Rewards? Punishment?

Discussion in 'Behavior Management' started by Rosy0114, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. Rosy0114

    Rosy0114 Rookie

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    Sep 12, 2011

    This is my first year teaching in public school. I've spent 5 years teaching "difficult" students in alternative therapeutic day school. In some cases, they were literally attending our school on house arrest as part of a sentence before going to prison when they graduated high school.

    I can handle negative and crazy outbursts. I can modify behavior like I have the magic touch - kids love to do good around me!
    OK - I exaggerate that last part a little bit. My point is that I'm comfortable with behaviors and teaching to them. In a way, you could say it's a passion or "fascination" I have.

    PROBLEM? I work in public school now. Middle School. As a behaviorist, I believe in positive and negative consequences for actions/behaviors. I believe in teaching appropriate skills and rewarding in some way with with positive consequences. I also believe in negative consequences when a negative behavior is displayed. Positive consequences, should, of course, be phased out over time.

    In this school, I feel like I have absolutely no control. There are no obvious rewards for completing school work, managing time, being respectful, etc. There are no negative consequences for failing to turn in school work, not doing homework, etc., except for calling the parents. We all know that really works (insert sarcasm here). There are no consequences for students who refuse to do work. There are no consequences for students who are continually off-task. Basically, they are allowed to sit in the classroom and be disruptive. There is a "time-out" room, where students go sit and fill out a piece of paper. It doesn't affect them. There's no referral with it... unless they are extremely disrespectful like with the swearing, yelling, name calling, etc.

    What can I use as consequences to modify behaviors? How can I give these kids a kick in the butt with a little extra encouragement or discouragement?
     
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  3. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Sep 15, 2011

    My advice would be to think smaller. A lot of times in alternative schools the consequences and rewards are huge, and very structured, such as through a level system. In regular education, smaller things could have just as much power. So, think of:

    1. All the things you have access to/control over in your space (computers, preferred learning materials, CD players, coveted spaces in the room, etc.).
    2. All the things they like to do from the start of your time with them until the end (talk, work in pairs, sit where they want, etc.).

    Then, think about how to break these things up into increments, such as minutes, or points earned to achieve a whole. So, let's say the only think you can identify that they like to do is talk. Set that as a reward, then break it up. Every time you catch them engaging in a desired behavior, they get a point, mark, chip, etc., which equates to 20 seconds of talking time at the end of the period. At the end of the period, this gets traded in.

    Here's another example/variation: if you catch a child being on task, their name goes on the board - everyone with their name on the board by the end of the period gets 5 minutes of free time - everyone else has a final worksheet/problem to do. If they then mess up, their name comes off.

    There are a lot of variations/examples, but the key points I'd consider: take stock of what you have, break it up into increments, and then be prepared to tweak it over time.

    Good luck!
     

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