Prizes for Good Behavior?

In a previous article, I discussed various procedures that teachers use to report behavior to parents. In addition to reporting a student’s behavior, a teacher must also manage a student’s behavior while the child is in the classroom.

Teachers do this in many different ways. I can remember the standard way of monitoring student behavior while I was in school was the name and check system. If a child misbehaved, the teacher would write the child’s name on the board. If the child continued to misbehave he or she would receive check marks beside of his or her name.

Today’s system is usually based upon the same concept but has updated in looks and style. Some teachers use stickers or cute little bears to keep track of student behavior. I use a chart and sad sticks. While some systems begin by giving a child something (such as three bears or five stickers) and then takes away as a child misbehaves, my system is different. With sad sticks, the child begins with an empty pocket. If a child misbehaves, he or she gets a sad stick in the pocket.

While teachers use different methods, the goal is all the same: to encourage students to have good behavior. Some teachers go as far as to reward students with prizes if they behave. I actually tried this for a little while. The system never seemed to really work for me. The same students were continuously getting rewarded and the money for the prizes was coming from my pocket.

So should we really reward children for doing right? I think that children do need praise. However, I have a concern with giving a child a prize at the end of every week because he or she did not get into trouble. I think at some point in time we must teach children to do right for the sake of doing right. Every now and then I might spontaneously reward children who are following directions in my classroom. I continuously praise students who are following directions. However, I have stopped letting children ‘expect something’ for their good behavior.

B is for Behavior

Unlearning Bad Behavior

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