The Impact of Rewards and Punishments

Behavioral modification employs the use of reinforcement system. Those behaviors that are appropriate and therefore need to be retained are usually rewarded with things important to that individual. Otherwise, those that need to be avoided or removed will be negatively reinforced by means of punishments.

preschool starsPersonally, I grew up with this “token economy” system until my early high school years. During kindergarten, I used to get “star marks” on my hands whenever I did my assignment well. It really helped me in repeating these behaviors as I was motivated by the thinking that every time I will do the same, I will get stars from my teachers which later I can boast to my parents at home. As I expected, my teacher became consistent in making such rewards.

cellular phone

Likewise, during my high school years, my mom promised me of getting “new gadget” provided that I’ll maintain my academic ranking from 1-3. During my freshman year, I got my new cellular phone. Admittedly, I became so dedicated in studying my lessons because I know I’ll be getting something in return. I agree that motivation comes from within, but it is also no doubt that external factors can further fire it up. Luckily, this motivation from my parents worked for me. In the end, not only I’m the one who’s happy with the gadgets I earned from them, but also the entire family for having an achiever in the ladder.

My life has never been so perfect. I know there’s no such thing. I also encountered some forms of punishments for undesirable behaviors or actions I committed. One thing that comes to my mind is the 5 peso penalty that I need to pay every time I enter my high

latecomerschool gate late (5 to 15 minutes). During those years, I was so eager to save money from my weekly allowances because I’m fond of collecting a certain item. I know I can only have those from my own money. Therefore, each 5 peso penalty that I need to pay is a big thing. So, I made all the adjustments needed to AVOID being late in class. Fortunately I became successful on being an early bird. In fact, I always value this up until now. And partly because of this, I had bounty of my collection in my room! See?   😀


One thought on “The Impact of Rewards and Punishments

  1. In the school where I’m currently teaching, our Principal decided to get rid of the lunch time detentions (punishments) and initiated positive reinforcements instead – “love and logic”, which is positive discipline. It worked really well. Our behavior problems went down tremendously. 🙂

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