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Disagree with 1st grade "behavior modification/incentive" plan - Page 2

post #21 of 35
I agree with others that this type of system is pretty standard in most schools. The way I look at it, in the real world there are rewards for good behavior (a promotion or a raise at work) and consequences for so called bad behavior (getting fired). I have never had a problem with these types of behavior management systems for children. Teachers need to manage a large group of children so they have to use what works.
post #22 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by erinsmom1996 View Post
I agree with others that this type of system is pretty standard in most schools. The way I look at it, in the real world there are rewards for good behavior (a promotion or a raise at work) and consequences for so called bad behavior (getting fired). I have never had a problem with these types of behavior management systems for children. Teachers need to manage a large group of children so they have to use what works.
But there are better systems, like the PBIS, that have rewards and consequences, but without the shaming aspect that the stoplight system encourages. PBIS also encourages kids to do the right thing, rather than catching them doing the wrong thing. It actively teaches what's expected rather than assuming all kids know it.

I'm OK with the system that our school uses. I also know that the incentives are used a lot in grades K-2 when they're really teaching the rules. By 3rd grade, they're not used as often because the kids have internalized the rules.
post #23 of 35
My son's school also uses PBIS. It seems to work really well.
post #24 of 35
Our sons 2nd grade teacher is using the flip card system, only she has 5 levels - green, yellow, orange, red and blue. Orange and red include missed recess time and blue is a call home by the child. I find this to be an absolutely HORRIBLE system and may be transferring my son to a different class that doesn't use it if we can't come to some kind of agreement. I was discussing this with the teacher on Friday and told her that I felt the "classroom management system" worked off a basis of peer pressure, public humiliation and privacy invasion and she replied "And you're absolutely right!". How do you argue when the teacher things those are GOOD things?? However, student privacy is becoming a BIG deal, especially in our area. Having a childs behaviour posted with their name for everyone to see, including the parents of other children, violates that, so probably the best I can hope for is to have the names changed to a code system, like each child being given a number. That at least minimizes some of the concerns. The recess restriction is for round 2.

After agreeing with me about the basis of the system, the teacher went on to emphasize that the bulk of the program was based on rewards. Seriously, she made it sound like they get rewarded for wiping their own bottom! Considering this isn't reflective of the real world and does nothing to inspire intrinsic motivation, we're not too thrilled about that either! I forsee a change in teachers in the near future, if that weren't possible I'd pull my child and homeschool - even though that's really not something I want to do.

OP if I remember correctly, if you go back about a year or 2 you will find a discussion on this that was much less supportive of the system with a lot of good info on why it's flawed. Good luck!
post #25 of 35
It's true, kids (and adults) shouldn't be rewarded for doing the right thing, but we all like acknowledgement when we do something well. I'm also a teacher and I don't utilize anything specific like that in my class, but I do make it a point to tell kids when they're doing something well and let them know what I expect. The fact of the matter is that there are many kids (and adults) who don't do the right thing just because they're supposed to.

Those are also the kids who get their clip moved, their card turned, or whatever else on a regular basis. In my observations and internships before I graduated, I saw this method used and it really turned me off - the same kids moved every day. But, I've also seen other teachers use it with decent success.

The only way to really get around it is to homeschool. There aren't any really quick, easy alternatives in a classroom of 25+ students (I have 31 4th graders this year, my dd has 29 5th graders in her class and ds2 has 27 1st graders) When you figure in the special needs, IEPs, etc., it's just the nature of the beast.
post #26 of 35
I was just on an interview committee for the new K/1 teacher at the school I teach at, which is also the school dd will probably go to for K next year. All of the candidates described some sort of reward/punishment system like this. Every time I cringed when I imagined dd being involved with that. BUT, as a teacher, I've had to use systems like that too. When you have a whole classroom of kids, sometimes that is the most efficient way to create the organization needed to be able to teach. We try very hard to help kids with social and personality issues, but when it comes right down to it, the thing teachers are held more accountable for is academic content. If it takes some silly system to be able to spend the least amount of time actually addressing behavior head-on, then the teacher has more time to teach the standards she is required to teach. It sucks sometimes, but that's the reality of public school.

