A number of class-room incentives may be used to secure maximum motivation.

  • Praise and Blame/Reproof: Praise is a positive incentive whereas blame or reproof is a negative incentive. These incentives are the most effective when they come from persons held in respect by the learner. Much experimental evidence is not available to show the effect of praise and blame. However, some studies indicate that regardless of age, sex or initial ability, praise is the most effective of the incentives. Reproof is felt most by children of superior talent. Studies conducted by Hurlock (1920’s,) and Wheat (1955) have shown that praise for success and reproof for failure are quite effective.
  • Rewards and Punishment: Rewards and punishment are concrete expressions of praise and reproof. Reward is likely to increase self-confidence and build up a positive self-image. Punishment, on the other hand, hits one’s self-image and brings in a sense of shame or humiliation.Thorndike’s learning experiments have shown the significance of extrinsic rewards. This was stated by the expert as the Law of Effect. However, on the intrinsic side, the joy of holding a task well-done is the best reward and incentive while punishment by natural consequence carries its own moral. A point of caution may be sounded here. Teacher must understand that a certain reward for one level of students may not carry an equal amount of effect for another level of students. “What appeals to nursery school children, may not motivate high school students. For children, rewards have to be much more visible and tangible; for older students, verbal approval, and adult responsiveness to their efforts has been found to be more rewarding.”
  • Knowledge of Results: The knowledge of results is a powerful motivational device to learning. It could also contribute to teacher’s own success in the act of teaching. The effectiveness of knowledge of results was reported as early as 1905 by Judd. He demonstrated that practice without awareness of results had no effect on certain types of learning. For example, Judd found that correction of errors supplemented by knowledge of progress regarding learner’s judgement of the lengths of lines did improve his performance. Thorndikes experiments (reported in 1935) showed similar results in the case of both mental and motor behaviour. Spizer’s (1939) performed experiment in which he demonstrated that “feed-back information was distinctly helpful in learning the task.” “Providing feedback strengthens the motive to achieve success and also supplies the needed information so that he can be successful” R.C. Sweet (1966) proved that “when students were told the teacher how well they had done in their course and also encouraged to do better it resulted in more favourable attitudes and better performances.”
  • Success and Failure: Successful learning experiences motivate the pupils. This means, learning experiences should be carefully planned so as to avoid, if not eliminate, experiences of failure in the class-room learning. Success is always satisfying and brings in a sense of achievement and joy. On a number of occasions, the author has experienced that when failing students are favoured with extra marks which can save them from shame or humiliation in the presence of their classmates, they make every effort to maintain or even do better in their performance.
  • Competition and Rivalry: Competition and rivalry may be understood to send negative signals. But, if rightly manipulated, healthy spirit of competition and rivalry will lead to better effort and achievement. One cannot deny that “competitive rivalry leads to success or failure.” It much depends upon the teacher how well he manages competition and rivalry to maintain the principle of motivation. “The teacher should try to see their co- operative rivalry rather than competitive rivalry”.
  • Learner’s Own Deep-Seated Motives: Individual learners, although placed in class-room, group learning situation, do have their personal deep-seated motives. These are described ‘unconscious’ in as psychoanalytical terms. Brill (1935), a great American exponent of psychoanalysis, holds that many of our actions are guided by our unconscious. This means, a class-room teacher must understand that there are situations when “any appeal to reason is less effective than an appeal to emotion.”
  • Other Incentives: A few other incentives are:(a) Providing opportunities for self expression; (b) Creating problematic situations; (c) Use of play way techniques;(d) Use of audio-visual aids; (e) Graded lessons.

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