Debate: the Use of Rewards or Incentives

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Two educational consultants are tasked with helping a classroom with students of varying abilities and skills. One is a behavior analyst; the other is not. The classroom is currently using a standard 'behavior system,' i.e., response cost and inconsistent delivery of praise. The behavior analyst recommends a dynamic reinforcement system, wherein student behavior is reinforced for meeting behavioral expectations as defined and taught in accordance with the school rules. The other educational consultant objects to this approach on the grounds that it manipulates students, makes them overly dependent on tangible/social reinforcement, erodes intrinsic motivation, and diminishes a child's overall pleasure. Which consultant is right? Should we use incentives and rewards to change people's behavior? Two teams will face off in a structured debate on this issue.

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