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Should Teachers Use Rewards in Their Classrooms? Part Two: The Impact of Rewards on Learning Motivation in Schools

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Show Notes:

I’m so glad you’re back for another episode because we’re continuing our conversation around rewards in the classroom and how or should teachers use them. In last week’s episode, we talked about six beliefs about rewards and what the current research is saying about them now. I have found it fascinating how our thinking and understanding of this topic has changed and shifted over the last few decades, but in particular, the idea of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards as they relate to student learning.

That brings us to today’s topic, which is the impact of rewards on learning motivation in school and with students. I’m sharing what the current research is revealing and specifically talking about the role that intrinsic and extrinsic rewards play in learning.

Last week, I shared that the research from the 1990s believed that giving students an external reward decreased their intrinsic motivation. However, the most current research states that the differences between the two aren’t as clear as they once were. Instead, the research indicates that when students complete an action, task, or assignment, it is reinforced by both an extrinsic reward and the intrinsic reward produced by the knowledge acquisition. This means that getting one doesn’t diminish the other.

After learning about the research, it’s time to know what it practically means in terms of using rewards for learning motivation in the classroom. Research has shown that having extrinsic rewards can serve as a catalyst for intrinsic motivation, which students further foster a genuine love for learning. There are so many other positives to using a reward system in your classroom that I share, along with both the student and teacher's perception of using rewards in the classroom.

Since diving deep into this topic of using rewards in the classroom, I have found it to be even more interesting with each new idea I discover and learn about. Even though the impact of rewards on learning motivation for students tends to be positive, remember that rewards don’t replace excellent teaching or building relationships. Be sure to come back to next week’s episode, the last in the series, where I discuss the idea of gamified learning and its impact on student engagement and motivation.

Inside this week's show, you'll learn:

  • The impact of rewards on learning motivation in schools and what the current research reveals on how it affects student learning
  • The role that intrinsic and extrinsic rewards play in learning and how the research has changed significantly over the last few decades
  • Ways to practically implement and use rewards in the classroom, along with the perceptions of both students and teachers on rewards
  • A preview of next week’s episode in the series focusing on how and should teachers use rewards and the idea of gamified learning

Links & resources mentioned inside this episode:

I hope this information is helpful as you prepare for your first, second, or third year of teaching. Until next time, remember, just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one.

💛 Lori

Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor

Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at and at

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