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Is there any alternative to rewards-based discipline?

(10 Posts)
cockles Fri 07-Jan-11 19:17:26

All the primary schools I have seen have a system of discipline that revolves around some variant of 'stay on green' - kids' names go on red for being bad, bronze for being supergood, and so on. In the few days I've had a child in reception he's already upset that his 'good' behaviour isn't being picked up on. I avoided reward charts and so on out of principle all through his early years, and to see it being used in such a pervasive way really grates. I worry he will lose all internal motivation - he can only see the point of clearing up (or whatever) if it gets him a sticker now. At nursery he did it because he was expected to and that's how I prefer it. Do any schools now not do this? Is the private system any different? Is it even worth discussing or raising the downsides of it? I find it so depressing - I know 30 kids is a huge challenge behaviourally, and rules must be rigid, but I feel like he's being dog-trained. Does anyone have any suggestions for how to cope/resist at home, without undermining the school?

mrz Fri 07-Jan-11 19:52:32

We don't use reward charts, suns and clouds or traffic lights or any other variation.
High expectations and praise/thank you for good behaviour is reward enough

crazygracieuk Fri 07-Jan-11 20:16:01

At our school children in Reception start the day on Mr Happy, put on Mr Sad if they get a warning about their behaviour and if they ignore that then they are put on Mr Angry.
The teacher did say that a reward system like yours results in 30 kids doing something good then rushing to an adult in the hope of getting recognition which is obviously not the point of such schemes.

camicaze Fri 07-Jan-11 21:20:10

I can see the point in trying to create internal motivation but what did you do when your child misbehaved? All the childrearing gurus I've come across seem to suggest children need to know there are consequences for actions...

PolK Sat 08-Jan-11 11:51:00

Usually with these sorts of reward systems the good behaviour is emphasised as what is expected (and there's not always a sticker or reward involved) - if a child is on the bronze or red then there are usually consequences to it such as time taken off 'play time' at the end of the day or something like that. It's not necessarily a reward chart type of system, more a visual way of showing the children that there's a consequence to bad behaviour.

I'm slightly confused by what you're saying about your own child - if he is consistently behaving and doing what is asked of him (and this is what you've brought him up to do) then why is he upset at lack of recognition for his behaviour at school?

It's maybe worth chatting to the teacher to ask for clarification about the system?

mrz Sat 08-Jan-11 12:07:05

Lots of well behaved children feel put out when the normally bad behaved get a reward for a good day when they are good all the time and it is just expected (without acknowledgement). Occasionally a normally well behaved child will play up for this reason

IndigoBell Sat 08-Jan-11 12:56:57

cockles - I don't think you have many options with this besides continuing with your own parenting style at home.

It is very unfortunate, but very very common, that school is doing this - but really there is nothing that you as a parent can do.

(Unless you become a school governor and raise this when discussing the school behaviour policy...)

cockles Sat 08-Jan-11 21:25:40

Thanks, that's useful to know - sounds like it is common if not universal. It wasn't so obvious when we saw round the school - things change fast. Polk: he certainly isn't consistently well behaved at home and I expect he won't be at school either, but the obsessive stress on grading behaviour at such an early stage worries me. And I think it is pretty human for a five year old to be puzzled and upset when a reward scheme is hugely talked up, and then only a few randomly chosen children are rewarded. Do heads and teachers think about the long term consequences of this kind of system?

IndigoBell Sun 09-Jan-11 09:16:47

cockles - no, I don't think they do think about the long term consequences. I think they only care about the grades they're going to get at the end of the year

It all really backfires when the kids get to secondary school (if not before) because they're used to being rewarded for everything, and that gets harder and harder to do as the kids get older....

But the primary schools don't care about the impact on secondary school....

Saracen Sun 09-Jan-11 18:15:57

To be fair, I don't think most parents are overly concerned about the long-term consequences of their discipline methods either. Methods which get quick results are always popular and form the basis of most adults' toolkits for interacting with children.

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