OK – I am all for fostering intrinsic motivation in students. In fact I think its what teachers (and parents) should be striving to do with most tasks.
But sometimes extrinsic motivation Just Works.
Case in point: my kids and tidying their rooms.
Every weekend for the past few years its been the same *fight* –
Me: “Tidy your rooms: its your job. We need to keep out house clean so we can live a safe and healthy life. It helps us to look after out things when we put them away”.
Kid’s hear and think: “tidy up … … boring … blather blather …. she’ll cave in if we whine and do it for us”.
…and believe me when I say that I’ve tried being strong and not caving. I’ve even followed through and given away some of their toys (although not many – I had to pay for the things!)
I’ve tried bribery (which is extrinsic in nature, I know) but its not a long term solution.
But now I’ve instigated The Rewards Chart.
The goals have been set (both short term and long term) as have the rewards (a trip to the museum and some money to spend in the shop).
This weekend, the kids (6 and 4) are falling over themselves to stick a sticker on the chart. Tidying up has been done in record time AND there was no fighting (another goal).
Miss K (6) is right into it because they do it at school. Mr H (4) is less into it at present … but that’s OK as I think he’s starting to get the ability to think a little further into the future. … although is also smart enough to recognise that if he doesn’t tidy up either Miss K will miss out on going or he’ll get to go anyway as I can’t leave him home. Hence the carrot of some coin to *buy* something at the museum shop which is one of his favourite places in the known universe.
So I can see that there is a place for extrinsic motivation in the classroom as well: term rewards, “Gotchas” etc for things that don’t have a lot of inherent or apparent intrinsic motivation.