Is it normal for 'challenging' children to receive rewards when they are just doing what is normal and expected behaviour of the rest of the class?

(301 Posts)
SafeAsHouses Wed 26-Mar-14 12:24:00

Hope my question doesnt offend anyone....but it just seems to be happening alot recently in my sons class, and its tricky trying to explain to him why the kids that are disruptive and muck around in class (as per my DS, I know not everything kids say is strictly true!), seem to run out of school each week with stickers / rewards / child of the day etc, because they managed to do something that is expected of the rest of the class 100% of the time.

Surely there is a better, more fairer way to reward?

EmmaGellerGreen Wed 26-Mar-14 12:25:43

What would you suggest.

SafeAsHouses Wed 26-Mar-14 12:30:48

I have no idea emma, i'm not a trained teacher! Hence why I'm asking the question!

siiiiiiiiigh Wed 26-Mar-14 12:33:50

Yes, it's normal. Yes, it's confusing to the kids who conform to the rules of the classroom more easily than those who don't.

Prepare yourself, this thread's going to get heated.

SafeAsHouses Wed 26-Mar-14 12:34:58

We are told, as parents, that the awards are attainable by all the children in the school, but a quick tot up suggests that it is the disruptive kids who receive them the most as, in my sons words, they did something fairly straight forward that the rest of the class was expected to do anyway.

It just seems that if you're a good, hard working child who keeps their head down and gets on with it, you won't be recognised for any of that. You've got to be either super talented & gifted, or sodding naughty and troublesome to get any sort of reward or recognition. Lifes not fair, I know that, but its a rough lesson to teach a 7yr old who prides himself in being good, working hard and sticking to the rules.

SirChenjin Wed 26-Mar-14 12:36:06

I can see it from both sides. One one hand, doing something that's 'normal' or 'expected' can be a huge achievement for some children. Otoh, it's frustrating for children who behave to see others being rewarded for minimal level behaviour. A good school will manage that though, and should make sure that all children are recognised and rewarded for achievements, regardless of what those are.

SafeAsHouses Wed 26-Mar-14 12:37:13

Oh hell, cross posts siiiiigh - perhaps I shouldn't have said what I said above?

Oh well, i'll just keep on going......

One of DS's classmates is ASD....I'm great friends with his mum. He too gets an awful lot of rewards when, much of the time, he's careering round the classroom disrupting everyone else. In a 7yr old eyes, it seems harsh when this child is rewarded for just sitting nicely in carpet time.

We have the same at DS1s school. I understand it, but I don't like it.

I asked his teacher about it as DS1 was getting put out that he rarely got stickers whereas the boy who bullies him and who is on red on the traffic light system (don't get me started on that either) most days was almost at his gold award.

Her answer was that children had to be seen to be trying over and above what they usually achieved to get a sticker. When I asked how this worked for children who usually tried their hardest to work well and follow the rules, she shrugged and said they needed to do something super special too for the recognition. DS is in Y1, and he's come home a couple of times saying he wishes he could be "naughty" so that the next day he can try hard and be awarded stickers.

It's crap. I know they're trying to send out a message to more challenging pupils that working hard gets results, but ultimately it doesn't do any favours, IMO.

Thisisnotworking Wed 26-Mar-14 12:43:01

At our school "well behaved" children get rewards or rather certificates for things like confidence, helping, sharing, respect ect. The struggling people get an award for something they've managed to do like listening or waiting, tidying up, writing their name. The teachers should have a roster like system, so that all kids get recognised.

blueberryupsidedown Wed 26-Mar-14 12:44:18

Yes, that's just the way it is. The children who are very helpful, very top of the class will be rewarded, and the ones who generally misbehave but occasionally do well will get lots of 'points', but the ones in the middle who generally do what is expected of them will not get many points. We have house points at our school, and both my DSs are ok behaved, achieving what is expected, and rarely get certificates. One of their classmates, let's call him J, just received a gold award for the most house points. What DS1 said?\; 'no offence mum, but J is not very clever and he gets house points for knowing the answer to 2X2.'. hmm

Fishandjam Wed 26-Mar-14 12:45:03

<takes deep breath, controls temper, and dives in head first>

safe, have you tried explaining to your DS that the little boy with ASD (for example) doesn't see the world in the same way and therefore may find it really difficult to behave the same way as your (presumably neurotypical) DS? And that therefore, whenever that little boy does something that your DS finds comes naturally to him, it might have been very hard for that little boy to do and so he should have a sticker?

Oh, and a word to the wise - please don't refer to children as "being" ASD. They "have" ASD.

SafeAsHouses Wed 26-Mar-14 12:46:04

We have the same system as you mimsy - red, green, gold etc. My son has rarely reached the gold level even though his teachers all tell me at parents evening that he is a complete joy to teach....he's basically an 'easy' child, and so, I feel, is becoming somewhat ignored in the classroom as he can look after himself and is known and trusted to behave.

I counter the issue by telling him the above eg the teachers are very fond of him, think he's a lovely child etc. He still wants stickers though, which he rarely gets in comparison to the more challenging kids in the class.

Stickers mean more to a 7yr old than words!

