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School using appropriate work as a reward for compliance

(7 Posts)
YakkaSkink Thu 14-Jul-11 21:34:46

I'm not sure what I think of DS's teacher's strategy at the moment. He's in reception and tends to get up and walk about, ignore instructions and deploy cunning plans for getting out of doing the things he doesn't like (which would be anything involving using a pencil, being quiet or sitting still). He can be violent sometimes. He's right down the bottom of the cohort for literacy and struggling somewhat socially.

His IQ appears to be 160+ but he's hit the ceiling on the tests they can do with an illiterate child so hard to know what it might be really. He adores science, but they're letting him do science experiments as a reward for compliance in other areas. He works really hard to achieve it (and comes home frazzled from the effort) but some (maybe 1/2 of all) days, when he doesn't keep it together, he doesn't actually get to do any differentiated work. I can see that they have to try something to get some reasonable behaviour and this will motivate him. I'm just wondering whether this is a good method or not?

Hulababy Thu 14-Jul-11 21:36:50

Does he get to do literacy work - reading and writing, at his level? This seems to be the key area which he needs to work on. Do you also mean differentiated work for that, or is he getting that already?

YakkaSkink Thu 14-Jul-11 21:42:41

Yes, he does get some extra literacy help but he doesn't like it as he finds it so tough otherwise he's just in the bottom group for phonics and struggling. The subject matter is babyish at a suitable level for him to try to read so harder for him to get motivated about too. Hard to tell at his age, but I'd put money on dyslexia.

He wants to do multiplication and discuss the properties of hydrogen - but he only gets any of the good stuff for keeping it together.

iggly2 Fri 15-Jul-11 12:27:23

If it is working for the school (is behaviour improving? is he progressing ?) then is there any harm. Some children get better with sticker/ rewards this may be your child's best form of bribery. Keep reading lots with him at home and read books more suited to his comprehension so he remains interested. School is learning to fit in and socialise (an important life skill) as well as academia. If he behaves well in maths etc I do not see why they cannot differentiate there, it is part of the teacher's job. I do think that maths is only for maybe 30-60 minutes a day though, the rest of the time he does have other things that maybe need to be helped and worked on more.

EyeOfNewtToeOfFrog Fri 15-Jul-11 15:15:50

This sounds sadly familiar. My DD is very bright but struggles with the behavioural side of things at school (but not at home).

I think you're right to question the reward methods used at school - surely he would actually concentrate better if he was allowed to do stuff he's interested in? There are lots of other methods of rewarding a bright child besides stickers and star charts (my DD always found them pointless = totally ineffective). We currently use a home-school "positive book" where teacher/TA/HT record all DD's good behaviour - rewards work much much better than punishment (i.e. taking fun learning away). We also reward at home for every successful day at school. (Consider half a day as your DS is younger?)

Here's my real tip for you though: in Y2 DD'd problems got so bad school brought in an Ed Psych and wanted the school nurse to refer DD to be assessed at an Autistic Spectrum Disorder clinic. We knew DD doesn't have ASD and were worried the referral would go through a professional who was rather biased in her view (i.e. she was convinced DD was autistic, and wouldn't listen to reason!). By an absolute miracle we had a private health care policy that we were able to use to get a multi-disciplinary assessment at an NHS centre of excellence to prove that DD was "just bright" and a little bit quirky - and not autistic. The assessment also showed DD has something called Auditory Processing Disorder - which often results in autism-type behaviour in children, and explains many of her difficulties.

So if you have private health insurance - check now that it covers assessment for behavioural problems. If you don't - consider getting one now, before your DS's condition can be classed as "pre-existing". To put it into context, if we'd had the multi-disciplinary assessment paid privately, it would cost around £2000.

I hope this helps! Keep us posted.

Btw - the older your DS gets, the easier it will be for him to understand his own behaviour - and other people's. Hang on in there, we've found that after turning 7 DD has become a lot more reasonable <PHEWWW> And one day your DS's intelligence will definitely shine above the rest - try to console yourself with that thought when times get tough smile

YakkaSkink Fri 15-Jul-11 22:04:05

Thanks eyeofnewt the idea of a positive home school book sounds like a very good one. Hmm, I think it would already be classified as pre-existing as he's already seen paeds for poss ASD (no, no insurance) - back again next week. A few months ago I would have said 'yes, I think probably ASD', but he's made a couple of social leaps forward and now demonstrates a lot of ability to empathise with others so I think less likely as a poss. diagnosis now. I think he does have sensory processing disorder and the APD is something that's already there in my mind.

The way I've been thinking is that: his needs are so different from those of most children only a statement will get him the enrichment as they just don't have the resources otherwise. Only continuing very difficult behaviour will get him that statement and I honestly don't mind what labels they stick on him to get it (so long as they don't keep trying to stick on 'Oppositional Defiant Disorder' which is just silly). If anything 'just bright' as a dx which is my current suspicion would prevent him getting anything like enough extra support.

I'm not sure that DS's intelligence will become clear any time soon - my brother's didn't until he was in his late 20s

chillikate Thu 28-Jul-11 13:35:08

Have you considered ADD / ADHD?? I'm here as a parent, but I have ADD and would have been considered gifted in todays terms.

The symptoms you mention appear to be more a concentration issue that a social problem.

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