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Why do management give 'naughty' children treats?

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by Kimchi_Pickle, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. I am confused. Currently I work in a special measures primary school in a borough with a majority of failing schools. Ofsted commented on our poor behaviour generally.
    Since a new HT came in, we've had a behaviour policy implemented (OMFG WOW) but there seems to be a point at which children who are sent to the head teacher are having their tears dried, a play on an iPad, juice, or a snack or a sticker etc.

    Why do management do this? Should teachers do this too? I really don't understand it, and this is the second school in which SLT have done this. If this is actually a policy, why isn't it in the policy?

    I'm looking for some sort of pedagogical explanation, because I really don't want to think that management are giving kids a treat after they have hit someone/disrupted a lesson etc.
     
  2. Sometimes the most disruptive kids have very sad/abusive home lives and have made few good bonds with stable adults. Often they don't trust adults and don't see any reason to behave. If they are very attention seeking and can't get the attention in a positive way, they will become disruptive.
    From a class teacher's point of view, it seems utterly undermining to have sent a child to someone you believe they will take seriously, only to see them happily chewing a cookie or doing something fun. It also appears to be reinforcing the negative behaviour (do something bad and get lots of attention and a cookie etc).
    From an SLT point of view, I would always tell off a child very strongly if they were sent to me, and initially ensure that they were very clear that this was not going to be a pleasant experience for them. But once you have hammered your point home, there comes a point when you have to build the child back up, make them believe in themselves, know that you do notice when they try and do the right thing. Having an entirely punitive response to a badly behaved child does not get you the whole way there with them. These are the kinds of damaged kids who are only too used to being told off and shouted at. Sanctions only limit behaviour, they do not change it.
    Believe me, I am not a 'touchy-feely' teacher and today I actually scared a parent when I told off her son in front of her for being rude, but if you can build up a child's trust in an adult in school then you are likely to engage them far more in education, than if you just imagine that telling them off will answer the problem.
    In answer to your question 'should teachers do this too?' I would say that teachers should always look for the positive in all kids, and especially the 'bad' ones, who are told day in day out how awful they are. BUT make sure that there is a clear sanction/punishment put in place first, before closing the door on that behaviour and looking at the positives and rewarding.
    Hope that makes some sense!
     
  3. bigpedro

    bigpedro New commenter

    Whilst I agree with most of this, i'd say that its the proximity of the rewards to the telling off that's the issue.
    yes, naughty children should be rewarded when they're good. But not immediately after a telling off.
    If a kid is bad - tell them off
    When they're good - reward them
    Its not rocket science!
    What happens too often is... "right i've told you off now, can we be friends again? heres a cookie"
    how confusing is that for a kid???
     
    Bev111bev likes this.
  4. Tom_Bennett

    Tom_Bennett Occasional commenter

    The simple and sad answer to this is usually because they suffer from invertebracy. It's often incurable. Many people in schools who are responsible for supporting their staff find it easier to be Santa Claus than the child catcher. They haven't been offended against by the child, so it's easy to pretend that they're Fun Uncle Billy with all the cookies and the Tea.
    If you have a child removed from your room because they told you to F off, and five minutes later Billy No-Balls brings them back covered in custard cream crumbs, saying, 'I think Jasmine's ready to come back into your lesson now,' then say, 'Really? Well I'm not,' and hit Fun Billy on the forehead with a serving spoon, like Manuel from Fawlty Towers.
    It's lazy, spineless, and perhaps worse, it undermines the teacher and reinforces the child's helplessness. Of course, sometimes there will be issues (as CaaC mentions above) that you might not know about, and the SLT member is making a judgement call, but if they fail to also address the in-class misbehaviour, then they might as well paint a sign on your class saying 'WELCOME TO THE ROOM OF FUN!!!'
    Read more from Tom here on his blog, or follow him. His latest book,Teacher, is out now, published by Continuum/ Bloomsbury

     
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  5. I totally understand that a great number of these children have miserable home lives. I've got a class FULL of needy children with miserable home lives. I think they should have relationships with adults built - I like to give jobs to a few of mine, who will gladly spend 10 minutes sharpening my pencils if it means they get to spend some extra time indoors with me. I'm even considering playing board games once a week, just so they get used to the ideas of sharing and playing together. So, yes, I am all for giving the saddest souls something to look forward to. However, one of my least-acting out children has a very miserable set of circumstances, and just because she withdraws as opposed to slapping everyone in sight, she gets neglected by the SLT. She would love to play on an iPad (the Exec-Head's bribe of choice), but instead it gets given to a child who bites everyone, then cries.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees this as an easy way out. Is there any subtle way to address this, without looking like a whiny cry-baby? This head is supposed to be super duper, but I'm not really sure they 'get' where our school is currently at, having come from a faith-based academy in a well off area.

