Rewards & Consequences
REWARDS AND CONSEQUENCES Rewards and consequences are a critical component of behavior contracts. They can help determine the success or failure of the contract inside and outside of the classroom.
Most teachers are not big believers in using extrinsic rewards inside the classroom. The end goal as a teacher is to create self-motivated learners who are productive members of society. Using extrinsic rewards seem to work against what is trying to be accomplished. However, using the same tactics over and over again expecting different results will not work for anyone involved. The behavior inside the classroom is not acceptable or “normal” behavior, therefore another method has to be tried. The rewards set in place are not supposed to be long-term solutions over the course of years. They are supposed to motivate the student enough that their behavior changes and becomes the new normal.
It is most effective if the reward is given by parents at home. That way, class time is not taken away, and the child learns that this good behavior is expected and reinforced outside of the classroom walls. If a reward must be given at school, privileges work better than tangible items.
Consequences for contracts come when a student doesn’t earn enough points, circle enough stars, write enough smiley faces, etc. for the day/week. Instead of having a punishment like a time-out or being grounded, the best consequence is simply to not give the student the item or privilege they would have earned. Setting up negative consequences can only lead to frustration and could demotivate the student.
The following page lists possible rewards that can be used with your behavior contract.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE STUDENT STOPS FOLLOWING THE CONTRACT?
There could be several reasons why a student stops following the contract. First, they might not have had a big enough role in its creation. They might not feel connected to what it’s asking them to do or the rewards they get if they comply. If this is the case, revise the contract while working more closely with the student.
Secondly, the rewards might not be enough to motivate the student over longer periods of time. You can either increase the reward or change it to something new. Talking with the student themselves, and their parents, can help give you insight into what will work best for the student.
Thirdly, the student might not be getting rewarded frequently enough. If points/rewards are being given at the end of the week, try making it daily and see if that increases their motivation.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE STUDENT ARGUES WITH ME OVER THE TERMS OF THE CONTRACT?
This is usually a sign that the terms of the contract are unclear. That means it is a good time to sit down with the student and clearly go over the expectations and rewards again.
CAN THE CONTRACT BE USED OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM?
Absolutely! Once it has become routine inside the classroom and has proven to be successful, the contract can be extended or modified to pertain to areas outside the room. You can rewrite the contract to include places like specials (computers, music, art, p.e., etc.) the hallway, other teachers’ classrooms, the library, and the playground.
Check out how to set up and implement a behavior contract here.