Classroom Economy Controversy

Discussion in 'General Education' started by futureteach21, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    Aug 24, 2009

    Hey all,
    I have a question about classroom economy. The school has been talking about this, and I want to you what you guys think. Essentially, for good behavior they get "tickets", at the end of a set time period (week, two weeks, whatever) they can turn them in for a prize. My thoughts about the whole thing art this: Once a kid earns a ticket, they shouldn't be able to be taken away. I'm pretty much alone in that idea. The other staff members all think that they should be taken away. There are certain staff I work with, especially a certain grade level that has a lot of difficult kids, that are all about punishment. They don't reward positive behavior AT ALL. I'm worried some kids won't ever get tickets, or if they do get tickets, they will be taken away before the day's over.

    I want to know what you think about taking away rewards. And if you can think of way to solve this issue. Any ideas?
     
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  3. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Aug 25, 2009

    Well, we get fined when we break rules or the law. So getting our money taken away in real life happens.

    I have an economy with my student, and I'm not taking the money away. Yet. But I'm sure I'll find things she has to pay me for as the year goes on and she gets lax. I think that's just fine. If the students are constantly paying tickets, what does that say about their behavior and choices?? Shouldn't that be more of a worry??
     
  4. glitterfish

    glitterfish Comrade

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    I personally do not like the idea of taking away rewards. While I understand the reasons why teachers take this perspective, I feel that there are many teachers out there who can abuse this and the reward system really turns into a punishment system. Also, in this case of taking away rewards, the discipline doesn't really fit the crime. It is illogical to students. For example, if a child doesn't do his homework and you take a ticket away, the discipline is not connected to the problem. A better solution would be to require that the child does the homework at school. Or, if a child is talking in class with peers, a solution is to move the child (temporarily) away from peers, rather than take away the tickets. I use a ticket system in my class. The only time I have taken away tickets is when, very rarely, I will require that the students "pay" me for an item with their tickets. For example, if they lose homework and I have to make another copy for them, I take a ticket and they pay for this rather than using it to pay for something of their choice at rewards store. While I don't think it would be a big deal to occasionally take away a ticket here or there, it seems like teachers could really go overboard with this and some students would even go "in the hole," and end up owing tickets!
     
  5. mathrulz

    mathrulz Rookie

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    I suppose if this system is to be like the "real world," then all students would start with a given amount of tickets (like pay). When earning more tickets it would considered a "bonus" and when they are taken away it would be a "fine" like Jem mentioned. Is this more realistic, yes. Is it feasible...?
     
  6. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Aug 25, 2009

    we weer not allowed to "take away," even if it was tickets, changing colors, etc. We had to change everything to positive, while still keeping up with the negatives on our conduct charts that we carry around. But, we always scored 100% on the SWPBS survey and audit. Personally, it didn't work super well for me with my grade level, but it worked well overall in the school.
     
  7. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    At the first school where I worked, a kid stole the AP's cell phone and sold it for reward tickets. :eek: That turned me off the whole system.
     
  8. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 25, 2009

    I wouldn't take away the tickets from the students, personally. The reward is that they did do something that was good (and they would have to think about how to earn enough tickets to get a prize) and I think there are better ways of showing the student they did something wrong than taking a ticket away.

    My favorite way of getting students to realize that there were consequences to poor behavior was during detention duty, students had to clean up my classroom. And I wasn't nice about it. It might mean getting on the floor and washing it to cleaning out my fish tank--- which is a nasty job because I keep a few goldfish in there. I had one student, after cleaning the tank, promise me he would never end up in detention again and he never did :)

    I would come up with some other consequences that would serve a better purpose to learning how to be a better person than taking a ticket away from a child.
     
  9. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Aug 25, 2009

    From what our behavior specialists have told me and from what my own child's psychiatrist has told me, taking away the reward goes against the entire premises of PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports) philosophy.

    If you school wants to adopt this philosophy as a school-wide community, they really should send someone to train for this. I have not done my own research on this area but you can go to www.pbis.org for more information.

    Think of it this way, the reason we are rewarding the kids is because we want to catch them doing good. We want to reinforce THAT behavior. Building up self-esteem and their social skills are both crucial components for getting them to do what they need to be doing. If they are constantly being torn down and tickets are being taken away, what motivation do they have for doing the right thing to begin with.

    I suppose this might be different depending on what grades you do but I know that this is widely used for younger grades. In the younger grades they are not as motivated by internal motivations yet. This is a way to show them what behaviors we want by giving them an external factor. That in itself can be somewhat controversial but the application of it, if adopted, should not be.

