There are many ways that help us reward our students.
Some of them are useful and some, though effective, negate the very idea of teaching.
The ones I particularly dislike involve ‘bribery’ i.e. offering students sweets, toys or stationery in order to reward good behaviour. Obviously, if we promise a 7 year old a toy for being good, the chances are he will do everything to get the prize. We must not forget however that methods based on behaviourism can lead to a dead end. Namely:
• The student will learn to get a prize for anything good he does and will expect it all the time.
• In case a prize is not provided, a teacher may encounter tantrums or any other outbursts of negative behaviour (in my view, fully justified)
• The child’s focus will be on getting something material not on appropriate behaviour or educational objectives
• Any attempt to change the system into more humanist oriented type of rewarding will have consequences as the ones mentioned above
• It is an unnecessary expenditure as there are other ways to maintain good behaviour in class
Most of us have heard of the Star and Smiling Faces types of rewarding good behaviour. They are easy to implement and require minimal preparation on the part of the teacher.
Some of the attention-grabbing ideas I have found on the website discussed are:
• Behaviour Ladder
• Behaviour Train (similar to the ideas I have discussed earlier but more elaborate)
• Class Celebrity
• Peacock Targets (with a downloadable sheet)
Have fun using them in your classes!