Extrinsic Motivation Can Enhance Learning

At Artistic Strategies Academy, we believe that children should associate positive emotions with learning. We want our students to feel empowered and confident when they learn how to become better writers and communicators. This is why we have a point system that we have developed for our classes. This point system is a form of extrinsic motivation- motivation that comes from outside an individual and drives the individual’s behaviour. For example, in every lesson, we carry out Vocabulary Games for our students. It is a fun and enriching segment where students learn new words and phrases through various games and movement activities. They earn points by guessing the correct alphabets or word and for effectively applying their learning by constructing meaningful sentences.

Throughout the Vocabulary Games section, we always remind our students to be respectful, for example by raising their hands before volunteering answers and graciously giving others a turn, especially when their peers are lagging behind. This reinforces positive values and habits in children.

It is important for them to realise that there can be more than one winner and that it is better to help others than just to be at the top all the time. This is why points are also rewarded for helping a friend and other things like a genuine effort to try and a good learning attitude. These are all part of social-emotional learning, which plays a crucial part in a child’s holistic development.

The points are displayed on a scoreboard and tallied after every month. The students with the most number of points are rewarded by a chance to create a creative object like a ring or a magnet. This supports our mission of allowing children to express themselves creatively through the arts.

We have found that the point system has done wonders for a child’s confidence and sense of achievement and has contributed in building a collaborative culture and breeding a sense of enthusiasm even in the most introverted and reserved of students.

Here is a video showing how our students learn new vocabulary before they are awarded the points.

While critics may argue that extrinsic motivation strips away intrinsic motivation (a desire to do something because it is satisfying), research has proven that extrinsic motivation can assist in enhancing intrinsic motivation levels, if it is carried out in an appropriate manner and quantity. Ultimately, we want children to be intrinsically motivated to learn and write and we view extrinsic motivation as a means by which they can achieve intrinsic motivation.
This is why we reiterate during lessons that the best reward is learning.  We have also made it a point to incorporate student reflections about what they have learned at the end of every class. Almost always, when asked what they have learned or what they enjoyed about the class, students are able to articulate the new words or grammar rules that they have learned, instead of how many points they have acquired.

To find out more about our classes, please visit our website at or sign up for a trial class by clicking here.