    We have to remember that kids are not mini-adults. Kids are still learning. The single best thing a teacher can do really is to TEACH the skills and procedures by modeling, using mini-lessons and so forth and only then by using positive reinforcement systems.

    The best system I used was a positive reinforcement system but it was not the rewards they got that really did the trick. It was the teaching I was using along with the rewards. The system is only as effective as the teachers that use them. If you never remember anything else, remember that.

    I will try to be brief in my description of my favorite experience thus far. I called it the "WOW" system. Basically I wrote a letter to parents letting them know that their child would not receive a WOW certificate everyday but that did not mean they had a terrible day. It just meant that they had something I am trying to help them work on or maybe the class has something they need to work on. If the child did get a certificate, I asked parents to please praise the heck out of them because that meant they really worked hard to pass whatever I was trying to teach them.

    I had a punch card for each child on my belt loop (covered for privacy). Individually at the end of each reporting period (4 in all), I would go to the child and let them know whether I punched their card (star) or not. Either way I told them why I did it (both the good and the bad). If it was bad I used positive words to let them know that they can work on this and all is not lost because they still have more stars they can earn for the day. I let them know specifically what they needed to work on. I modeled it if I needed to. The key was that I tried to be specific rather than vague. This brief counseling happened 4 times a day for each student. If the star was not punched, it never came as a surprise to the students. They should have some indication that they are not getting it because I would have been working with them on the behavior before then and I always give one warning first (young grade) unless it was a drastic behavior.

    At the end of the day they got a reward dollar for each star that was punched so they got something whether they made it successfully throughout the whole day or not. If they got all of them then they got an extra reward dollar and a WOW certificate to bring home to mom and dad.

    Again, I tried to do this individually and discreetly. If they did not get a WOW certificate, I let them know all the positive things they did that day and the specific things they need to work on for the next day but that I had faith in them that they would do just fine the next day and will have another opportunity. I made sure each child got at least 2 WOW certificates per week. I tried to set them up for success as much as possible.

    This was for a small class and it was still almost too much work. It would probably not be feasible in a larger class but my point to the whole thing is kids need a lot of teaching rather than just rewards and punishments. That was the success behind the whole thing, not what I gave them. The rewards were just a visible and tangible way to show them that they passed what I was trying to teach them.
     
  10. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Aug 25, 2009

    I agree, taking away a reward completely negates the fact that they actually did something right.

    It gives kids the idea that they may as well not behave because they'll end up getting rewards taken from them anyway.
     
  11. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    Huh...interesting conversation.

    Previously (and I still concur) I never took rewards BACK. BUT, in the determined time of EARNING that reward, they COULD move up and down on the scale depending on their actions. (There were five colors on the wall. you start in the center...you can move up or down on the scale. The reward for that day reflects where you ENDED UP.)

    I guess that sort of comes across as "you're only as good as your last game"...but that IS life.

    If they are "punished" by having to give up privledges...then so be it. But if you are working in SMALL segments of time (daily "reward" - perhaps monthly over-all incentives) then it will all equals itself out. And you are rewarding and letting students hang onto their OVER-ALL reward.

    If kids can lose what was earned....what security is there in that? and more importantly over-all..the system loses it's trust-worthiness and, eventually, it's effectiveness.
     
  12. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    Aug 25, 2009

    That was exactly my way of thinking. The same way, what we are doing now isn't working. Thank you all for responding.

    Jem- Those few students who will end up never keeping any of their tickets, do have behavior issues and yes, I think that is our main concern. My fear is that it will become a negative experience. Like D said above. Those few kids are picked on by certain staff and won't have the same opportunities as the other kids in their class. It's sad. I hadn't thought about it like getting fined, which made me stop and think, but I still think as young as they are, they won't make the connection and it will be a negative experience.
     
  13. carlea

    carlea Comrade

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    Aug 25, 2009

    I used a ticket system last year with rewards each Friday. Mine was done like a lottery system (they learned about probability). I would hand them out, they would write their name on it, and put it in a jar I had at the front of the class. Each Friday I put out a certain amount of prizes and drew names. They learned quickly that the more tickets they had, the better the chances of getting a prize. I never took away tickets, just gave more to the students who were doing the right thing.
     
  14. shouts

    shouts Companion

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    Aug 25, 2009

    Punishment (taking away tickets) does NOT teach a positive behavior - simply avoidance (e.g., when we get tickets for speeding do we stop or buy a radar detector?)
     
  15. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    Beyond taking away tickets, what are some good consequences for school wide? I just know that if I defend my position I'll have to answer this question. Any ideas?
     

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