If school gets our students ready for the “real world,” why shouldn’t we bribe them? [“The Art of Bribery,” March/April] Adults deal with the concept of bribes on a daily basis. Whether it’s the little self-motivational ones (“If I finish grading all of these assignments tonight, I will buy myself a fancy coffee drink before work”) or larger (‘If I stick to my workout schedule and drop 20 pounds, I’m spring-vacationing in Mexico”), we bribe ourselves all the time. Externalizing a reward system, especially for unmotivated students, seems like a creative way of problem solving. Besides, if your students are getting the skill set, you’ve done your job. Anyone who sticks to the same teaching methods and finds that they aren’t getting the same results needs to take a page from your book.
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A version of this article appeared in the May 01, 2007 edition of Teacher as Bribe Away