Punished by Rewards Part 1

by Yadvinder


Book by Alfie Kohn (1999): Punished by Rewards -> My reflections


Kohn’s ideas are that we should critically examine the following beliefs ...

1) there is a belief that deserving people should be rewarded or reward people based on their merit.

2) Workers these days are being rewarded by incentives to perform a certain way by money or its replacement with things like a plaque of recognition, banquet or other gifts.

2B) also there is the idea that what is measured is what will be produced and if you reward that it will increase. 

What needs to be avoided according to Kohn (1999)

a) avoid giving rewards even things like praise or approval such as [I like the way…] which is an attempt to manipulate others’ behaviour with rewards or punishments = bribery.

b) even consequences are simiar to punishments as it can also lead to resentments versus having them take responsibility.

I am wondering…

if offering rewards to make people do X does not work, then what should we do instead?

5) he is suggesting that offering people stickers and other rewards are just the lazy way out, and it is a use of power.

What are alternatives to rewarding and punishing to change behaviour?

I think Kohn is arguing for us to use the following ideas:

1)    try to find out the cause of the problems and the theories

2)    instead of trying to punish a child for doing something wrong, why not see it as a teachable moment or a problem to be worked at together and also explain the reasons for your requests in respectful manner, which will hopefully lead them to being more responsible. 

3)    As a teacher aim to help them develop skills like self-control and having the value of being an individual that is behaving in a respectful manner. And being a responsible human being. 

4)    Be one who problem solves and helps the ones I interact with be able to reach their potential.