Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Teaching Tykes: The Pitfall of Rewarding Sad Choices and How to Fix the Problem

So, I was released on Sunday from being a primary teacher.  BUT, I'll still be posting gospel teaching tips each Tuesday that I can get around to it and you may see lesson helps every now and then since my DH was not released.  This week, though, we'll just talk about some gospel teaching tips as we have Stake Conference and my DH doesn't have to teach on Sunday.

Before I start, though, I want you to know that I still want to hear from you!!!  If you're having issues and want some advice, I am more than willing to try and help you out if you're at your wits end!  Just email me and I will try to get back to you as soon as I can!  Hope to hear from you soon!!!

Think this is wishful thinking?  It doesn't have to be!
 Ooookay, so that said, I want to talk about a pet peeve of mine--when people reward sad choices in others.  It's a pitfall.  It will make bad behavior worse.  It ruins trust you may have had with other class members and creates a chaotic atmosphere.  In conclusion, it is extremely counter productive.

If you'd like an example, then I will give you one.  Let's say that you have a child in your class that will not sit in their chair and continually gets up and tries to run out of the room.  This is neither appropriate nor safe.  What do you do?  You could just allow the child to leave the room and do whatever it is they want to.  Doing this shows the child that they are in control and don't have to follow the rules.  You could even take it one step further and allow them to participate in something fun that technically you should have chosen another child who was behaving appropriately to do.  This tells the other children in your class that sad choices are what gets them attention and that this is the behavior you'll reward.  End result to these inappropriate responses?  Extremely dysfunctional class times with inappropriate behavior from all the children present.  You've taught the kids that you are not in control and that they can do whatever they want to and that you will reward sad choices.  Counter productive to what you should be teaching them.  I'm not saying to never choose that child to participate.  I'm saying that they will have to give you a large amount of time behaving appropriately before you will reward their behavior.  This is part of teaching children the repentance process as well.

So, what should you do instead?  The appropriate response would be to continually instruct the child to sit in their chair and help them to it if needed.  If there is a rule that you have to act nicely to be called on to participate, this child should not be chosen.  If they throw a fit, remind them that if they want to be chosen to participate, they need to make happy choices.  The result?  The child who was behaving inappropriately understands that there are rules and boundaries in your class.  They will push the limits a few more times but you need to be consistent.  They will see that no matter what, there is structure in your class and that they can count on it to be a safe environment.  The other students who behave appropriately will be rewarded accordingly and will continue to act in a safe and orderly manner. 

Okay, have I made myself clear? ;)  What happens when you reward sad choices?  MORE sad choices.  What happens when you have expectations and reward happy choices?  MORE happy choices and an orderly classroom. 

Where did I learn this?  From the scriptures--"Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence." 2 Nephi 1:20.  The Lord rewards us when we make good/happy choices.  He does not reward poor/sad choices.  Period.  No exceptions.  No excuses.  We CAN do it.  So can the children in our class--but we have to have expectations before this can happen.  YOU can do it!  I hope you take the time to think about this and how you can utilize it in your homes/callings/lives.  I know that you will be happier if you do!  See you again soon! :)

1 comment:

dawnetta said...

I'm so sad you've gotten released. You've been my favorite resource since I've gotten called back into Primary! I love your perspective on kids! I have a great class, but challenging. I think two of them might fall in your 5% to 10% of not normal behavioral challenges. BUT a lot of your tips have already done wonders. I wish you the best in your next calling. :)