Many educators find different ways to create classroom environments that allow students to receive fulfilling education. However, the desired learning atmosphere is hard to achieve due to many factors that hinder the educators from delivering their intended messages. The main obstacle would be the students’ attitude.

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Adolescents simply choose not to obey rules at school or in other classroom environments. Teachers, school staff members, and other educators ceaselessly strive to create efficient learning environments.

There are two main approaches educators take to reinforce their students and systematically keep their learning environments appropriate. Most educators initially try to positively teach and encourage their students. This method is often referred to as a ‘positive reinforcement.’ However, not everyone learns from lenient treatment. Sometimes, students learn better if they are harshly disciplined and punished. Such an approach is called a ‘negative reinforcement.’

These two methods of teaching has been coined the “Carrot and Stick.”

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The Carrots vs. Sticks topic has sparked fierce debate for decades. The cause of such controversy is the educators’ varying viewpoints according to the outcomes of their respective teaching environments. Positively reinforcing the students may have functioned drastically well for some teachers, but may have horribly failed for others. On the other hand, negatively reinforcing the students may have been appropriate for many classrooms, whereas such reinforcement may have backfired in other areas.

At the end of the day, there is no true winning side in this debate.

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The most productive instructors will be the ones who recognize the difference in learning style and collaboratively implementing both types of reinforcement in their teachings. The students in such environments, consequently, will one by one adapt to their preferred style.

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Even after numerous research projects, studies, and experiments, the debate goes on. The essential point is that “too much” is never good. Just like how absorbing too much of a single type of nutrient can be detrimental to one’s health, overwhelming positivity or negativity will impair learning. Therefore, balance is key in maintaining an “appropriate” classroom.

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