THE EFFECT OF PUNISHMENT AND REWARD ON THE PERFORMANCE OF SECONDARY SCHOOLS STUDENTS IN BARIGA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
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
1.2 Statement 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.
1.3 Purpose 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
1.4 Research Questions
The following questions were raised in this study:
- Is there any relationship between punishment and students’ performance in school?
- Is there any relationship between reward and students’ performance in schools?
- To what extent will there be any gender difference in the students’ performance in schools?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were formulated in this study:
- There is no significant relationship between punishment and student’ academic performance in school.
- There is no significant relationship between reward and academic performance of students in schools.
- There is no significant gender difference in the performance of students in schools.
1.6 Scope 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.
1.7 Significance of the Study
Just as students tend to learn fast under a conducive environment. The use of punishment and reward will bring forth:
- Useful result in the learning process of the students.
- Punishment can effectively eliminate an undesirable responses.
- In learning it is most effective to reward or punish the student immediately after the desired response occur.
- The more reinforcement is delayed the less effective it becomes.
1.8 Definition of Terms
- Punishment: According to Ilogu (2004) punishment is
defined as the presentation of any annoying (aversive) stimulus as a
result of the performance of a response.
- Reinforcement: According to Hilgard and Atkinson (1972), reinforcement is defined as any event that increases the probability of a response.
- Positive Reinforcement: Ilogu (2004), positive
reinforcement is defined as a presentation of a reinforcing stimulus so
as to increase or maintain the rate of response or frequency of