PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) Backfires

The following was posted at the DisciplineWithoutStres mailring hosted by yahoo groups.com:

I just wanted to quickly relay a rewards-based disaster.

One of our seventh-graders, in fact, the daughter of a teacher, recently wanted to go to the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) reward dance. She is an A honor roll student, never a discipline problem, and a wonderful kid. In the haste of “bribing” misbehaving students to be good, we neglected to “reward” her for doing what she had motivated herself to do. Long story short, she did not have enough PBIS tickets to go to the dance. How horrible!!

Looks like rewards systems don’t quite cover the good kids as well as they should. Good thing that they are intrinsically motivated and feel good about the fact that they are great kids and their teachers love them!

A response post:

Your experience really points out what I think is a big problem with any reward-based behaviour program—the fact that the goal of the program (often not clearly stated) is simply to get kids to behave. When the goal is obedience, then the program isn’t truly too worried about the kids who are already obedient. Then things happen—just as they did in your school where a wonderful child is left feeling terrible. Of course, no one intended for that to happen but still that’s often the result.

That’s why I feel so strongly about Discipline Without Stress. The goal is to raise everyone, not just those who are a big problem—so the program can focus on all kids. That’s what I love: EVERY kid gains. Some gain by bringing them up to Level C, while those who are already there gain, too. They learn about Level D, which is such a valuable understanding for living the rest of their lives. No other program that I’m aware of provides this understanding.

Thanks for participating on our mailring!

Kerry in British Columbia, Canada