Providing rewards to students does not negatively impact their intrinsic motivation.
Students respond more to reinforcement that is not tangible (for example, a hug or a "good job") than they do to food or money.
The latter finding may be true at that research lab in Colorado, but it is absolutely not the case in my classroom. My students will hang from the ceiling if I offer them a biscuit from Bojangle's. And although ceiling-hanging is not on our Standard Course of Study, I have found that this tasty incentive will encourage students to bring materials to class and actually use those materials to produce work.
In the event you aren't from the South - Bo's started in Charlotte, N.C. back in the seventies. Bojangle's prepares Cajun chicken biscuits and seasoned fries that will pucker your entire mouth. There was a time, I'm not proud to admit, when my own children would refuse homecooked food and rush for a Filet Biscuit Combo at any hour of the day or night. Once they were legally able to drive, they would head by there on the way to school, go back again during "free lunch" (off campus) and turn up their noses at a nice pot roast at dinner. One Christmas I purchased four bottles of the special French Fry Seasoning and placed one in each of their stockings. They said it was the "best gift ever." Two of my children have moved away from North Carolina, and they miss Bojangle's more than they miss me. But I have been known to pack a chicken biscuit in my carry-on bag when I've gone to visit...
So, back to my classes. I can tell Jamal and Jalen "good job" and they will be good boys. But if I tell them I'm going by Bojangle's on the way to school, they will be good, and they will see to it that every student in the class is good. I cannot tell you how many times I've heard, "Shhhhh...if we be quiet, we'll get Bojangle's!"
Tomorrow's the day. They know I just got paid so I'll be in the drive-through at 7AM. I'll be ordering enough Filet Biscuit Combos to make a big dent in my paycheck.
Oh, and I forgot to mention the sweet tea. It'll make you smack your Granny!
I bet Jamal and Jalen are sitting at home thinking about it right now...come to think of it - I am, too.
As it turns out Jamal was nice enough to let Darryl (Lil D) have his combo. Here are Jalen and Lil D enjoying their Bo's before school. The boys are definitely partial to their sweet tea.