible item, but instead "gets a special lunch with the principal or teacher, gets to sit in a special chair, gets to do a special job in the classroom, etc."

That's important to point out, and I suppose I'd feel even worse if the student were given, say, a bag of candy. But it still strikes me as a prize, and my sense is that the students experience it as one. It functions the same way the tickets themselves function -- as an incentive, as something they can "win." In terms of its function as feedback, I don't see a real distinction between the special chair and the tangible item.

..How can I comment?