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THE EFFECT OF PUNISHMENT AND REWARD ON THE PERFORMANCE OF SECONDARY SCHOOLS STUDENTS
This study attempted to examine the effect of punishment and reward on the performance of secondary school students and to determine the gender difference in the students’ performance in schools.
The participants for this study comprised 120 respondents made up of 60 male and 60 female students. The instruments used were questionnaires and multiple choice test, based on Mathematics and English Language which were administered to the selected respondents.
The Pearson Product Moment Correlational Coefficient and the t-test were used to analyse three null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The results showed that there is a significant relationship between reward and academic performance of students, that a significant relationship exists between punishment and academic performance of students in secondary schools.
Also, it was revealed that there is significant gender difference in the academic performance of students in secondary schools.
1.1 Introduction to the Background
Punishment according to Ilogu (2004) is defined “as the presentation of any annoying (aversive) stimulus as a result of the performance of a response”.
Reward is that which is given in return for performance or service. Reinforcement is compensation. It is the fruit of men’s labour or work. Often, the term reward is used as a synonym for positive reinforcement.
Punishment is the act of inflicting penalty for an offence or fault. Punishment is chastisement or castigation for an offence or fault. Punishment and reinforcement are two concepts used in educational context to maintain a good discipline in the classroom, and the school at large. Psychologists have systematically investigated the effect of number of reinforcement variables on the course of learning.
The greater the amount of reinforcement the more rapid the rate of learning. Punishment and reinforcement can be of good advantage to the teacher, in the sense that they promote good discipline in the school. One aim of maintaining discipline in school is to teach the child that there is moral orderliness in the world, and that certain behaviour and performance call for praise (reinforcement) and some call for blame (punishment).
For the child, reinforcement and punishment are both essential for regulation of good performance. One important aspect of the child development is that he becomes responsive to social praises and blame (reward and punishment). This implies that in the process of growth of the child, social control is necessary as to enable him or her acquire positive habits necessary for growth and development of character and ethical standards.
As punishment is effective in producing submission, so reinforcement are used to produce desirable behaviour which leads to good performance in learning in schools. Punishment makes the child realises his mistakes and so avoid it in future. It makes the child to respect the authority. Punishment for wrong doing is part of a child’s training, this gives room to good performance in their academic activities. The student should be encouraged to cultivate the habit of self discipline rather than authoritarian methods of controlling their performance (Nwanna, 1975).
To be of any use to the child, both punishment and reinforcement must be understood and deserved by the child being punished or rewarded or else according to Awoniyi (1985) the child will be confused, he may not even value it and so make jest of it, thereby making it loose its usefulness which it is intended.
Although reinforcement should be more employed than punishment, yet they both serve the same purpose of maintaining good discipline in the classroom. Punishment serves as a warning, so that a particular act that leads to poor performance should not be repeated by the child. Reinforcement on the other hand is meant to build up pleasant memories for acting desirably, which can lead to good performance which a child will some how like to maintain if possible in his learning.
For the child, punishment and reward are both essential for regulation of good performance. For punishment and reinforcement to work effectively, they must be used together. While punishment is a warning or corrective measure reward is a sign of approval of a good performance in the school or classroom. They exist in close relationship. The problem of classroom situation towards learning activities which can lead to good performance is largely solved through punishment and reinforcement. Hence, the need to justify and straighten out its use for effectiveness in maintaining good performance in schools.
1.2Statement of the Problem
It has been discovered that indiscipline among youths of Nigerian schools have become a source of worry in the school system. These have resulted to poor performance of the students in the schools. Students in schools are involved in indisciplinary behaviour which rages from noise making, rioting, truancy, creating confusion, examination malpractice, drug abuse, sexual harassment, rape, stealing, truancy, absenteeism etc.
Even the teachers are not playing their own roles. Some teachers are involved in trading instead of teaching the students. While some come to the classroom only when they fill like coming rather than using minor punishment and reinforcement in order to get the best performance from the students.
1.3Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of punishment and reward on the performance of secondary school students in Bariga Local Government Area of Lagos State. Also to determine whether there is gender difference in the students performance in school.
The following questions were raised in this study:
The following hypotheses were formulated in this study:
1.6Scope of the Study
The study is limited to selected schools. The study examines the effect of punishment and reward on the academic performance of students in selected secondary schools in Bariga Local Government Area of Lagos State.
1.7Significance of the Study
Just as students tend to learn fast under a conducive environment. The use of punishment and reward will bring forth:
1.8Definition of Terms
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