In today’s world, it is essential to develop social emotional skills in children. These skills are fundamental to creating a positive and healthy school environment, and they help children achieve academic success. However, the question arises: can rewards be effective in promoting social emotional skills in 9-year-olds? In this article, we explore the research and theories surrounding the use of rewards in social emotional skill development.
To begin with, it’s important to understand what social emotional skills are. In short, they are the abilities that help people understand their own emotions, manage relationships, empathize with others’ feelings, solve problems, handle stress, and make responsible decisions. These skills are critical for social and academic success and have been linked to a reduced risk of emotional and behavioral problems, improved mental health, and better academic performance.
One of the most popular approaches to promoting social emotional skills is through the use of rewards. The theory behind this method of teaching is that by providing positive reinforcement, the child will develop the desired skills. In other words, if they are rewarded for their good behavior or interactions with others, they will be more likely to repeat these actions in the future.
On the other side of the debate, there are concerns that using rewards can lead to children focusing on the reward rather than the behavior itself. This can be detrimental to the development of long-term social emotional skills. Additionally, children who become conditioned to expect rewards for every good action may not learn to develop intrinsic motivation towards positive behaviors, leading to difficulties with self-regulation and autonomy.
So, can rewards be effective in promoting social emotional skills in 9-year-olds? The research is mixed. While some studies have found that rewards can be effective in promoting social emotional skill development, other research suggests that they can also have negative consequences on long-term development.
One study published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology found that using rewards for prosocial behavior (such as sharing or helping others) can increase these behaviors in the short term. However, after the rewards were no longer given, the children stopped displaying these positive behaviors. This suggests that while rewards can work in the short term, they may not lead to long-term skill development.
Another study published in Psychological Science found that using rewards for social behavior (such as empathy) can reduce the development of these skills. The study’s participants who were rewarded for offering genuine empathy towards others were less likely to display this behavior in future scenarios compared to those who had not received any reward.
While research is important in understanding the effectiveness of rewards in social emotional skill development, it is also essential to consider the context in which rewards are given. Rewards given in a supportive and caring environment, where the behavior is reinforced by teachers, parents, and peers, can be more effective in promoting social emotional skills.
It is also important to consider the type of reward given. Tangible or extrinsic rewards, such as toys or money, may lead to more of a focus on the reward rather than the behavior itself. By contrast, intrinsic rewards, such as praise or recognition, can help promote the development of intrinsic motivation towards positive behavior.
rewards can be effective in promoting social emotional skills in 9-year-olds in certain circumstances, but they can also have negative consequences if not used thoughtfully. It is important to consider the context and type of reward given, and to use rewards to complement other skill-building methods, such as modeling or coaching. Ultimately, the development of social emotional skills relies on a much more comprehensive and thoughtful approach that involves modeling, coaching, and reinforcing positive behaviors in a caring, supportive environment.
You also could see another post where we talk about HOW CAN PARENTS AND EDUCATORS ADDRESS CULTURAL AND DIVERSITY ISSUES IN THE CONTEXT OF SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING FOR 9-YEAR-OLDS? .