reward system for instruction

Recently I have been using a name on the board visual indicator of when the kids in my animation class are getting to wild / rowdy / exhibiting unacceptable behavoir. It has evolved to the point where if they are simply not listening while I am giving instructions they may only get one letter of their name added and for various actions the whole name or merely more letters are added.

The thing that I’ve noticed has a great affect on actually improving behavior is that if they correct their behavior and work actively and respectfully/quietly whatever the case may be the letters on their names can be erased as they exhibit better behavior, thus motivating them to correct what ever they had been doing that was disruptive and think about how they can change their actions to result in not having their name on the board.

In this system there is name and then checks, 3 checks (or more) at the end of the day result in having to talk to an administrator and potentially missing the next class which is a bummer for both student and educator as this hinders progress. Also if this many checks are received and more during the class and behavior is not corrected their is the potential they can be removed for a time out to think about what’s going on and go assist another class or just collect themselves elsewhere.

So far this system is working great with this semesters group, however I just thought of an upgrade to the system which involves a little more tangible reward and is more constructive potentially..

Concept for reward based behavior modification system:

To encourage good behavior rather than harp on bad behavior perhaps all the names could be listed on the board right of the bat at the beginning of class; it’s important that they have a visual of it otherwise they don’t know, remember or really care what notations you’ve made and by harboring the information on a clipboard or something it’s pretty easy to oppose the instructor as the enemy but if its an open and honest visual indicator of their behavior then it can remove the personal element.

Once the list is established and as class gets going when student exhibits good behavior they receive a line, and if they earn 5 lines, that makes a star which they can be awarded with at the end of the day in form of those cool colored foil start stickers that would then be affixed inside their folders/portfolios. This would give them the recognition for good behavior, a small tangible reward and a way to keep track and earn toward some other reward… could be as simple as 20 minutes of free draw or in another type of class a story time or anything productive but rare that the students would enjoy.

This may have its pros and cons, though I’m not sure yet. Whereas the original system incidentally makes an example of any poor behavior it may be nice to attract attention to good behavior with out having to actually exhibit bad behavior to see where the line is drawn, as in ‘what’s bad enough to get a letter or to get my name on the board’ which often people like to test limits which I’m pretty sure is just human nature.. Though with the new constructive star method, it could potentially make anyone doing the right thing feel awkward like a goody-two-shoes kind of feeling which I would prefer not to happen. Perhaps bonus lines of 2 at a time could be awarded when the whole class is being excellent as a whole and there could perhaps not be a limit on number of stars, and there could be a class prize at the end of the year or at various points through the year.. pizza party, new pencils, erasers, sketchbooks!, etc.. maybe a class quota for a basic prize and beyond that get one different color star worth more towards something bigger like a party or watching cartoons one day etc..

Any who, this was just a passing thought I had and felt like I had to record it otherwise it would wisp away.