    Bah. I think I needed to rant. Thanks everyone, your comments were helpful.
     
  6. GordonNome

    GordonNome New commenter

    Can you find some lovely treats for those who behave well? And maybe make them sound even more fun than the ipad? Am sure you are working hard on just such a thing, but in case not, maybe you could do the "class treat pot" where everyone in the class can earn tokens (beads, milk bottle tops, dinosaurs, whatever) to go in the pot. And when the pot is full the class gets a treat. Then Sally "nice but quiet" can be praised lots for her lovely behaviour and get to put tokens in the pot and have the class give her a clap. And if Billy "biter" also plays nicely then maybe he can put a token in too....
     
  7. Mrs_Frog

    Mrs_Frog New commenter

    I have come across violent pupils who knew how to play the game, be filthy,foul, disgusting rude to staff, threaten staff/pupils, cause hell with regard to trashing a classroom being taken for tea and biscuits with the HT and DHT....Yes, he had hell of a time at home one thing and another, but seriously.....
    MF x
     
  8. cleggy1611

    cleggy1611 New commenter

    We had an ed psych once who persuaded the ht to make the most disruptive child in the entire school chief photographer for the school newsletter. You can imagine the fun and games that led to. The same ed psych advised me not to give him writing tasks because he didn't like. He asked me to imagine being given something I didn't like every day. Egg white, yuk! The difference was that I don't need to eat egg white. At some stage in his life, this child was going to have to write!
     
  9. I don't agree with not thanking kids for what they already should be doing. When I am given a menu at a restaurant, I say 'thank you' even though it's their job to give me one. I say 'thanks' as I get off a bus, even though it's the driver's job to stop and let me off. I think it shows good manners and role-modelling. Kids (people in general) are motivated by recognition. 'Rewarding' can be with a smile or a 'thank you', not necessarily a shopping centre voucher. I think we can all do more of it.
    Regarding the iPad games etc. I think Billy biter will know in his heart that this is false empty praise. Sally Super may not 'need' reinforcement, but genuinely given, personal praise will mean a huge amount to her.
    If you were Sally, would you prefer your own teacher to give you genuine, meaningful praise, or the distant headteacher swooping in with 15 minutes of games on an iPad? I know which I would choose.
     
  10. internationalschools

    internationalschools New commenter

    I feel so sorry for the quiet, well behaved students in schools like these. I taught in one of them for a few years, and they had a crazy system where naughty kids could have fabulous rewards like days out if they had a couple of weeks with no detentions. For the good kids, who never got a detention all term? Nothing. The HT used to say the same thing as Coolasacucumber, that it was to build these students up. When we failed our OFSTED (with poor behaviour being highlighted), a new HT was brought in who had a zero tolerance approach, and the school is now a "good" school. These kids have to learn, do these HT's really think they're doing these kids a favour - what will happen when they get to the world of work? If they tell their boss to eff off, they'll be out on their ear, no excuses accepted. I don't believe its always to do with deprivation either, one of my worst ever kids regularly had holidays in Florida, had the latest phone, trainers etc. He was just a spoiled little boy, and further spoiling by SMT did him no favours in the long run. I'm not sure if it really is that these SMT members really think this is the correct thing to do or, as Tom mentioned, if they just enjoy being Mr/Mrs Popular.
     
  11. The problem is that the actual reasons are never addressed when children are forced to comply. I believe in positive discipline and also differentiating behaviour systems for needy children. You can't expect one model to fit all. We differentiate in all lessons but not with behaviour. I honestly wouldn't send a child to slt unless it was life or death and the child needed to go home because it undermines the teacher. It's like saying I can't deal with it so I will pass it on. That kid will think you are a pushover. These kids need to be taught the right way to behave and not forced into it.
     
