Most of the extrinsic school rewards are of little motivational value to students who fail or fall behind.
Once children have a year or two of struggle in primary grades, once they feel and know for themselves that they are “behind,” they resign themselves to lower status and acquire a defeatist attitude.
The stickers, teacher approval, honor roll, family (and extended family) encouragement become less frequent, less meaningful, less sincere, and less valued. Even peer approval and acceptance begins to wane. Meanwhile, learning becomes more of an effort with fewer rewards and more discouragement, more negativism, more privileges withheld, and more on the punishment end of the reward-punishment continuum.
–Bill Page, “At-Risk Students: Feeling Their Pain,
Understanding Their Plight, Accepting Their Defensive Ploys”
pp. 49-50, Copyright 2006. http://www.teacherteacher.com.