Sunday, April 7, 2013

Raising Funny Kids 31: The WOW Factor, Part 3


The left brain governs the practical. It seeks rewards that are within reach - if not immediately, then within a reasonable time. This obtainability makes rewards based learning seem real. What's more, quickly attainable redemptions can fuel participation momentum: students who actively participate and redeem rewards are more likely to thrive in an educational setting. 

The right brain allows students to dream of far-off goals. Dreams of graduation and of attending a prestigious university will also motivate continued participation. However, dreams of pampering and continual excitement cannot themselves fuel a rewards based program. If all your program "WOW" is off on the horizon, students may not embark on the journey in the first place (it's too far away). 

This is why it is important to maintain a balanced rewards vs. needs-based program. In this way, parents and educators can better incorporate a continuum of reward "costs", allowing students to recognize "which" efforts yielded "which" results. This results in pruning and optimizing synaptic reward connections in the brain. While caution must be exercised to not get your Reward-based program out of balance (too many short-term, meaningless rewards vs. long-term unachievable ones), a well-balanced program allows students to connect more naturally and fine tune their minds toward a rewards-based society, in which we live. 

Longer-term and shorter-term rewards embedded into this type of educational program speak to each side of the brain - and keep the student from experiencing "highs" and "lows" in their academic careers. 

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