  12. Ok so I'm new to the SMT thing (I've crossed over to the dark side). My initial feeling is that. The big problem here is really one of communication ... whatever the circumstances of a child needing to be removed and then returned to class should there not be some very clear communication between yourselves. I make a point of doing this when I return the child and then if there are home issues as well feeding them back in private latter. Do you get any feedback in these circumstances?
     
  13. internationalschools

    internationalschools New commenter

    I don't actually believe in differentiating behaviour systems (I'm ready to get shot down for saying this). To me, it seems unfair if one pupil is allowed to get away with something that another isn't. (Unless of course, we are talking of such a high level of SEN that the child genuinely doesn't realise they're doing wrong). Too often, soft soap and excuses are made for students from a "deprived" background (e.g. they don't have a smartphone or trendy trainers). As someone who was brought up on a council estate with very little, I can honestly say that I'm glas my teachers didn't treat me any differently than the better off students, as its so patronising. If a student is old enough and mentally cogent enough to know they've done something wrong, then they should be given a consistent and expected punishment that is of a scale which fits the wrongdoing. I teach in an independent school, but we do have some misbehaviour. Because its dealt with firmly (e.g. a child who misbehaves so badly they are sent out, gets a stern interview withe the Headmistress), these incidents are so rare. We should all do these naughty kids a favour and teach them that there are negative consequences - better to learn that now than for them to get a P45 on their second day of their apprenticeship for swearing at their boss. If we don't teach them right and wrong, we are being unfair to them as they won't know how the working world runs - there aren't any "differentiated behaviour systems" in a mechanic's yard or any other workplace!
     
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  14. The trouble is that you aren't teaching right from wrong you are forcing kids to comply.
    What if you work with kids who don't care what you do to them as a punishment. What then? I don't know the answer but I do think every child has a right to be taught right from wrong not forced into it.
     
  15. aspen_1

    aspen_1 New commenter

    The hot stove burns & whoever touches it learns that instantly. Consistent, immediate and apt. I guess I'd settle for compliance as a step along the path to understanding right from wrong. Meanwhile, the rest of the class can have the education they're entitled to.
     
  16. "but if they fail to also address the in-class misbehaviour, then they
    might as well paint a sign on your class saying 'WELCOME TO THE ROOM OF
    FUN!!!'"

    and of course, school should be no fun atall!

     
  17. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    There is fun and there is fun, tjonesdixon. I think Tom would quickly qualify his statement with fun at whose expense?

    My early physics lessons were taken from Jim Jardine's excellent book "Physics Is Fun", and most of my lessons in science, mathematics and drama have always had an element of fun in them.

    The fun, however, was always on my terms, any student attempting their own version at the expense of others was quickly dealt with, either by me or the rest of the class. Of course there has to be space for anyone to contribute to the fun element, and managing this can be quite tricky. Give them an inch and they will take a mile, I think is the appropriate proverb!
     
  18. Ishamel

    Ishamel New commenter

    OMG This. I was one of those good kids! I did manage to get positive attention from my teachers, they were very good but it was never quite the same as 'alright Craig, as you've sat nicely all week and actually put pen to paper you can spend an hour *** about in the ICT suite.' It didn't cure Craig and it irritated the hell out of me.
    Luckily I've never seen this technique backfire by making the good kids think that if they oscillate between good and bad behaviour they can get all the rewards for 'improving'. Sadly that seems to be the message it sends - illogical and unfair.
    Same as the demands for constant 'improvement' in spelling from all children - I'm already on 10/10 every week, what more do you want?? Grr.....

     
  19. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    "Why do management give 'naughty' children treats?"
    So that they can tell the teacher that the child never verbally or physically abuses them so the teacher must be doing something to provoke the child's poor behaviour.
    I've seen tea and biscuits with the Head work wonders on a child in a Special School but he earned the treat for gaining a minimum number of points during the week. A half day session without tantrums or swearing etc earned him a point. Whenever he looked likely to 'kick off' you could usually coax him out of it by reminding him that he would lose the tea and biscuits session on Friday. He was allowed to pick a friend to accompany him so it encouraged co-operative and friendly behaviour from others in the class too. The boy simply loved tea and biscuits which was why it was his reward for consistently behaving well.
    Other pupils had different treats to encourage their good behaviour.

     
  20. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    Absolutely, and it's often dressed up by some pseudo-intellectual failure as "inclusion", while the vast majority are excluded from the edcuation to which they have a right while disproportionate time, energy and resources go down the toilet.
     
    Vince_Ulam likes this.

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