negative motivators in school...what to do, if anything??

(29 Posts)
TICKLETUMBLE Tue 21-May-13 05:51:42

DX school have just changed how golden time is awarded from something that is earned by good behaviour, to something that is removed for 'bad' behaviour.
Basically 'do as we say, or else you will suffer'.
This feels totally wrong to me.
It places the attention on unwanted behaviour, ignores any difficulties a child may have in responding to this sort of negative motivator, and flies in the face of natural consequences which the school state they believe in (restorative approaches, avoiding punishments as these breed resentment and are a poor motivators to change behaviour etc. etc.)

Anyone got any thing good to say about rewards systems using negative motivator that I can cling on to?

TheFallenNinja Tue 21-May-13 06:30:34

It seems pretty standard action / consequence stuff? Don't screw the bobbin and we take stuff away?

Not sure what negative motivator means really.

TICKLETUMBLE Tue 21-May-13 06:47:16

Do as asked or something bad happens (negative motivator), do good and something good happens (positive motivator).

Maybe I sound a bit fluffy bunny for feeling this is not ok, and I would probably not have given it a second thought is the school had not introduced restorative approaches and consequently been subjected to a particularly painful training session from community social workers explaining why arbitrary punishments are poor motivators that breed resentment and natural consequences are better.....e,g disrupt class or fail to complete a task = do it in your own time and miss out on playtime.

I agree its pretty standard, just don't like it much.

TheFallenNinja Tue 21-May-13 07:01:26

I don't necessarily think its fluffy bunny really, but without wanting to look like I'm splitting hairs I'm struggling to see the difference between the natural consequence you describe and a negative motivator, aren't they the same thing? In the instance of non compliance something is taken away in both instances. Perhaps it's early and the coffee hasn't kicked in smile

Are you uncomfortable with the new regime as it appears harsh?

TheBirdsFellDownToDingADong Tue 21-May-13 07:06:57

Yep. Fluffybunny about covers it.

Just let the people with years of training and experience do their jobs eh?

And as parents, if our children start coming home saying "negative motivators are being introduced in our school" then perhaps we should be looking at why their behaviour is (presumably) so bad that "negative motivators" are warranted and helping the teachers out a bit by perhaps daring to say a "negative" word a bit more at home.

TheBirdsFellDownToDingADong Tue 21-May-13 07:08:29

Is your child often at the receiving end of one of these negative motivators?

(when the feck did it stop being called "getting told off for being a little sh*t" hmm Although I bet it's still called that in the staffroom wink)

mrz Tue 21-May-13 07:11:53

I agree TheFallenNinja the distinction is pretty academic ...good behaviour = reward (Golden Time) bad behaviour = no reward

It's learning that there are consequences for our choices/actions

TheLordOfTheDanceSettee Tue 21-May-13 07:11:55

Schools have so few tools at their disposal when disciplining children these days. Often times parents are reluctant to strictly discipline children at home for a varieties of reasons. Fluffy bunny reasons being just one.

Also adding up the golden time add each child earns it sounds so time consuming. Maybe also it's more positive for a 'naughty' to see that their golden time is full on a Monday morning rather than never full Wick is a likely scenario.

TheLordOfTheDanceSettee Tue 21-May-13 07:13:42

Oh ffs. 'naughty' child. which is a likely.

Branleuse Tue 21-May-13 07:15:09

not earning golden time isnt a negative motivator, golden time is a treat to earn. not standard.

DIYapprentice Tue 21-May-13 07:59:05

Probably because it's a lot harder to spot and reward 20 odd children with good behaviour, and invariably a well behaved child will miss out on a reward because they have slipped under the teacher's radar that day. That is VERY demotivating for a child, to be good and not be rewarded like other children are.

That being said, I don't see why they don't reward 'extra' good behaviour, ie something above the ordinary, basic good behaviour, as well as having punishment for bad behaviour.

tiggytape Tue 21-May-13 08:41:20

The usual and often most effective approach is a bit of both.
Positive reinforcement works wonders in motivating children. All children relish 'good' attention. It works very well where a child needs encouragement with certain aspects of behaviour (the logic behind reward charts for certain tasks) but can be more difficult to track when used for 30 children if applied to every aspect of being 'good' (effort, achievement, behaviour etc). It is too easy for some efforts to get missed. The teacher cannot constantly spot and praise all 29 individual examples of good behaviour - sometimes the obvious answer is to pick up on the one example of poor behaviour instead.

Negative consequences are are natural consequence of less desirable behaviour and have their place too. Losing golden time for persistant or very undesirable behaviour can create a direct link between the behaviour and the outcome for the child.

Schools are actually very limited in the tools they have to manage behaviour so I would find it very odd that any school set out to only use positive reinforcement and nothing else at all. Perhaps that's why they're changing it - I don't see that it could work in a large school, average class size setting 100% of the time.

TheFallenNinja Tue 21-May-13 11:46:49

To be honest it just sounds like management speak.

DeWe Tue 21-May-13 12:50:28

But I don't think ds (who does lose golden time) would see it as any different for being not given, than taken away.

