What if my students are used to receiving discipline rewards?

As a Learning Assistance teacher, I work with small groups of students for 30-45 minutes every day. All of the teachers at my school use the “colored card, stickers and treasure chest” method of classroom discipline. I don’t think they’ve ever seen an extrinsic reward they didn’t like! Do you think I could still implement the Discipline without Stress system effectively when the kids are used to being rewarded so much?

You can certainly use DISCIPLINE without STRESS in your small-group teaching situation. You can implement it effectively even if the other staff members at your school don’t follow a similar philosophy.

There’s no need to announce to your students that you don’t give rewards for expected behavior and learning–unless they bring it up. If they are conditioned to being rewarded heavily, it’s quite likely that they will! If and when they do ask for a reward, you might handle it in this way:

Refer to the Discipline without Stress Hierarchy and ask your students to consider this question:

• What level is a person operating on, if he/she
needs a reward from another person for doing a task?

After your students realize that this indicates operation on Level C, you can ask and discuss further questions, such as:

• Would I be doing you a favor if I encouraged you to read in
order to get a sticker or a prize?

• Would I be helping you to reach the highest level of behavior?

• Which person is going to be a better reader in the long run…
someone operating at Level C or Level D? Why?

• Even though someone at Level D doesn’t get a little sticker or trinket at the end of a lesson,
what HAVE they gained?

• Over time, which is more valuable?