Each child is unique and responds to situations in different ways. Their upbringing, temperament, ability level and social circle will all impact their motivation levels.
Younger children want to please their teacher, and are also more inclined to be motivated extrinsically. Using individual sticker charts, weekly parent letters, a treasure box and more are often helpful tools to help motivate students extrinsically. Likewise, with a challenging child, these things may be tailored to adjust their behavior and work habits. This is fine, but eventually it is preferred for students to be primarily intrinsically motivated and this should be the overall goal.
Some ideas for individual extrinsic motivation
All students begin the day on the same color and clip their names up or down depending upon their behavior that day.
Teacher places a stamp or sticker on squares for each day of the week on a weekly paper that will go home to parents at the end of the week.
Brag Bracelets/Brag Tags
When a student does something extraordinary, they wear a brag bracelet or brag tag which says “ask me to brag.” The idea is that students will be asked to brag about what they’ve done and be recognized by others for it.
Classroom Economy System
Students earn or spend “money” based upon desired behavior, etc, and can “go shopping” with it at the end of the month. This works very well for older children.
Intrinsic motivation is usually the end goal of a behavior and classroom management plan. Older children have an easier time adapting to intrinsic motivation strategies than younger children. Many caregivers use extrinsic motivation when working with toddlers and infants because it lays the foundation to move toward intrinsic motivation.
It is appropriate to design a classroom management system where extrinsic motivation leads to intrinsic motivation eventually resulting in the removal of extrinsic motivators as much as possible. This can be done by tapering off from a reward system slowly or by turning the rewards into intrinsic-inspired rewards before ending them altogether.