I don't think (assuming it's done so most of the class will generally get it) that dd1 and dd2 would have thought "woopee I've earned this time". Unless it is genuinely only given to extra good time and only some of the class would have it, which I don't think is what you're suggesting.

daftdame Tue 21-May-13 13:54:54

I think overuse of any 'motivational system', good or bad, is counter-productive.

Indeed there was an article in New Scientist, not that long ago, that reported on research that seemed to prove just that thing. It was interesting that if something / a particular behaviour was assigned a reward, people were actually demotivated towards towards that activity. It devalued how the activity itself was perceived.

In an ideal word children would be engaged with their learning for its own value. I really think teachers have got it right when this is the case.

However this, I appreciate, is very idealistic. Hence the rewards/punishments exist in schools. When it is the primary motivating factor though, I would question the teaching.

daftdame Tue 21-May-13 13:56:04

^ or perhaps question the curriculum! grin

daftdame, has receiving wages devalued your paid work?

Do you park on doube yellows outside the shop you want to go in instead of half a mile away and walk for its own intrinsic value?

TICKLETUMBLE Tue 21-May-13 15:28:49

Interesting comments thank you.

For the record my DS does recognise the difference between earning something good (makes him very happy)and having something good taken away (the prospect of which makes him very uset without actually having done anything wrong), but perhaps he is unusual in that.

My main gripe is based on the school pushing restorative approach which is supposed to shun arbitrary punishment, which is what the punitive golden time is. Confusing messages for all.

Thak you for you thoughts, all good stuff to ponder.

daftdame Tue 21-May-13 16:13:11

StarlightMcKenzie I walk everywhere and enjoy working for free more than if I'm paid sometimes ie when the task is one I see being worthwhile. Some things I just do, whether paid or not. However comment wasn't meant to be read as all rewards are always bad, it was just the flip-side of rewards.

daftdame Tue 21-May-13 16:27:24

Starlight I think what it is with me is that I have never liked to feel as if I'm being 'bribed'. Makes me feel pressured. Always has done. I either want to do something or I don't. If I'm paid to do a job, I do the job I'm paid to and more if I think it is worthwhile. However I chose to take on the job, so it is not like school in that sense, in that it is my choice.

soapboxqueen Tue 21-May-13 16:27:24

In the schools I have taught in where golden time was used, it had always been done in this way e.g. All children have all of their golden time at the beginning if the week. We assume the child is going to be well behaved that week and so has their full time allocation to begin with. Then only if they misbehave do they lose any. I think starting with none assumes that many do not deserve the time to start with which feeds back negatively to the child. Also it means that negative behaviour will result in the child loosing something. If they have to earn all of their golden time then they won't actually loose anything by misbehaving because they never had it in the first place. Also done children would become very frustrated in trying to be good but not catching the teachers eye. Negative behaviour is not obvious, especially when you have an expectation of good behaviour by most of the class.

Timetoask Tue 21-May-13 16:32:53

So basically, all the children WILL have golden time. Except if they don't deserve it.
Sounds good to me....

mrz Tue 21-May-13 18:57:52

I hate the whole "Golden Time" concept ... but that's another thread

teacherwith2kids Tue 21-May-13 19:03:03

Never taught anywhere that does Golden Time, thank the lord.

MaybeBentley Tue 21-May-13 20:23:06

My DC's last school did GT. The concept we were told is it rewards the children that are well-behaved, etc. all the time with the assumption everyone deserves GT until removal of time is used as a sanction for poor behaviour. I quite like that it rewarded the children who can sometimes get missed as they always do well. I can see lots of rewards when certain children need the extra support can be good for that child, but feel negative to the rest of the class and GT solves this issue. Managing the earning of GT must be confusing - my children would get hung up on how mcuh time they had earned and what for, compared to their friend who did something different to them.

UniS Tue 21-May-13 20:54:48

DS's class all start teh week with X minutes golden time, they can lose minutes for bad behaviour ( those minutes are spent sitting on the carpet facing the wall while rest of class get on with GT). They can also be rewarded with extra GT for above n beyond good behaviour, in which case they come in a few mins early from afternoon play and get first choice of GT activities.

chubbleigh Tue 21-May-13 21:11:50

With you on this one. I hate golden time for the reasons you say. I think it has a worsening affect on the kids it is supposed to influence.

Jezabelle Tue 21-May-13 22:22:56

Would you offer an alternative? Do you use other sanctions for negative behaviours? I'm very curious. I have mixed feelings re GT. Surely all time should be "golden"? [Said in a slightly tongue in cheek tone!]

I do take on board maybebentley's point about it being a reward to those who might otherwise be missed. Although I don't think it should be over used, I think it is a useful tool in settling one child's disruptive, attention seeking behaviour by taking a minute off their GT and therefore not having to give them a great deal of negative attention which they may crave.

Obviously this behaviour needs to be addressed in the long term and lots of positive attention given, but can mean that the short term situation is resolved so that the rest of the class's learning is not affected.

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