Sommink Wed 26-Mar-14 12:46:28

this is the same in dds class. the children at the top of the class rarely get rewarded, in fact they have told her (and me) she won't be moving up in reading anymore even though she's not completed the scheme because she will have nothing to do next year. She has decided that there's now no point in reading as her only reward as she sees it of moving up has been taken away from her.

she never comes home with stickers or class awards or well done for spellings although most of the other. kids do. its very hard to keep her motivated to even go to school anymore

sunbathe Wed 26-Mar-14 12:49:31

Unfortunately, yes.

Why not get together with other parents and suggest another reward system for the class? More based on good behaviour every day.

My own, well-behaved 'good' kids were really upset by the perceived injustice of your sort of reward system, op.

SirChenjin Wed 26-Mar-14 12:50:31

Fish - we can explain all we like to young children, but quite frankly they are not particularly bothered at a young age - they don't have the emotional maturity to process that information in the same way that we do. Unless the school manages the issue and ensures that all children are recognised they just see some being rewarded for what (on the face of it) seems like very little - children have an inherent sense of fairness, and if the school isn't supporting that then it's counterproductive.

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 26-Mar-14 12:55:34

I see both sides tbh. But my dd knows how to behave in class gets glowing reports her teachers who all claim she's a joy to have in class. She sometimes gets house points sometimes doesn't. And although I realise her work is rewarded having seen her journals, I don't think she earns much in the behaviour stakes.

But she's lucky, she knows how to behave at school and is able to do so. She also responds to the teacher if asked to do or not so something.

Other kids don't. And something simple like sitting quietly is a huge challenge and I don't think it does any harm for that to be recognised. Having a dis heartened child who struggles with behaviour get even more upset and disruptive doesn't help anyone. Surely it is best that it's rewarded and continues.

SafeAsHouses Wed 26-Mar-14 12:55:58

fishandjam - last term my son was paired up with the child with ASD for several weeks running (in his teachers words, and I quote, my son was a 'good, calming influence' on this boy, hence I assume the pairing).

In the end my son asked me to write an email to his teacher to ask to be 'unpaired' - the child having ASD essentially spent the entire time sticking 2 pencils up his nose and not wanting to do any of the work assigned. My son, on the other hand, really tried his best to plug on through the tasks they were meant to be doing together. My son was really worried about them not being able to complete the work in the deadline, he was trying to be mature and deal with the situation as best he could.

The teacher apologized to me in the end. The child with ASD continued to be rewarded for, as you say, doing things that others find easy but an ASD child would find very difficult (I completely understand this), but my son was not even recognised for the tricky time spent in the pairing, or the work produced at the end of it.

And my post is NOT referring specifically to ASD children - there are a number of other children in his class who are 'neurotypical' but just sodding naughty and disruptive. They too are rewarded for generally expected behaviour. It isnt fair.

I think all you can do is try to explain to your son that it is in everyone's interests to help X to see the value in sitting still a bit more of the time, so even though it is not fair, it is still a good thing that he gets a reward when he does manage to sit still.

And commiserate that the reward system is not fair. But, as others have said, 'unfairness' is something that 7yos struggle with - they have just got their heads around concepts like fair/unfair and reward/punishment and then they find out that it doesn't work the way it should.

roadwalker Wed 26-Mar-14 13:00:32

Well I don't think rewards and punishment works but our society is based on that system and I have heard parents at DD's school shouting for children (SN) to be punished
On that basis then they should be rewarded too

TalkinPeace Wed 26-Mar-14 13:00:57

Yes its normal

my kids find it well off that the really badly behaved kids get ipods and days out as rewards for NOT being excluded in a term

when kids get rewards for NOT hitting other kids
(not SEN, just chav by the way)

when kids who are off timetable for disruption get taking shopping for the day as a reward for turning up for a whole week

it stinks
BUT
teachers and schools have little choice as if they give up on those kids the costs to society will be so much greater in the long term

so I make sure I reward my kids with a loving home and personalised treats that the oik kids will never get

SafeAsHouses Wed 26-Mar-14 13:02:49

very good post talkingpeace - I completely see your point about long term costs to society. Its just not something I can easily explain to a 7yo (although I have tried!).

ouryve Wed 26-Mar-14 13:03:52

Would you only give a medal to a paraplegic athlete if they got out of their wheelchair and ran 100 metres?

The answer is the same, for the same reasons.

SafeAsHouses Wed 26-Mar-14 13:05:58

I personally think that's a poor analogy 'ouryve', really poor and completely missing the point.

roadwalker Wed 26-Mar-14 13:06:36

If they are just 'chav' (which is a term I hate) then they are still disadvantaged if they have not been brought up in a family who demonstrate love, structure, respect and all the things children need to grow up emotionally healthy

morethanpotatoprints Wed 26-Mar-14 13:06:55

I don't think its a problem that challenging children receive rewards, after all they could have done something which is very good for them to do. Children struggle with all kinds of things, not just academically and of course you need to factor in any sn, where the dc have achieved a lot in the behaviour expected of others.

The problem to me is that the rewards aren't always given to be inclusive to all and this is unfair and hard to explain to the dc.
Anything good or exceptional should be merited.

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