Elementary Teachers' Use and Perception of Rewards in the Classroom

Jul. 25, 2009

"This article was published in Teaching and Teacher Education, Vol 25 number 6, Authors: Kristin F. Hoffmann, Jessica D. Huff, Ashley S. Patterson and John L. Nietfeld, "Elementary Teachers' Use and Perception of Rewards in the Classroom", Pages 843-849, Copyright Elsevier (August 2009)”.

In the past four decades much research has gone into the use of rewards in education yet little attention has been given to the use of rewards from the perspective of teachers.

This mixed method study examined how elementary school teachers define and use rewards in their classrooms and how various motivational constructs such as goal orientation, self-efficacy, and autonomy relate to teachers' use of rewards.

Results revealed that all teachers in the sample use some form of rewards in their classrooms and the majority use some form of tangible rewards. Rewards were most frequently given for behaviour management, but there was a significant relationship between the use of rewards for behaviour and those given for academic achievement. Performance goal orientations for teaching were positively related to the use of tangible rewards and a higher degree of classroom control and negatively related to teacher self-efficacy.

When asked to report on the appropriateness of using rewards in the classroom only one-third of the teachers reported that they should be used conditionally.

Updated: Dec. 09, 2009