Hi Michael, I honestly can't believe it's been 2.5 years since I first found this blog. Seems like yesterday. I have reviewed it a few times in those years, and followed up by re-examining Alfie Kohn's books, (and references there-in). Kohn's work is focused entirely on questioning extrinsic motivational techniques in school, and as parents. His view is generally extrinsic=bad, and his view is supported by mountains of research evidence. One of his favorite examples is the Pizza Hut Book It! program. The book it program encourages children to read books in exchange for which they receive a slice of pizza. The evidence shows that 'some' children who begin the program reading books above their grade level, out of personal interest, will shift their focus onto lower level, shorter books, and when the program ends, may never return to reading at all. The supposition is not that ALL children will experience this, but that some may, and that we cannot predict which ones. The further concern is that the children experience a shift away from reading for joy, (intrinsic), to reading for Pizza, (extrinsic), and when the pizza stops, the reading stops. In a different study involving punishment, students who were administered punishment for aggression at home often show a reduction in aggression at home, but an increase in aggression at school. This would indicate that the punishment is not correlated with aggression, but rather, with aggression 'at home'. This is very simply compared to dog training, at my house, where mom's 'no' is ignored, but dad's 'no' elicits a stop to a behavior. In the venue of dogs, we experimented by giving the dogs treats every time they went in their kennels. It was a matter of two weeks before they refused to go toward the kennel unless they saw a treat being readied. We replaced the treats with hugs and attention prior to kenneling, and in two months the dogs then began entering the kennel without a treat, but after receiving hugs and attention. (Still extrinsic) I think Kohn equates dogs (animalia in general), to three year old humans, and thus equates giving extrinsic rewards to older children and adults as a mistake.
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