It is Classroom Management Monday and I am here with a pretty short and sweet post BUT it may be a hot topic for some: Let’s talk reward systems.
What Are Reward Systems?
It’s easy, students are rewarded for doing what is expected of them. I have seen schools that all have different ways of using rewards, here are just a few:
- Rewards for positive behavior
- Rewards for being on A or AB honoroll
- Rewards for perfect attendance
- Rewards for showing up to school on time
Why I DON’T Do Reward Systems and why you shouldn’t either
The things mentioned are basically things we should be doing. We are doing a disservice to our students by saying “If you do this, you get this.” For example: coming to school on time. This is something that is expected and students should know that. They shouldn’t expect something in return for doing the right thing. Students should do it because it is a rule. Do we get treats for showing up to work on time? No, but you bet your bottom dollar we would be in trouble if we didn’t! That is because it is what is expected of us. Let’s teach our students this and get them ready for real life.
Behavior and Reward Systems
When speaking about behavior… Bottom line: it is a quick fix. This WILL NOT solve the overall problem. Sure, it might silence it for a bit but you will be back to square one soon enough.
Here is the issue… you are not teaching the child how to correctly behave in different situations. Instead, you are teaching them to think “If the teacher is around, and you sit like a good little girl/boy, you get a treat!” What happens when this child goes out on his/her own? No one is around to reward them so how does behaving correctly benefit them? It doesn’t. So you now have a kid acting the way they want on the playground, during music class, at PE, etc. They aren’t doing it to be bratty, it is just now all they know.
Take the time to teach them how they should always behave. Not just to please somebody and benefit from a reward but to be a good person.
When rewards are okay
I have said it before: I love to celebrate my students. Sometimes that resulted in a reward. The ONLY time I gave out rewards was when a student accomplished a certain goal. Here is the thing though – I never ever told them they were getting something for doing well. We made goals in class all the time whether it was behavior, grades, sight words, or reading. When a student worked hard and showed dedication, I rewarded them. Keep in mind, I didn’t reward them for every goal they made, only the ones that stood out to me. Each student did something I truly appreciated and loved, and they were celebrated for it.
While I encourage this, I will warn you not to do it too often. If you do, it will become a learned habit that if they do well, they get a prize.
So tell me, do you do reward systems at your school. What do you think of them??
Oh my gosh!! I completely agree. I love celebrating achievements, goals, etc. too, but I really think that it should be limited and not expected. Rather, doing something because it is right or because it is expected is what should be enforced. Great article!!