Classroom Climate and External Rewards

Topic: Pedagogy
Words: 672 Pages: 2


In this report, two studies’ findings will be analyzed concerning factors facilitating a positive classroom climate. In “A systematic review of the Literature on aspects affecting positive classroom climate in multicultural early childhood education,” Khalfaoui et al. (2021) provide a thorough breakdown of the factors affecting the classroom environment. Warneken and Tomasello (2014) discuss the negative effects of rewards in “Extrinsic rewards undermine altruistic tendencies in 20-month-olds”. Based on the knowledge obtained from the articles, an efficient principle of utilizing rewards in a harmless yet efficient way to encourage a pleasant classroom climate will be proposed.

A Classroom Environment

The quality and efficiency of education young children receive often depend on the classroom atmosphere. A positive learning environment within a class can foster trusting teacher-student and student-student relationships, promote adherence to discipline rules, and encourage attentive learning. It is evident that establishing a pleasant classroom environment is necessary and beneficial for prospering learning and teaching experience. According to Khalfaoui et al. (2021), a classroom climate can be supported by many factors: encouragement of dialogue, participation, and task completion. Sometimes, children may not find internal motivation to engage in these activities or are not interested in the topic of the lesson. In such cases, their behavior has the potential to undermine the positivity of the classroom learning environment and depress other students from participating in the learning process. One way to avoid such instances is to introduce a reward system that would encourage children to pay attention and motivate them to partake and cooperate in a lesson. Offering rewards from a place of respect and understanding, especially if they align with students’ interests, may support and fortify a positive classroom climate.

Altruism and Rewards

However, extrinsic rewards may also have a negative impact on the classroom atmosphere and student communication. According to the study conducted by Warneken and Tomasello (2014), external rewards undermine altruistic tendencies and discourage children from offering help. This is due to the fact that after being rewarded for what otherwise could be a selfless activity, their inner motivation to help is replaced with the one deriving from external factors such as prizes. In a classroom setting, these behavior patterns may disrupt a positive climate. Since the classroom environment prospers the most from additional sharing and cooperation between students (Khalfaoui et al., 2021), children’s lack of motivation to provide help selflessly may significantly undermine the establishment of a positive environment and relationship-building. Due to this, excessive rewards for students’ altruistic activities can potentially harm the classroom climate and prevent the formation of friendships and sincere trust with a teacher.

The Principle

Therefore, external rewards have both positive and negative effects on the establishment of a pleasant classroom environment. To be able to utilize this system and avoid discouraging altruistic behaviors of developing minds, a certain principle must be applied. According to Warneken and Tomasello (2014), praise does not fall under the category of threats to selfless tendencies endorsements. As such, providing help can be rewarded verbally, which would additionally display role-modeling ethical behavior to students. Since praise does not replace inner altruistic tendencies, it is harmless to use as a tool to facilitate friendliness, sharing, and bonding. However, since the motivation to learn and pay attention to class may not always be found in a student, an appropriate reward system can be applied, encouraging participation and cooperation.


The current report analyzed two studies’ findings on the effects of external rewards and the factors affecting classroom climate. It was found that the classroom environment can be both supported and undermined by the introduction of a reward system for students. Due to this, a careful application of the system has the potential to promote a pleasant atmosphere during the learning process by manipulating children’s motivation. In order to encourage participation and cooperation, students may be appropriately rewarded; however, altruistic behavior should only be reacted to with verbal praise. In such a way, children will be helped with the motivation to study and not have their inner desire to help undermined.


Khalfaoui, A., García-Carrión, R., & Villardón-Gallego, L. (2021). A systematic review of the literature on aspects affecting positive classroom climate in multicultural early childhood education. Early Childhood Education Journal, 49(1), 71-81. Web.

Warneken, F., & Tomasello, M. (2014). Extrinsic rewards undermine altruistic tendencies in 20-month-olds. Motivation Science, 1, 43-48. Web.

The Use of Response-to-Intervention Strategies in Florida
"Teaching When the World Is on Fire" Book by Delpit