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In the overall process of learning it is inevitable to distant both the psychological approach to education and the education itself. Therefore in the process of learning which often  encompasses the emotional, cognitive, and environmental experiences and influences aimed at enhancing, acquiring, as well as making changes towards one’s knowledge, values and skills (Ormrod, 2011). However, the process of learning mainly focuses on the happenings occurring when the learning itself is taking place. Thus the explanations given concerning what happens in the process of learning eventually constitute learning theories (Woolfolk and Magretts, 2010).

Moreover, a learning theory always attempts to provide a  description of how people usually learn as well as respond to various conditions of learning, therefore they usually help us greatly in understanding the process of learning which is inherently complex (McDonald, 2010). Hence different situations that face teachers and students in the learning process needs to be approached through the use of these learning theories which actually have two main values. The first one being the provision of a vocabulary as well as a conceptual framework which is helpful in the  interpretation of the learning examples that we usually often observe on daily basis while the second one is the suggestion to look for practical problems’ answers (Woolfolk and Magretts, 2010). Therefore they usually don’t give us solutions to the learning problems but they act in directing us towards finding solutions to our problems (Edwards and Watts, 2008).

In addition, the learning theories usually fall within three major philosophical frameworks or categories such as the behaviourism, constructivism, and cognitivism. For instance, in our situation a combination of these theories would be inevitable in order tom provide an amicable analysis of the situation (Snowman, McCown and Biehler, 2009). However, the theory of behaviourism usually focus mainly on the aspects of learning that are observable. Moreover, the constructivism usually considers learning as a process whereby the learner is capable of actively constructing or building new concepts or ideas.

The Effects of rewards to Chris motivation.

Depending on the situation in which Chris is in  the teacher has no option except trying to find a way on how to help him out. For instance, the rewards offered to him for performing better and shunning from the behaviours that are distractive to the class and particularly the group in which he was in. Woolfolk & Margetts (2010) describes a reward as an attractive and appealing event or object that is usually supplied as a result of a certain behaviour (p. 377). However, there is always nothing wrong with the provision of rewards as a source of motivation to students mainly because we actually starts getting rewards for learning from very tender ages whereby our fathers or mothers usually approves us  as a result of uttering our very first words often resulting to verbal praise, as a reward. Therefore rewards usually constitutes an integral part of day to day life (Woolfolk and Magretts, 2010). Thus in overall we usually receives rewards due to the efforts we put in place in different ways however when offered to motivate the participation of students in learning they usually leads to a positive response to their performance as  the case with Chris (Aziz and Ahmad, 2011).

The process of motivating students so as to achieve certain set goal usually presents various philosophical debates over the extrinsic as well as  intrinsic motivation. This may be of great importance in helping the student who already have predetermined attitudes towards their abilities to get out of the situation in which they are in (Edwards and Watts, 2008). However, the fundamental competitive nature of our systems of economy frequently dictates the ways to be used in the reward systems for the purpose of motivating the students. Therefore the rewards usually influences the students positively as individuals mainly because if the reward is offered on the basis of good performance then the student has higher chances of complying to what is expected of him or her. Therefore the systems for rewarding students both manages the students behaviour and academics which then improves the overall behaviour and performance of the student (McDonald, 2010).

Therefore the behaviourism theory influences the  behaviour of a student through immediate change of behaviour as a result of an immediate feedback which usually include giving praises or acknowledging a student whenever he or she does well.  Despite the theory been effective to some extent it also remains apparent that this educational psychology theory to some extent has remained ineffective for providing long term changes to behaviours. Therefore it only remains possible in the process of controlling the low-level as well as physical behaviours by offering extrinsic rewards (Woolfolk and Magretts, 2010). However, on the basis of recent research, it usually seems to be very inappropriate using the behaviourist models in motivating the students in achieving academically  even  though the theory is very effective in ensuring that the students behaviour has been either positively or negatively reinforced. The desired or expected behaviours are reinforced through offering the rewards whereas the negative ones are discouraged by not rewarding them hence discouraging the students from engaging in them (Snowman, McCown and Biehler, 2009).

Thus, in a situation of offering tangible rewards may actually motivate a number of students in their academic performance improvement but for only a short term. Moreover, there is also an overwhelmingly convincing research  which indicates that the extrinsic rewards are not so much related to long term positive effect and there is a likelihood that it usually has a long term effect that is negative (Ormrod, 2011). Therefore there are chances that the student will only be performing so as  to get the reward hence this will not have a great impact in his or her life thus there are high chances that the motivation may really decrease immediately after the reward has already been attained. Students in several of the studies demonstrated decreased motivation after attaining the rewards (Edwards and Watts, 2008). Thus there is an existence of a compelling evidence which  shows that the extrinsic motivational techniques together with the production of a short term change it is also accompanied by the production of negative effects also (McDonald, 2010).

Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Rewards

The intrinsic theory of motivation is usually accompanied to the theory of reinforcement whereby both are very crucial to the motivation of students. Edwards  (2008) argues that the social learning theory as well as self-efficacy usually has a great effects on the study of people’s self-regulation (Woolfolk and Magretts, 2010). However, the sense of self influences in the determination of a choice is usually as a result of choice of activity, whereby this is mainly dependent on the efforts that one is actually willing to expend as well as the persistence one is determined to put in place to accomplish their tasks.  Thus, in our case the improvement that is seen in Chris upon the promise of a rewards as well as been given a chance to decide the way to improve on the condition seems to bear fruits. Prichard and Woollard  (2010) provides evidence that links the behaviours that are  extrinsically caused with the undermining of the long term motivation. The other aspect that is usually close related to the self-efficacy is usually the individual’s belief that the continuous persistence in whatever they are doing will eventually result to the job being fully done (Aziz and Ahmad, 2011).

There is always a goal that is achieved in the learning process by providing the rewards whereby if the extrinsic reward goal is to be achieved then the individual usually makes the overall determination to actualize them when the desired goal is actually worth the effort (McDonald, 2010). Moreover, the concepts of internalized extrinsic motivation as well as intrinsic motivation in the process of examining learning self-regulation. Thus the internalized extrinsic motivation can therefore be referred to as the behaviour which usually consists of a distinct separation with its consequence (goal or reward), however it is usually integrated in someone’s life such that the person’s behaviour can be regarded to be fully volitional (McDonald, 2010). The exploration of  the coexistence of extrinsic and intrinsic rewards, is also involved in playing a vital role in the interest of the students to learn as well as connection of the tasks orientation instead of failure avoidance. Hence at no one time when an individual usually carries similar balance of motivations hence different situations requires different interventions so as to achieve the desired effects. Therefore most of the times the combination of interventions  such as the offering of rewards as well as praising or acknowledging good work (Edwards and Watts, 2008).

A significant issue in our case is presented by the aspect that Chris is very uncooperative in the group by making noise and also not behaving in accordance to the required classroom rules and regulations. In particular, Chris is therefore not able to participate in the group work as a result of interruptions he is causing  to the entire group (Snowman, McCown and Biehler, 2009). Then by the teacher isolating him from the group which was  also part of Chris decision was therefore in one way or the other participating in the process of reinforcing the undesirable behaviour negatively (Woolfolk and Magretts, 2010). Therefore the negative reinforcement will usually end up to the stimulus removal, and mostly the unpleasant one, which in turn leads to an increase in a certain behaviour. In our situation, therefore the unpleasant stimulus which was being removed was actually the class interruptions, and also the consequent behaviour that was being increased was Chris’s interruptions to the whole class during lessons as a result of noise interruptions (Edwards and Watts, 2008).

However, the teacher in this situation should therefore have not accepted to take part in the negative reinforcing of Chris. On the other hand she should have otherwise used the positive reinforcement in the process of encouraging Chris to continue participating in the class groups. This is due to the fact that the operant conditioning usually as a result of a response which is then subsequently followed by the positive reinforcement poses higher chances of a likelihood that the stimulus will also occur again in the future (Woolfolk and Magretts, 2010). Also by the teacher acknowledging the work of Chris through praise and providing rewards contributes greatly in encouraging him in her classes which would otherwise also increase the likelihood of her participation in the class work effectively (Arthur-Kelly, Gordon and Butterfield, 2007).

Recommendations and alternative ways to Meredith

The behavioural theory approach that the teacher used in trying to ensure that Chris is fully participating in the class seems to have had a great impact since it has influenced  his performance as well as participation in the class (McDonald, 2010). However, since the approach was effective in ensuring that there was positive reinforcement of the good behaviours that Chris had developed. Moreover, this was also associated with negative effects because Chris had to be isolated from the rest of the group irrespective of the importance of groups in carrying out the tasks in the class (Woolfolk and Magretts, 2010).

However, the adoption of a supportive style would be very effective in ensuring that Chris is capable of fully maximising the learning opportunities in the class. Also this phenomenon allows the boosting of the autonomy whereby the student will be having the freedom to discuss with the teacher what they should do in order to help them fully utilize the chances provided by the teacher to continue improving his condition (Arthur-Kelly, Gordon and Butterfield, 2007). Moreover, balancing the challenge is another issue which the teacher should consider mainly because it provides a challenge to the student himself hence making him to try his best to achieve (Woolfolk and Magretts, 2010). Thus apart from the teacher using the reward and praise these other interventions would also be vital in helping Chris to learn.


Educational psychology learning theories are always very crucial in the process of determining the situations that face teachers on a day to day basis whereby they plays a crucial role in determining the actions which should be taken by the teachers when faced by such situations (Woolfolk and Magretts, 2010). Moreover, the actions taken by Meredith, who is Chris teacher are satisfactory because they have usually helped him a lot by ensuring that Chris is capable of coming out from the situation in which he was in to a better one. Moreover, the rewards should not always be provided to him on all circumstances mainly because he may then tend to be trying his best only to appease the teacher and get the reward without actually grasping the envisaged learning concepts (Ormrod, 2011).


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