How do teachers feel about rewarding behaviors?

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by rainyday, Dec 28, 2006.

  1. rainyday

    rainyday Rookie

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    Dec 28, 2006

    I have a problem with rewarding behavior that I perceive as expected.

    I am not referring to encouraging and praising students and guiding, modeling appropriate behaviors.

    I am talking about external rewards for behaviors such as: moving appropriately through transitions, walking through the hallways quietly, staying in their seats, raising hands and not calling out etc ….
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 29, 2006

    My kids are older- 7th grade. And at this level I agree with you. You're SUPPOSED to be good!

    My own 3 kids range from almost-4 to 8. I still agree with the theory, but am much more likely to thank them for being especially good at a time when I know it's hard for them. For example, they were great at Christmas Eve mass, when I know they were dying to get to my mom's afterwards for the big party. So I did thank them for trying so hard. So I could see a pre-k or elementary ed teacher doing the same thing: praising the kids for being good at an assembly or something.
     
  4. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Dec 29, 2006

    I hate using food as rewards on a daily basis! It's one of my pet peeves. Other than that I think it depends on the kid. For some kids you have to use them and phase them out. I teach Pre-K SPED. I use stickers a lot with potty training. 10 stickers on a chart = a prize. After awhile, I fade it out or make it into they have to earn more stickers to get a prize. Or just loose the chart entirely. It depends on the kid and the situation and how much internal motivation they can bring themselevs. As for the hallway, we give them an "I like they way you're walking in the hallway" or "We'll just stop and wait here and breakfast/lunch etc will be nice and cold for you." Sometimes 1/2 the group has to stay back with another teacher.
    Ocassionally if we have a select few who are doing something they should and everyone else is having a disaster I'll get out the prize bin etc.
    Then again it's pre-k.
     
  5. Ann2006

    Ann2006 Cohort

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    Dec 29, 2006

    I teach a group of "challenged" kids who have difficulty with social issues, behavior being a biggie!! I would NEVER give them rewards other than praise for behaving appropriately. Even that is kept to a moderate level because, let's face it, in life, no one tells you what a great job you are doing but they are very quick to let you know when you've messed up! We teach the kids to do good for the sake of good....to enjoy the feeling you get from it...and don't expect someone to throw a parade when you do what you should do.

    Although I don't tell my students this....I've always thought that anti-social behavior, for some folks, is their way of getting the attention they crave because they don't feel they are capable of doing anything worthy to get positive attention. Although you and I may be perfectly content without constant attention, there are some people who just aren't wired that way and as teachers, we have to recognize and help those kids find a way to be ok with being good just because you need to be.

    Does this make any sense???
     
  6. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Dec 29, 2006

    I absolutely HATE the idea of rewarding expected behaviors. We have a school-wide program that "pays" kids for grades & behaviors . . . and what ended up happening was that all the really awful kids had tons of money because they were getting paid for things that the other kids just DID. We changed how we use that money once we got the program. I still don't like it, but it's better.

    I nearly flipped out one day when I gave an assignment and one student asked me what I planned on giving him if he did his work. Good grief, he's in 7th grade! I do plenty of things at work that I'd rather not do just because I'm supposed to do it.

    Geez . . .

    Sorry, got on my soapbox there.
     
  7. logan_morgan

    logan_morgan Rookie

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    Dec 30, 2006

    We use Positive Behavior Support at our school - have for quite a few years - and it works with our 6th grade students. We do have "gotchas" when we catch them doing something good - example might be the student who stops in the hall and helps pick up books when another student has dropped them. I understand what you are saying about rewarding kids for doing what's expected. Our theory is that if we want them to repeat behaviors, we need to specifically teach those behaviors and then tell them when they are "doing it right." We try to approach behavior like we approach academic subjects - teach and reinforce - and reteach. There are not tangible rewards for our "gotchas." Their NCR, and the student gets the white copy and the yellow copy goes into a drawing. What I find is that the kids who don't need a lot of positive reinforcement toss the white copy. My more disenfranchised kids have them hanging in their lockers. Sounds silly, but don't we all like to be complimented now and then!
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 30, 2006


    That makes sense because it's not every kid, every time he's good. He doesn't grow to expect a pat on the back every time he chooses not to interrupt a class.
     
  9. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Jan 18, 2007

    I started out the year rewarding the kids for being quiet in class, but I hate doing that. I think they should just behave because it's expected. I don't get rewarded for treating my boss respectfully, I just get to keep my job. After a while I explained that when they receive rewards for expected behaviors, they will be surprised. I don't want them getting the idea they should be given prizes for breathing. Extreme example, but not far off the mark.

    I DO have a weekly reward system for those that get all work turned in on time. I have a few that would give up easily without a fresh start each Monday.
     
  10. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Jan 18, 2007

    We use positive reinforcement tools to teach stuff too. They are also taught they can't ask for it. After a while, they really don't wait for it. We make it semi-random, target specific behaviors then phase them out, etc. We all like compliments and external rewards. Do they get these rewards EVERY time they do something. Nope. If they've learned the behavior, we move on.
     
