I frequently discuss this issue with teachers, in particular, new teachers and TTOCs. What is acceptable for 'rewards' and when should they be used?
As a parent, I do not give my daughter allowance or rewards for doing what she is supposed to do... make her bed, take dishes to the sink, keep her room clean, do her homework... those are things she needs to do. Now, if she does additional chores or helps out above her own responsibilities, there are sometimes thank-yous such as a verbal thanks, an ice cream, a mall date... but I digress...
When do rewards work and how do rewards work, if at all? I found this article that examines the use of rewards and why they do not work.
“When the new system was introduced, one of my pupils shouted: ‘You get points just for showing up! What does that teach us?’ Looking later at the stats, I noticed that the top five reward earners were the worst behaved students in the entire school. Prizes were simply being used as a way of getting kids to do what they should be doing anyway, rather than to reward students for going the extra mile. The attitude was ‘oh well, I’ll get more later anyway, I can’t be bothered to answer these questions, so I won’t’. That’s when it struck me: giving out unmerited rewards all the time actually legitimised their poor behaviour.”