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A thought...

Earlier today I learned something about someone that got me thinking.  What it was and who it was doesn't matter, but the crux of the matter is this:

Do you think it's right to reward people for exams?
If so, where do you draw the line?

Don't understand?  What I'm referring to is this.

Some parents use money as an incentive for their kids.  They tell them that for their exams if they get top grades then they get X amount etc, and it all varies depending on grades and parents.  Over here, people often get money for GCSE's and A-levels, however some get other presents.  You can obviously alter this to other exams or results etc, as seen fit, and people have, but it varies from person to person.

It got me wondering what other people thought about it all.  Do you think it's right?  Would you do it?  Is it the right incentive to give people.

Personally, I don't think so.  I don't agree with it, because most of the time in the real world, you won't be rewarded for doing one piece of work well.  I know you can get pay rises etc but they also depend on how long you've been there.  While it's nice to be rewarded for things, I don't think we should provide false incentives.  If you're only working for something to get the reward, you have the wrong incentive.  You should work hard for things because it is the right thing to do.
I also don't think that people should be given rewards as incentives, because everyone's pass lines are in different places.  If you are really clever, then you'll have a completely different line to someone who may have learning difficulties.  While both may still do the same work, the one may have lower targets to the other, and even though reaches and is nowhere near reaching the standard of the other, they can still achieve things which they feel happy about.

I realise that some people may think that my views are old fashioned, and well, I'm not saying they are, but then all I was given for my GCSE's and Alevels was a verbal congratulations and a card.  I received a card and a mini beanie Plankton from my parents for getting a 2:1 in my degree, and I received 2 lots of flowers from 'friends', neither of which I was expecting at all.
Little things like this make me happy, because they're kind of spontaneous, and I never expect anything, so it's nice when I'm surprised.  It wouldn't be right to automatically expect something at the end of it all, even though you've put in so much work etc.  The best reward you can have is knowing that you have done the best you can, isn't it?

So what I really want to know is what you guys think.  I am fascinated to know whether this is just something that happens in the UK, or if it happens anywhere else, etc.  Am I right to think how I do?  I'm up for a little debate, or just some thought giving.  It's something that's been playing on my mind all day and I just really am interested in what other people think.


( 17 humble opinions — Your humble opinion? )
Sep. 27th, 2008 10:15 pm (UTC)
It happens pretty often over here, and I don't agree with it. I was never rewarded, and I didn't need to be rewarded.
Sep. 27th, 2008 10:36 pm (UTC)
You have no idea how refreshing it is to see you say that. I was starting to think it was only me!
Sep. 28th, 2008 07:13 am (UTC)
We got money at the end of every year at school. Yes, reward for good marks, but also when marks are not as good, we get the money. But mostly from grandparents, not parents. Only really little kids get things from their parents, on primary school. When older, our parents suppose us to take responsibility for our marks, our future and they try to teach us that we can't expect a reward for every work we do, especially when it's about our own future, we are working on ourselves; no one will pay you if you biuld muscles or loose weight or whatever, you are doing it for your own good feeling. .. But grandparents, IMO, think they are not involved enough in our lives and they compensate it by money .. sad but having extra money is not bad, no? Lol. Well, and at some period, this rewarding ends. Usually at the end of high school (for me earlier). Then we go to work or UNI and if you are at UNI, you get rewards/presents when you finish it, but it's the same everywhere, I suppose.

I hope that my comment makes sense, haha.

IMO giving rewards or little presents is good. It's a motivation because at certain age, you simply won't be able to explain to your kids that they have to study that they are doing it for themselves and things and money will keep them focused. But you should know when and how to stop this rewarding too, you have to teach them the reality of life. And of course, the amount of money or sizes of gifts have to be kept in reasonable level. Sth to motivate but not to spoil! Else kids will do stuff only for big rewards and they won't learn anything (about life).
Sep. 28th, 2008 07:16 am (UTC)
omg, what a book I've written there!! :D
Sep. 28th, 2008 01:03 pm (UTC)
Haha it's alright, I'm just interested to know what people think. Free money is never a bad thing, I'm just querying the methods and reasons for it.

I agree with your final comments though - yes rewards are good, and we need them, but we have to be careful when we get them.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 28th, 2008 12:41 pm (UTC)
I see what you say, but pay rises are normally rewarding consistent good work. A lot of people getting money for exams here, are told about it just before they do their exams, so they work/revise harder for them. That's what annoys me, and now too many people just expect to get something.

