Rewards change motivation

I was talking with a friend yesterday who told me the following story.

Recently she had been chatting with a man who coaches soccer teams of 8 and 9 year olds. He mentioned that this year he’d had a lot of difficulty in getting his players to work together as a team.

My friend, an experienced teacher, started to offer some suggestions; she knew of many activities that might encourage teamwork.  But the man quickly stopped her.

“Oh, you don’t understand,” he said.  “It’s not the kids who are the problem––it’s the parents!  The parents have all promised their children that they’ll get two dollars every time they score a goal. The kids are so intent on getting points––all on their own––that I can’t get them to pass the ball.  It doesn’t matter what I do!  It was so bad I even had to hold a special parent meeting to say, ‘Stop paying your kids so I can create a team!’”

Apparently, it’s not just DWS teachers who recognize the negative impact of rewarding!

Rewards change motivation.  It’s as simple as that!