  11. Tigers

    Tigers Habitué

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    Jan 19, 2007

    Positive reinforcement works when done right. We all do it, some of us more conciously than others. I think people often try to use positive reinforcement and use bribery in it's stead. I agree with positive reinforcement, well the natural consequences version of the theory: For those of you who don't remember that conference it is rooted in the whole "for every action there is a reaction." Kids at any age make choices, thusly the consequences from those actions are part of their choice. The task for us is to create environments where they are constantly given those choices and then help guide the children into making the choices which we see as the most positive.
     
  12. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    Jan 20, 2007

    :) I agree and my students are 4 yr. old. We did alot of practice when we began school and I continue to remind them daily...example: "we're going to go to the bathroom now; I want the girls to push their chairs in and line up quickly." I had a substitute aide that made the observation and noted that she thought that it really helped them to get that "expectation & reminder" out there. They are 4 yrs. old. Of course, you'll always get those who don't raise their hands and call out the answers, but take it with a grain of salt and praise those who do and call on them, rather than spending time alot of time with the one who didn't follow through. They usually get the idea quickly.
    This is what I do and it works.
     
  13. TeacherSandra

    TeacherSandra Enthusiast

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    Jan 20, 2007

    One of my 4yr. old students asked me if I was going to give them a sticker because I told them that they sang beautifully in Chapel. I said, "no. But give yourselves a pat on the back for doing a great job".
    Smiles and pats on the back...it worked.
    If I handed out stickers, etc...for every thing they were supposed to do...I'd be a very poor woman. :p
     
  14. collteach

    collteach Comrade

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    Jan 20, 2007

    I am guilty of rewarding "expected" positive behaviors this year. I had been against it for so long, but since MANY of the other teachers in my school use rewards for everything under the sun, many of my students had a tough time pulling it together to walk quietly through the halls or bring back their Monday folder signed by a parent. After the holidays, I decided to use a ticket system. Students can receive tickets for certain things, but they can also lose tickets if they do not follow the classroom/school rules and expectations. They can "purchase" things such a lunch in the classroom with me, free time (if all work is completed), homework passes, etc. Everything has a pretty hefty price, so they need to go above and beyond to get enough for many of the rewards.

    I have avoided using this type of system for my first 4 years of teaching, but at my new school, it seems that the kids are programmed to respond to a reward system. I would love it if I could be the one to change that, but I tried for the first 1/2 of the year, then I decided that my sanity and some smoother times in the classroom were more important. Now that I understand our school population a bit more, maybe I can start off next year with a different approach and never need to use many extrinsic rewards.
     
  15. awaxler

    awaxler Comrade

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    Jan 23, 2007

    This was the exact topic in my classroom management course last night...

    We did a "discussion web" with half the class reading Harry Wong's Ch. 19 and taking the "yes" position and the other half of class reading Alfie Kohn's article, "The Risks of Rewards" (http://www.teaching-teacher.com/eteach-article15.htm) and taking the "no" position.

    After reading their respective articles a student from each side paired up together to present their author's argument. When they finished, and had heard both perspectives, they had to come up with their own conclusion.

    The discussion which followed was great. In the end, most students supported rewards, but in a limited way.

    However, some students found Kohn's article very informative and believed that rewards led kids to do well for the reward rather than for the learning.

    Very interesting debate.

    My own opinion is that I do not reward behavior that I expect...other than praise...although I do give rewards on the "back end" as a surprise...never as something to be expected.

    --Adam
     
  16. Luvin5th

    Luvin5th Rookie

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    Jan 23, 2007

    I do use rewards for behaviors. I don't use it for in class behaviors as much as for out of class behaviors. I have a large amount of special needs students in my class and I don't like the idea of always being on them to do the right thing. So, I have a punch card system to reward them for their positive choices. After a while they like the way the positive choice makes them feel and don't need the punch anymore.
    For extraordinary behaviors like picking up trash in the hall or giving up recess to clean the cafeteria, I give them a punch on their card. The punches are currency they can use to buy things with. My plan is not a one size fits all plan though. Each student has something that is difficult for them. If they try hard and perform in that area, I give them one punch. I am at an arts magnet school and we do a lot of singing and dancing. This is truly uncomfortable for a lot of 5th grade boys in my class. At the beginning of the year almost none of them participated. I worked with each one individually using the punch system to try it. They were rewarded each time they participated for a while. Now, they are not given punches for that, we have moved on to another thing that has been difficult.

    When we came back from break my class forgot how to walk in line. For this, I made it a whole class deal, if we could make it into the building (we are in a portable) without going crazy then the whole class would earn one punch. If one person lost their mind and misbehaved the class did not earn the punch. Now, they don't need it anymore, they have gotten back into the routine.

    Other teachers in my building have a compliment system. When their class receives a compliment from another teacher, they tally it. When the class earns twelve, they get to come to school in their pajamas or silly hats or something! This is neat, but it can be hard when we are all so focused on what our class is doing to notice the other students:(

    I know my system is not popular, but given the demographic in my class it is so much easier for them to make the cool choice. I help them see that it's cool to make the right choice!
     

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