I think it's nicer to be surprised with a reward, whatever it is, rather than automatically expecting something.
Sep. 28th, 2008 08:37 am (UTC)
I did tend to get some money every summer from my granny if I had a good report card (just in primary school though!) and later I did get money when I finished my Abitur (A-levels). But then it is rather normal to celebrate the Abitur in Germany. When I finished my teacher education last fall I did get little presents as well (stupid things a teacher could need *chuckles*) because I was finally done with everything and the normal working started.

But I assume you are more wondering about the parents who bribe their kids for every single exam. Personally I don't think it is good as soon they just expect to get something for a good result. But in your job-life nobody is patting you on the back for everything good you did. I still prefer bribing with money over the "you are grounded when you get a bad grade" version though. I have kids in school that have horrible manners and they have extra plans where they can collect stamps: when they have 50 stamps for example the parents go to the karting center or zoo with them. Whatever the kids wish. But that is just the very last solution. Personally I am just glad that I don't have such kids in my class! I'd probably kick them at some point.
Sep. 28th, 2008 01:16 pm (UTC)
But in your job-life nobody is patting you on the back for everything good you did.
Yup, exactly. There are rewards, in the form of pay rises, but they only happen every so often.

I still prefer bribing with money over the "you are grounded when you get a bad grade" version though.
That's the whole carrot and stick approach. In my opinion, it's reward for good but you don't punish for bad (for work related things obviously - some things DO require punishment), but you have to be careful what you reward for. Rewards are nice, but they're appreciated more when you don't expect them, or if you've really gone out of your way to do something well, and then it's more like a thank you (if that makes any sense).
Sep. 28th, 2008 12:52 pm (UTC)
I never got rewards for exams (mostly because I think it's an entirely different system over here). I got a few little beanie bears and a beautiful ceramic angel when I graduated from college with an 81.9, but otherwise, nada.

In Ron Clark's "The Essential 55", Rule 15 is "Do Not Ask For A Reward". He gives the example that one time he stayed up late baking cookies for those that did well on a big test, came to school the next day and one of the girls said, "Mr. Clark, do I get anything for doing well?" He instantly turned around and made a big show of giving the cookies to teh class next door.

I think these days, a lot of awards are given for "false achievement", ie mediocrity. I do not think this is a good idea. Because a lot of kids now expect stuff after exams/tests/reports and don't feel any incentive to work harder for it.
Sep. 28th, 2008 01:10 pm (UTC)
That's very interesting. Thank you for showing me that Rule 15. Fascinating yet so poignant!

I applaud you for your final comments. It's nice to know it's not just me thinking like that (though I'm not sure how well it came across up there!)
Sep. 29th, 2008 08:37 am (UTC)
If you've not, read "The Essential 55" and also see "The Triumph: The Ron Clark Story". Because fuck, no-one else believed they could, except him. And he was unorthodox but so good.

Me= cynic :P But it's always good to know that someone's on a similar wavelength.
Sep. 29th, 2008 10:06 am (UTC)
I might have to get that then. What else has it got in it, other than the rewards thing?

No one said being cynical was a bad thing :P
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 28th, 2008 08:36 pm (UTC)
Mmmm interesting. Maybe I've been short changed on exam monies!

Grandparents work on different rules to parents.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 28th, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC)
I duno then. It's an interesting one to think about though. My grandparents are nice but the one set are SO scottish it's scary, so you don't get a lot off them, but they do pull spoil you at times! The scots are often known for being cheapskates, and my grandma, who actually isn't scottish (my grandpa is though) actually asked for certain things back if we didn't want them (after she'd given them to us) to save her having to buy a new one!
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 28th, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC)
I agree, so out of spite we said that we were still using it etc, so she couldn't have it back!
Sep. 28th, 2008 08:33 pm (UTC)
When I was at school if I didn't get good grades then I was less likely to be able to go out or be given shiny things, but was never rewarded when I did well.

It hasn't really changed for Uni. I know I said Singapore was a 'graduation present' but you saw how little my parents cared about my graduation at the time - think it's more of a way for my Mum to say 'it's ok, I' pay' cause she's worried about how I'm going to survive at Uni.

I don't think being given money etc could have made me work any harder at Uni/School, I work to my ability and that's all I can do.
Sep. 28th, 2008 08:44 pm (UTC)
That's very interesting. It was you who got me thinking about this. I wanted to go to Budapest and class that as a celebration for my 21st, graduation and just watching the race in general which seemed like a shiny idea to me, but I didn't have the funds or anyone interested in going with me.

It's nice to have something incredibly shiny like Singapore and graduation is a handy excuse to go, but it's nice that it's not in the same vein as some of the above rewards for exams. Besides, degrees are a law unto themselves! Just make the most of it :)
( 17 humble opinions — Your humble opinion? )


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