Here is a communication I received from a teacher that is definitely worth sharing about discipline and rewards.
“I am a fourth grade teacher who desperately wants to move away from students only working for rewards that is the nature of the discipline ‘behavior plans’ at my school. After implementing a few of your strategies in my classroom, I am pleased with the way my students have responded. Because I, and all their previous teachers, have used rewards, I am unsure how they will react if I do away with all tangible rewards.”
Use principle two, CHOICE, of the three principles to practice.
Rather than stopping the use of rewards, give your students the CHOICE. It sounds like the following: “For those of you who still feel that I need to reward you for doing what you should be doing, let me know and I will do so. For those who believe that you are mature enough not to need such rewards, you will find your efforts so much more satisfying.”
Once students—of any age—understand the difference between Level C (EXternal motivation) and Level D (INternal motivation) of the Levels of Development, they quickly realize that token rewards are given to manipulate them, and they quickly lose interest in receiving such rewards.
The communication continued:
“Do you think it is possible to make such large discipline changes to my classroom this late in the year? Or would I do better to make small changes this year, and start next year fresh without punishments and rewards?”
The only things that students need to know are the four Levels of Development. You can teach the hierarchy in one setting by just sharing the vocabulary concepts and then having students give examples of what each level would look like in your classroom.
For those readers who have implemented the Discipline Without Stress methodology mid-year, how did you do it? How did your students respond? Please share your experience in the comments below.