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Encouraging intrinsic 'good behaviour'


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I have a particularly hard-work cohort this year. The main problem being that a good few of them are the most defiant children I have ever met!

I have read a few articles over the years about the pitfalls of using stickers and other rewards and have used them sparingly in the past few years. I was going to attempt to not really use them at all this year, however, I am finding myself wondering if these children need something more 'extrinsic' to help them to understand our expectations. I also feel a bit of a meany never handing out a sticker (when I do, I generally don't use it as a carrot but as a spontaneous 'wow' celebration.) We did have a tidy-up trophy last year that the best tidier of the day got and I have to admit it did work well.

We do give the children lots of verbal praise but I just don't know what to do about stickers.

 

What do you lovelies think? To sticker or not to sticker?

 

Thanks, Green Hippo xxx

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We have a 'good choice champion' of the day to reward children who make good choices about tidying, helping and conforming - it helped one particularly challenging chap I had. The reward was your photo on the displayed certificate so everyone could see, and a wristband to wear home at the end of the day.

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We say 'thank you' with a genuine warm smile, at times with an explanation why what they did was so helpful to the group.

We never give rewards, verbal or other forms. We would like children to do caring things for the right reasons, not to get something or please an adult. I understand that rewards are useful to control a group, but I find them manipulative and condescending. (Strong words I know. I just feel very uncomfortable with this praise and sticker culture...)

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We use pasta points alongside positive praise , smiles etc and personally don't feel there is anything co descending or detrimental when used correctly , sometimes the children ask for a pasta point but they don't always get it and it is explained to them that we should do things without rewards ( although a piece of dried pasta in a bottle can't be classed as a reward ) it's about team work and the team together get results which in turn encourages the children to work together or encourage each other.

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I think reward systems work for some groups and this very much depends on the child ...so yes we do use them sometimes but sparingly and very specifically!

others things we use

thumbs up

high fives (very popular with this current group!)

Thank you

we don't use good boy or good girl but we will say good sitting or good listening etc

we also occasionally have sticker charts to support learning at home (eating/sleeping/behaviour etc)

we also have a wow wall for parent and staff to use

As we have quite a few children with a range of difficulties it is sometimes useful to have something to give to ramp up the praise.

 

I do however believe in the environment as the third teacher and we are always having visitors say just how calm the setting is . We often find if behaviour is an issue it is about the way we have approached the settings layout or resources.

 

We are having huge issues this year with parenting....we seem to have a group who are unable to do anything for themselves apart from control their parents through their behaviour...unfortunately for them it just doesn't have the same effect on us! ;)

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one thing I feel I need to add is that we don't use 'group' rewards. I do find these are about trying to control a group...and as a child I hated them as I ALWAYS seemed to be in the wrong group! (and I was in essence a good girl!!). I find they seem to single out the children who are struggling and they end up being on the black cloud or having all their house points taken away.....just appears to provide a way of telling them off and shunning them from their peers.....if you speak to their cohort they will always say oh he's the bad boy because he got us out on the cloud today! ( :huh: :unsure: :( )

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Thanks for all your replies. I'm still not sure which way to go.

I have been thinking about this a lot! If we want children to learn what is good or bad we need to encourage the good and discourage the bad? They need to learn that following rules is 'good' because it helps everyone/keeps us safe etc? So is a sticker/thumbs up/thank you/even a well done an encouragement to reinforce that what they have done is helpful? I think a 'reward' system where we are constantly saying 'if you....you will get a sticker/prize/McDonalds' is a different thing as we are basically saying 'you should do...because you'll get a prize' and is therefore very extrinsic. However, a spontaneous smile/thank you/sticker is a reinforcement/reminder that what they have done is good and does it then help them to develop that intrinsic care/helpfulness/goodness? I'm thinking out loud and possibly just thinking too much!

Green Hippo xxx

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A couple of quotes from a article I have just read (referring to older pupils to still food for thought.)

 

'Most students are praised too much.

They’re praised too often, too public, and too over-the-top. They’re praised for things any reasonable person would conclude are simply not worthy of it...But unless the praise was earned, it means nothing. And deep down every student knows it...

When a teacher refrains from giving praise for doing what is expected, however, and instead keeps her eyes pealed for true accomplishment, she adds a jolt of fuel to her students’ intrinsic motivation.

For this kind of praise feeds the churning, unstoppable force that resides in each student and spurs them on to become more than they thought they could.

A triumphant voice then shouts from the mountaintops, “You did it! And you’re capable of so much more!”

Green Hippo xxx

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Our children hear "You did it! You must feel pleased. How did you do it? I wonder what you are going to do next..." That is acknowledgement and showing interest. All of us thrive on feeling seen. The focus should to be on the child - on them being pleased with their achievement, not on my judgement and on me being pleased. I can see praise potentially fostering dependency on praise and fear of failure.

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Our children hear "You did it! You must feel pleased. How did you do it? I wonder what you are going to do next..." That is acknowledgement and showing interest. All of us thrive on feeling seen. The focus should to be on the child - on them being pleased with their achievement, not on my judgement and on me being pleased. I can see praise potentially fostering dependency on praise and fear of failure.

I recently had an observation done on me by committee chair (recently retired EYFS teacher) and she said my praise of the children was meaningful and appropriate but that I also need to extend it by saying next time you could...to be better. So giving the children praise but a little further goal for next time. So need to keep that in mind and get it embedded in my practice.

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