The Levels of Development with Young Students

I am a kindergarten teacher in Spokane Valley, Washington. My colleagues and I have adopted your Raise Responsibility behavior plan. We are having some difficulties getting kindergartners to value the importance of intrinsic motivation. They’ll tell me they are showing level A or B behavior, and they’ll even do a reflection to focus on better choices and better behavior; then before I know it, they have repeated showing A or B behavior.

Can we really expect ALL children (kindergartners) to understand and abide by these 4 levels without ANY rewards?

The answer is, YES, but you start by differentiating between ACCEPTABLE levels and UNACCEPTABLE levels. See the posters and cards at impulse management.

Also, and—this is critical—be sure you have taught, practiced, and practiced again EVERYTHING you want your students to do. A MAJOR ERROR EVEN EXPERIENCED TEACHERS MAKE is ASSUMING that students, of any age, know what to do without first learning, practicing, and ritualizing the procedure or skill.

Once STUDENTS (especially young ones) HAVE LEARNED what YOU want them to do, they will want to do it. Learning for them is fun. If you are POSITIVE with your kids, they will like you and will want to please you. Boys and girls have a natural desire to please their teachers (level C-external motivation). They will readily do what you ask them to do—if they know HOW to do it.

Once young students have learned what you have taught, many will TAKE THE INITIATIVE to do exactly what you have taught because they then KNOW HOW TO and WANT TO do the right thing—simply because it is the right thing to do. This describes level D-internal motivation.

The 2nd and 3rd grade teachers are curious to know who is supposed to propose the consequences for poor behavior, the student or teacher?

Review the text again at impulse management.

The key is to ELICIT a procedure or a consequence—rather than impose one. This is a critical component of the approach. If you impose it, the student becomes the victim. If it is elicited FROM the student, the student owns it. And ownership is a critical component for change.