Can Good be Bad - Can Good be Bad? Name Class Name June 17,...

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Can Good be Bad? 1 Name Class Name June 17, 2008 Can Good be Bad? The question of how to raise children to be positive, productive, happy, and fulfilled members of society is a question whose answer seems to change every few generations and which can always inspire great debate. One generation says that if one “spares the rod” they will “spoil the child” while another argues that being anything but positive and gentle with a child can cause great harm. Those who have no children often take one view, and those who have children often are just confused and may even try it all. While the topic of child rearing may seem humorous, it is one of the most important questions a society can ask. In response to this question human behavior, education, and parenting expert Alfie Kohn and educational psychology professor Phillip S. Strain now propose a new area of inquiry. Kohn and Strain have taken opposing view on the topic of whether the use of positive reinforcement through the use of the phrase “good job” is good or bad. Kohn emphatically argues that the use of the term “good job” is intrinsically bad and even harmful to children. Kohn states that when adults use the term “good job” to reward a behavior or action they would like a child to repeat they are acting to manipulate a child, not reward a child. In effect, the use of the phrase “good job” provides adults a convenient way to encourage or modify behaviors they want, but it does not, in any way, provide a way for a child to learn what is good, or beneficial about the action they are being rewarded for. In this way, Kohn argues, a child who repeats a behavior that has been praised does so because he or she likes the reward instead of doing so because the behavior has its own, intrinsic reward. For
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Can Good be Bad? 2 example, he says, when children are told they did a good job when they shared food with classmates they may believe the sharing was good because it got them praise instead of understanding that their actions were good because they helped other children eat. When children perform an act simply to obtain praise, Kohn says, not only do they fail to learn the true value of the act, they are also robbed of the pleasure they can gain from having a full understanding of why what they do is considered good or positive. It would be far better for a child to feel the benefit of providing something that they understand has intrinsic value then to merely do something to get praise from others. Seeking praise merely rewards children for being
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Can Good be Bad - Can Good be Bad? Name Class Name June 17,...

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