Dkrainwater’s Weblog

Posts Tagged ‘behavior classroom

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Teachers, parents, and students struggle with the idea and the practice of homework. As a special educator I have discovered that simple rewards are a tremendous incentive to keep the non-compliant child on task. This article will give some suggestions on how to start an incentive program in your classroom or home to get the homework results that are expected from your student. Rewards, in my experience, have to be tangible, immediate, and something the child truly wants. The goals must be clear and obtainable. For elementary age students, a simple star chart that marks the progress may be sufficient, but there needs to be a tangible reward, something they can see, for them to continue the effort. Though now a bad practice, educators once rewarded children with candy to complete a task. A more healthy and modern approach to short term reward can be an allotted time with a video game or the pick of a favorite television program. If the child likes to read or color, a small book or coloring page can be the reward. The tangible long range goal reward might be a bicycle, a pair of skates, or new shoes. Whatever you think your student would need to urge them to be successful in their education. For the older student the rewards can be as costly or inexpensive as you wish. I once hung a new skateboard in my classroom and told the students whoever turned the most assignments in on time and received a B or higher they would receive the skateboard. With the older students, they had to keep score themselves as the teacher would not give out who was ahead or who was behind. It left some mystery and a little fun in the competition. For short term rewards for older children, internet time, phone time, or a new CD or video game. One strategy is to let them earn one song at a time. For each successful homework session, buy a song from your computer music service and burn it on a CD for them. This will give them something tangible while they build the CD of their choice. Also this will add the special benefit of allowing the parent to monitor what music their child is listening to. To some reward system is a cop out from good parenting and teaching. These opinions are respected, but for some children the organization skills and time management skills are not fully developed and they need to be prompted to mature these abilities. The main objective of the reward system is to give the student something to work for. We as adults do not work for free, why then should we expect are students to. The long term benefit of a good education is not in the sight of some of our youth. As with all of us, that comes with maturity and age. The reward system is just to get the students to this point of insight.

Students that have emotional disabilities can exhibit behaviors that can many teachers pulling out their hair in frustration. When a teacher feels they can not reach the child, they feel frustrated and ready to give up. Most teacher colleges do not equip new teachers with the skills they need to help these tortured souls and they themselves burn out because of their lack of knowledge. There is one simple practice a teacher of the emotionally disabled has to master to even start to develop a working relationship with the child. That is to get to know your students.

Don’t expect the emotionally disabled student to make the first move to develop a relationship. Most of the time, these students have poor social skills that are sometimes the root of their behavior. They do not know how to intermingle, ask for help, or any other small social skill that most students have. You as the teacher have to take out and get to know them. Ask them questions about their family, their likes, and dislikes. The more you learn about the child, the more of a relationship you will build. You will soon learn their ‘triggers’ or the things that set them off, and you as the teacher can be proactive and remove the child from the situation before things get heated. The child will learn to trust you and with trust, respect and attention will follow. The student will fight this at first, but most will respond to the attempt to get to know them.

Don Rainwater has written many articles and books on the subject of teaching the behaviorally challenged. To learn more about emotionally disabled and oppositionally defiant children, visit