I think another big thing to remember is that putting a group of kids of the same age in the same space with one adult--two if you're lucky--for hours at a time is completely different than at home, and therefore requires completely different methods of making things work. It is unreasonable to expect a teacher will treat kids the same way parents do. (I'm not neccessarily saying anyone here expects that, but I'm sure someone does somewhere in the back of their head.)
post #27 of 35
I have to respectfull disagree. There are just a few teachers in the school who utilize this type of program, yet those that do not have not lost control of their class. I discussed this at length with my mom who's been in elementary education for about 40 years (teacher, sp ed teacher, principal, counselor, etc.) and has never utilized flip cards, constant rewards or recess restriction, nor did most of her coworkers and they were able to maintain order in their classes. By rewards I do not mean verbal praise, and sure it's great to be acknowledged for doing something right. And I'm not against tangible rewards. But a constant diet of them presents an unrealistic expectation in students. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect teachers to create a productive environment without utilizing systems that reinforce negative life lessons. I do think it's sad that so many parents in many districts (not referring specifically to anyone/anything said here) aren't willing to look harder at some of these programs and say anything about them.
post #28 of 35
Sunshine - I'd love some concrete examples of what to do that does not utilize some sort of reward/punishment system. I don't use the flip card things, but I do sometimes withhold recess. Not as a punishment, per se, but a natural consequence - I explain to the class if they choose to play when they have work time, then they will have to work when it's play time. I don't see that as a punishment, but a consequence. I think there is a very fine line, of course.

And having 30+ kids in a classroom is nothing like taking care of kids at home. 30+kids while trying to teach an endless amount of (sometimes non age appropriate) standards, it's natural to default to the quickest/easiest route.

Agreed it's not necessarily the best. I'm always striving to improve personally, but with seniority and tenure such an issue all over, there's not much incentive beyond personal best to change these discipline methods. I mean, the tenured teachers won't lose their job no matter what, so they don't need to change and the non tenured teachers will lose their job no matter how well they're doing. It's very discouraging, both as a teacher and a parent.
post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by shelbean91 View Post
Sunshine - I'd love some concrete examples of what to do that does not utilize some sort of reward/punishment system. I don't use the flip card things, but I do sometimes withhold recess. Not as a punishment, per se, but a natural consequence - I explain to the class if they choose to play when they have work time, then they will have to work when it's play time. I don't see that as a punishment, but a consequence. I think there is a very fine line, of course.

And having 30+ kids in a classroom is nothing like taking care of kids at home. 30+kids while trying to teach an endless amount of (sometimes non age appropriate) standards, it's natural to default to the quickest/easiest route.

Agreed it's not necessarily the best. I'm always striving to improve personally, but with seniority and tenure such an issue all over, there's not much incentive beyond personal best to change these discipline methods. I mean, the tenured teachers won't lose their job no matter what, so they don't need to change and the non tenured teachers will lose their job no matter how well they're doing. It's very discouraging, both as a teacher and a parent.
When I was working as an ed assistant we had a workshop with Barbara Coloroso (she wrote Kids are Worth It and was a teacher) to address this very issue. I don't know if it's commercially available but she had a series of handbooks for teachers & administrators on running a classroom without behaviour modification methods, so it might be worth seeing if that's out there.

I worked in several classrooms without something like a flip card system, and recess wasn't something that could be taken away, and classrooms were still appropriately managed. But I have to say it wasn't a single technique that led to that - it was how the entire day was structured, and also a lot about the teacher's relationship to the kids and capacity to step in, all of which takes time. I never was solely in charge so I would be hesitant to try to give anyone step-by-step instructions, but I would say it was largely about positive expectations.

For example when a class was getting antsy, the teacher would step in, shut the lights on and off, and say something like "it's too antsy in here! Let's all jump up and down 30 times and then sit down and take 5 deep breaths before getting back to our work" as opposed to "you're all going to miss recess." The focus was on giving the kids the tools they needed to settle rather than taking away something they clearly needed that day (recess).

