Rewards, which follow an occurrence of a specific behaviour with the intention of acknowledging the behaviour in a positive way and intent of encouraging the behaviour to happen again, can be a self-generated fulfilment, self-managed reinforcement or a management or reinforcement by others, such as social approval and praise or when it is given in the form of sweets, money or permission to take part in some enjoyed activity (Smith and Laslett, 1993).
Punishment, on the other hand, is a method to change or curb behaviour. It involves an unpleasant consequence or removing certain rewards or privileges (Smith and Laslett, 1993). It is effective if those who are punished had learnt what they had done wrong and they must fear future punishments.
In my opinion, rewards and punishments should be used to motivate students’ learning according to their needs and personalities of the students. Rewards and punishments have immediate effects and it can be used to reinforce behaviours. Yet, rewards and punishments can be mistakably viewed as the main reason an individual works hard for, instead of the original purpose of learning and completing an activity. Thus, rewards and punishments should be used with moderation and appropriately.
Student motivation "refers to a student's willingness, need, desire and compulsion to participate in, and be successful in, the learning process" (Bomia et al., 1997, p. 1). Skinner and Belmont (1991) added that students who are motivated to engage in school "select tasks at the border of their competencies, initiate action when given the opportunity, and exert intense effort and concentration in the implementation of learning tasks; they show generally positive emotions during ongoing action, including enthusiasm, optimism, curiosity, and interest" (Skinner & Belmont, 1991, p. 3).
Motivation is often categorized into two generic types: extrinsic and intrinsic (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Lepper & Green, 1978). Extrinsic motivation is when...