What Constitutes a Reward?

I’ve been reading (slowly, ever since I realized I should take notes on my for-work reading, a task much harder on the T than just reading …), Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink, recommended to me by several people. I think all the teachers should read it (in our copious spare time). So far, it’s focused mostly on intrinsic versus extrinsic motivators, and how external rewards often decrease internal motivation.

That’s really important for teachers, no?

So here’s my current wondering. I’m doing some sort of class meeting/circle next year. It’s happening. My current plan is to do this (at least) on Mondays (main purpose: build community, transition back to school check-ins, launch the main math task of the week) and Fridays (main purpose: close the week, celebrate community leadership, celebrate completed work).


So I got the idea of celebrating work from ROLE Reversal, the same book that recommended Daniel Pink (along with my coworker). But, is celebrating completed work/final products, etc a reward? That would then decrease the intrinsic motivation of students to attempt more problems/revise more products? If so, I don’t want to celebrate completed work! But if not, I think it’d be a way to build community and get excited about math.

Hmm.  (Maybe I should keep reading?)