Doug Johnson questions the purpose of rankings and awards in the edublogosphere. Of all people, he says, educators should know that extrinsic-reward systems can be counterproductive:
As Alfie Kohn’s classic book Punished by Rewards: The Trouble With Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’S, Praise, and Other Bribes (Houghton Mifflin, 1993) demonstrates, rewards can punish those who do not receive them; rewards can rupture relationships between students and between students and teachers; rewards ignore the reasons for a desired behavior; and rewards can discourage risk-taking. But the single most devastating conclusion he draws from his research is that rewards can actually discourage desired behaviors.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.