A good classroom condition is one of the important aspects in classroom instruction. Many scholars had mentioned that learning is achieved when the students are well motivated. Similarly, different schools have different types of reward and penalty policy, but almost all of them have one common goal which is to motivate students to learn. Similarly, educators nowadays are aware that giving penalties are counterproductive. An effective rewards and penalty system should promote positive behavior and regular attendance, which are essential foundations to a creative learning and teaching environment. This study is concerned with the way in which rewards and penalties, may or may not, motivate students to engage in learning and change their behavior. This study also aims to explore the characteristics of systems of rewards and sanctions in four schools in the Philippines, and students’ perceptions of the effectiveness of systems currently in use. Participants were graduating high school and college freshmen students of Chinese ethnicity. Questionnaires, interviews and observations were used to collect information regarding the students’ engagement with learning, social control, and rewards and penalties policies. Results showed that although school policies tended to link their rewards and penalties system with a positive discipline approach the emphasis in practice often appeared to be on penalties for bad behavior rather than enhancing engagement and motivation. Students tended to perceive rewards to be strongly linked to work and penalties to behavior.
Keywords: motivation; learning attitudes; student performance; student behavior; learning styles