But of course it isn't that simple - it had to do with the whole rhythm and flow.
post #30 of 35
Took me a while to get back to this - but I know what you mean. I'm working on 'Positive Discipline' to find the root cause of the behavior and to try to prevent issues in the first place. I agree - that is a much better way to handle things, but it does take time and that's something that is frequently in short supply.
post #31 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mackenzie View Post
Something that I have discussed with my kids (and you all may disagree and that is fine) is that there are somethings that happen in "establishments" (school, work etc..) that ultimately don't mean anything but you have to go along with and play the game. I waited until my older two were older (8+) before talking about this, but I had to do it last year with my youngest (he was in kindy) when he hated his home work because it was ridiculously easy for him and he felt it was pointless. They had a behavior system of smilies and letters but it came home every night. He initially was very concered because he would frequently get a T for talking (because he would finish his work and be bored.... see first gripe...lol) and he was afraid he would get in trouble at home for it. I had to let him know that unless it was extreme, I really didnt care. His teacher is responsible at school, and trusted her to handle things accordingly and I did not need to know every little wrong he committed. I told him I signed it because it made his teacher happy (playing the game) but that there would be no further consequences at home (provided it was not an extreme issue again)... He was fine with it after that. They all know that there are things that happen at school that I feel are a crock of $h!t and that we deal with simply because we must. They also know that if it is a big deal, I will take additional action but mama picks her battles to keep the school from hating her... =)
I love all of this!
post #32 of 35
From the perspective of a parent and a former teacher, I agree that I hate this system (and also admit that I have used it...) As a teacher educator, I can absolutely confirm that it is very unlikely the teacher is going to change her system due to a parent complaint. People get very attached to their management systems! I spend a year with student teachers, gently encouraging them to question their assumptions about what it means to "manage" a class, and demonstrating alternatives to traditional reward/ punishment based systems. They are wonderful, kind, committed people without exception, and in any given year maybe 25% of them end the year even vaguely considering an alternative. I think that's because for many (most?) teachers, their worst fear is the classroom getting out of control. And making a change to one's management system runs the very real risk of increasing chaos, at least temporarily!

My kid's (fabulous) teacher doesn't use a color chart, thank goodness, but she does do some other contingent rewards and things that aren't really what I think kids need. The best response I've found so far is to help my son understand that throughout life, different contexts will have different sets of rules. We follow them when we can, so that groups of people can live together without constant conflict. And when a rule is doing significant harm, then it is our responsibility to stand up for the person being harmed and to break the rule if necessary. For now, I don't think he's being significantly harmed by his teacher dropping marbles in a jar, so I go for harmony.
post #33 of 35
I skimmed through some of the responses and have a slightly different perspective or a few perspectives.

First, DC has been in a few schools (we pulled her out of one with a really poor reward system - because of the reward system!) and also because we moved a couple times. What I have found is that the reward systems and behavior in class do not seem to go hand in hand. BY FAR, the best behaved class DC has been in is one with NO reward/punishment system at all.

Second, I would not underestimate how influential your opinion may be. IF it is a school wide policy that has been effect for a long time, maybe you will have some problems but if not, I'd give it a try. At DC's current school they had a system where they withheld recess minutes. I was appalled and complained early in the year (I brought in a few articles to back up my opinion). In general I was happy with the school and left it at that. Turns out the school rethought the policy throughout the year and decided to do away with it the following year. I'm sure it wasn't just what I said but I'm sure that was a factor.

Good luck!!
post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
But, I also think it is unrealistic to think that there is any way around it in a typical classroom. You can talk to the teacher about the stress it causes your child, and see if she has any other solutions, but I have yet to see a classroom, public or private, that doesn't have some sort of reward/discipline plan.
Seriously? I only had a couple teachers in elementary school who used this type of system and, quite frankly, they were the poorest teachers. Most children naturally pay attention to a good teacher. I will always believe that these systems are signs of a poor teacher.
post #35 of 35
I agree, Lara. DC's current school has done away with their punishment and the kids are certainly do not behave worse. And, the single best behaved classroom I've seen had absolutely no reward/punishment. This is on two sides of the US as well.
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