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I don't know if this belongs here or not, or where it would belong. But I was just curious how people feel about using rewards/punishments. Some people love using reward charts to get their kids to behave well, or do their chores, or whatever. Teachers tend to use them a lot in classrooms. However, I have always felt rewards(and punishments,too) are overused, and often ineffective. Many times, if kids are given a reward system, it works great at first, but then, the reward has to get bigger and bigger, for the child to respond. Punishment, in my opinion, seems to work the same way. It works for a while, but then children get where they don't care what the punishment. Sometimes they will do the misbehavior, full well knowing they will get punished, but they don't care. I'm sure many of us growing up snuck out or did some other misdeed, knowing we would probably get caught and punished, but we did it anyway. And in a school setting, it seems like the good kids will act good regardless of the reward, and the "bad" kids(not that any child is bad, but you know what I mean, I hope) will continue to misbehave regardless of the punishment. Any opinions on this? Do you agree? Or do you think rewards and punishments are needed to help get your children to do what you want?
As a teacher I disagree, in general. Rewards and punishments have always worked in my classroom. I have kindergartners so that may be part of it. I know as children get older rewards become more difficult. I think kindergartners are the perfect age for this because they are able to account themselves for their actions, yet are still excited by small (inexpensive) rewards. I taught 1st grade before kindergarten and it did not work as well. I am very consistent though. There have been years or even time of the year when I wasn't consistent and everything went to poo.
Admittedly, most students follow expectations most of the time, but I usually have one student that the reward/punishment system doesn't fully work for in which cases I have gotten the parents on board. Some how knowing their parents and teacher are in communication daily is all it takes. There was only one student this didn't work for, however the student was a severe behavior case and is now seeing outsides sources for behavior management.
I know consistency and high expectations are key. However I also think the age has something to do with it. I also do my best to always give students the benefit of the doubt. Rather than just assuming they are doing wrong when it appears they are I implement a set of questions first. "What are you doing?" "Why are you ______?" "What should you be doing?" Many times this shows the student was actually not doing wrong or at least there was a valid (at least to a5/6 year old) reason for what they were doing wrong and allows for more discussion. A child care center I worked at did this and I continued it when I began teaching in my own classroom. The only down side is I get irritated when other teachers jump down a kid's neck. Usually there is an explanation. This creates respect rather than fear which is another reason I feel my classes tend to have fewer behavior problems.
I am a teacher as well, and I don't like rewards/punishments. I like natural consequences and I like teaching children to be independent and responsible. I love the Positive Discipline books. I hate "behavior cards" and other things that are often used in elementary classrooms. I have tried it both ways in my classes, and while rewards can work immediately, it does not work well for the long term and instills some bad behaviors- like always thinking you should get something for doing something.
Sometimes, a small reward might be a good idea, but in general I don't like it.