really? I mean really?!
April 17, 2010 by mwbusa
This has go to be one of the most absurd stories. How is it that this is news? How is it that this issue makes headlines as if it’s something new?
Time magazine (April8 ,2010 issue) has its latest cover story about:
Should Kids Be Bribed to Do Well in School?
WHAT?? Is all I could think as I saw this on a newsstand. And the point of the article: that it works. Bribes work – research has shown this to be true. Well, pardon me, but who the $#@& cares?? No kidding it works – that was never the argument AGAINST bribing, or any other form of reward or extrinsic motivator. (Well, Daniel Pink – see his book Drive – would take issue, and line up all the research that shows that extrinsic motivators do not work best. Maybe we can discuss “best” versus simply “work”.
But we don’t have to go there. This is not an issue to be fought or won on subtleties. What is at issue is people’s souls and characters. Bribing children to work hard in school, get good grades or whatever is disgusting, irresponsible and disrespectful. If we have to stoop to this, then the situation is far worse than anyone thinks. And even if it is, this is not a way out, but a way deeper into the morass.
The fundamental idea here to rally around is what life requires: it requires YOU to take ownership of yourself. This means, amongst other things ( yes, the legalese is often handy – inter alia), that people need to learn to look within for motivation to do ANYTHING, including working hard for grades. When we train people to chase rewards/bribes we are doing just that: training them to require something else. The work is not enough on its own. It’s NOT worth it – you need another reason? This is what we mean to convey? Are these people that blind and stupid? Is not the harm that is caused by this approach clear to the educated (or is this yet more evidence that too few actually ARE educated in the meaningful sense of that word)?
We need children/students/people who work hard because life requires it. They need to go back and read my posts on “work”. Training students to only work hard when they are bribed is so insane that you have to wonder if there’s really an explicit, nasty, Machiavellian scheme at work here. (No, no conspiracy theories from me, but really?).
Time needs a wake-up call. How sad that THIS is front page in our culture – more damage now to have to deal with later. Sorry to all the children who will suffer as a result of these “findings”.