Analyzing a Motivational Reward System Pro's Con Term Paper

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¶ … motivational/reward system: Pro's/Con's

The learning process is a rather complex issue through the various factors it appeals to. This is largely due to the fact that teachers, instructors, and students alike use as tool in this process the human mind which is, in its turn, a complex instrument. This is why an essential role in the activities of the brain is motivation an element which is not necessarily a quality one is born with, but rather something one develops in time, through different practices and actions meant at stimulating it.

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From this perspective, teachers, as well as parents play a significant part in establishing a motivational platform and in developing it to an extent in which this can be further used by the child and young adult as a support for all his future actions. Indeed, motivation is crucial for the life of an individual because it represents the inner strive for moving into the world and for achieving the goals set in mind. It bears little importance what are the aims one desires to achieve, be in school, or professional career. Without a proper motivational system set in place, such activities have no reliable basis and are often subject to failure. In this sense, the family environment, in the early years of a child's life, is crucial for establishing the general guidelines for mental and spiritual motivation. However, the academic environment comes to complete this framework and improve on the various valences of the entire notion of motivation. Therefore, teachers and professors have the difficult task of providing students with the necessary and adequate means for motivating their students towards an academic preparedness. Thus, while parents set the basis for a motivational system, teachers and professors properly define it and set the standards for its completion.

TOPIC: Term Paper on Analyzing a Motivational Reward System Pro's Con's Assignment

There are various means through which individuals can be motivated. However, these take into account the source of the motivational stimuli. In this sense, the family environment, and especially in the relation between parents and children, there is different way of motivating. Most of the times, this is connected to the parent-child framework and is limited, in most occasions to actions concerning the family environment or the education one is required by the society to receive at home. On the other hand, in the academic environment, the motivational stimuli have a different target. It includes academic related actions hence the stimuli and the approach is oriented towards learning objectives and professional preparedness.

While family education achieved most of the times in the family environment is essential in the growing up process, a more complex and defining piece in creating the motivational system is the academic incentives and stimuli which in turn create a type of academic motivation which offers the student the desire and inner strength to follow on his academic objectives.

There are certain elements which must be taken into account in reference to motivation, as a general term in order to have a proper perspective on the theoretical aspects of the notion. In this sense, it can be said that "motivation must first be external before it can be internal. No child is born wanting to play an instrument" (Cook, 2003). Playing an instrument is a noticeable example of an endeavor which demands motivation. Therefore, first and foremost, it must be underlined the fact that, on the one hand, motivation, indeed, is not a God given gift, and on the other, that nothing can be achieved without a proper motivation. For instance, a successful musician is without a doubt a talented one; however, without the desire and inner strength to exploit his talent, he may remain a limited or at least mediocre musician. In most cases, it is not the talent which separates good musicians from great ones, it is the hours they spent practicing and working to achieve the musical virtuosity. This idea can be transposed to the situations concerning all walks of life. It is not mandatory that a brilliant student perform exceptionally in the academic world. Without a proper motivation, he can even waste his talent and mental exercise. This is why it is important that a teacher or professor, regardless of the subject he is specialized in, to find the particular system of motivation to ensure that such artistic talents or scientific inclinations are rewarded and find success.

Secondly, before choosing a certain system of motivation, it is important to consider the nature of the group a professor applies it on. In this sense, he must take into consideration the specificities of the group due to the fact that there is no perfect compatibility between a group of music students and one of sport athletes. Indeed, there are certain elements which take into account the nature of the human being and the elements common to any individual; however, in the matter of incentives and rewards, these differ from one individual to another and from one group to another.

Finally, another significant issue that should be pointed out is the actual system of motivation. In the academic world, the most common motivation is the grading system. In this sense, "students in mandatory courses are often motivated to succeed in the class only because they need to pass the module as a part of the program's requirements; it is the fear of negative results that motivates them rather than the expectation of learning something useful" (Chan, 2004). Therefore, from this perspective, the grading system should not be used in an extensive manner as a means of stimulating students. Furthermore, in general terms, such material incentives are not advisory due to the fact that they stimulate a different part of the motivational system which can result in negative, rather than positive outcomes.

Taking all these issues into consideration, a rather interesting and useful motivational/reward system is the one which addresses motivation as both an internal and external process. It is not necessarily a full accredited system, but rather one which considers the individual as being both human and student, thus addressing both perspectives of the individual.

However, in order to properly asses the pros and cons of a certain system of motivation based on rewards, it is important to also consider the opposing aspect of the reward based theory. One type of motivation is the system based on punishment. More precisely, "one way in which society attempts to achieve its goals is to punish undesirable behavior. Teachers give detentions for incomplete school assignments in the hope that students will develop a sense of responsibility for their work. Parents criticize their children's work habits to instill standards of high achievement. Employers threaten loss of jobs to motivate workers to be more productive. The legal system punishes those who break the laws in order to teach responsibility, maintain order, and protect the freedom of others." (Cameron and Pierce, 2002) This type of motivational system can create a negative outcome because the student will eventually come to consider the incentive as being a goal in itself, rather than the means to achieve it.

There are different aspects of the story however; there are some who argue that punitive-based motivation is important and actually useful in the motivation and organization of student, and there are those who tend to disagree with this assessment considering the negative impact such a method has on the human psychic.

One of the most important benefits of the punishment-based system of motivation is the rapid effects it has. (Cameron and Pierce, 2002) in addition, it allows for a higher set of standards. In this sense, the punishment-based motivation system imposes as main goal "a sense of responsibility, high standards of achievement, productivity and responsibility, order, and freedom" (Cameron and Perce, 2002). Although there is a rather important rate of achievement through this technique, the effects on the individual are rather different because, most importantly, it presumes a continuous state of fear.

Therefore, one of the reasons for which punishment does not represent a benefic means of achieving a strong motivation from the part of the student is related to the psychological effects it has on the human brain. In this sense, certain studies have shown that when applying a certain type of punishment in order to achieve a goal, the effect is reversed. More precisely, "according to Freud, aggression is a biologically rooted instinctive urge that promotes preservation of the self." (Weiner, 1980) Therefore, it can be said that an aggressive attitude attracts an aggressive response and most of the times, there is a limited positive response.

In situations in which the response is positive this is achieved by instilling a feeling of fear and submission rather than one of self-awareness of the necessity of the actions one has to undergo in his own benefit. At the same time, after the punishment incentive has been removed either by changing the environment or by adopting a different strategy by the instructor, the lack of trust can settle in. Considering that a student has been confined to a certain… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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