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Why do I dislike behavior contracts?
Old 03-17-2017, 07:45 AM
 
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I have a student (9 years old)who has some pretty severe behavioral issues. I've tried to conference with mom and dad but they keep standing me up. This child can't ever admit to being wrong or accepting responsibility for anytime he doesn't understand. If he gets a problem wrong and has to correct or it's pointed out that he's incorrect, he puffs up and gets such an attitude. He becomes red in the face. He growls and yells that it's my fault. He thinks that I have a separate timer for him set for 10 seconds and the rest of the class gets 1 minute. He rips paper, kicks things, cries, and has even scratched his face.

I don't know how much of his behavior he can control and how much he can't. Some days he's mister helpful and does positive things to gain praise. If he doesn't get the praise, he goes to the puffed up attitude.

I need to do something before he leaves our school. I have been talking with mom and suggested a behavior contract.

Here's the problem. I hate to think that I'm rewarding him (stickers, priveledges etc) for doing what the other children do all day-for doing what is expected.

Should I just get over that and do the contract?


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creative rewards
Old 03-17-2017, 05:10 PM
 
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I have a student who desperately needed her behavior chart (2nd grade). Her mom had the same reservations you did about it. So we plotted and schemed to have rewards that were more natural benefits of good behavior. OR, if she earns a reward, her reward is something that the whole class gets to share.

So I have a long-term goal chart and every day she meets her daily goal we mark it off. When she met her long-term goal the first time she got to bring in cupcakes to share. The second time, the whole class got a pajama day. We're trying to phase her off big rewards, so now she is earning a classroom job.

It might be just semantics, but would something like that float your (and his, and mom's) boat?
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Old 03-17-2017, 06:54 PM
 
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I feel the same way you do. Some things should just be done without rewards. Sometimes, when I'm feeling magnanimous, I look at it this way; we all work for something. My kids are earning Dojo points and rewards for those points, we work for a pay check. Some kids just need things spelled out more clearly and rewards at more regular intervals.

We do check in, check out sheets. I have a student that falls apart without that sheet in his hand. Every 45 min I have to ask if he's been respectful, responsible and safe. I think he needs the consistency rather than just having points given Willy nilly like I do with Dojo.

Once he's successful on the contract, you can wean him off.

Fair is where you go to ride rides and eat cotton candy. In class, every child gets what he/she needs.
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Old 03-18-2017, 09:45 AM
 
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I guess my biggest hang up with having a plan for this kid is that I can't really tell if his behavior is out of his control and not just him being a little turd.
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Old 03-18-2017, 04:15 PM
 
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I hear that. I pretty much refuse to do crap like this for SBS (spoiled brat syndrome). If it's a legitimate issue/disability/need, I'm more willing to go above and beyond.

Would implementing the contact for, say 4 weeks, help clarify it for you? Or just tick you off more? What have past teachers said?


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Old 03-19-2017, 07:50 AM
 
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I agree with Greyhound Girl. Part of the reason for trying a behavior plan is to find out how much of it is under his control. He might also have developed some bad habits. Either way if a behavior plan helps him, it's worth it.
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:56 AM
 
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I feel like the rewards a child earns are the things everyone else already gets - free time, play time, movie day, lunch in the classroom, etc. Make him earn those privileges.
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Old 03-19-2017, 07:25 PM
 
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I feel like this would make his behavior even worse. He already thinks I give the other kids preferential treatment. He wouldn't understand that those are priveledges that he needs to earn. He would just see it that I'm being unfair.
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Old 03-20-2017, 08:22 PM
 
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Quote:
...I feel like this would make his behavior even worse. He already thinks I give the other kids preferential treatment. He wouldn't understand that those are priveledges that he needs to earn. He would just see it that I'm being unfair. ...
Of course he thinks you are unfair. That's normal behavior when a brat doesn't get his way. Have you ever known a 9-year-old to state emphatically, "Thanks Teach for having standards and being consistent. I know you have my best interest at heart and I appreciate you not falling for my lippy backtalk which, as you probably surmize, I have used lots of times to manipulate my parents. They give in quite easily when I whine or have a tantrum."

Most common error in dealing with backtalk is backtalk. When a student launches into backtalk it doesn't matter what type - denial; blaming; nasty; compliment - they are all attempts to change the agenda. One of the more time-honered and tested forms of backtalk is to accuse the teacher (like in your case) of professional incompetence - "You are unfair!" If you take the bait and start discussing what's fair or not it's student wins and you lose. The only acceptable agenda, "Are you going to get back to work?", has changed to a debate of "impartial and just treatment or behavior without favoritism or discrimination." In other words, if your mouth opens in response to backtalk you are telling the student his tactic is working. Expect it to continue.
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Old 03-21-2017, 05:43 PM
 
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Oh absolutely. I never (well hardly ever) engage in responding to the back talk.


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Old 03-23-2017, 02:59 PM
 
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Great! I hear your concern regarding using rewards for one student while the rest of the class gets nothing for being good. It follows the saying "The squeaky wheel gets all the grease."

With the wide range of other people's children that show up for a typical class it is likely self-discipline and work ethic will run from exemplary to "What was that?!" Some will do their work and follow the rules because the thought of displeasing the teacher (substiute Mom and Dad) horrifies them. But not all. Some come from homes where, for whatever reasons, "No" means something else. These students need a void filled, and they need it now. A teacher does not have the luxury of years of relationship building. These students want to know, "Why should I?"

There is nothing wrong with using incentives (rewards) if they are managed correctly. Many don't like rewards due to their mismanagement and synonomous association with bribes. Offering a reward (incentive) to work for is quite different than offering a reward (bribe) in the heat of the moment to stop a behavior. A student running around the room and teacher saying, "Name, if you sit down right now you will get extra recess", is a bribe. It almost guarantees the student will do it again since to earn the reward you must misbehave. A reward set up in advance (proactive) which the student has to work towards to earn - "Name, if you stay in your seat for ____ minutes during reading today you will earn _____ ", is an incentive. The student must behave correctly to earn the reward. Some students not accustomed to years of natural incentives (relationship) may need some form of incentive to start the process.
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Peer Intervention
Old 04-13-2017, 04:33 PM
 
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Perhaps peer intervention might help.

How does he interact with the other students in class? Are they afraid of him, or empathetic?

Depending on the classroom dynamic, I'd get him more involved with his peers. Perhaps they can give him feedback using a behavioral rubric. Such a rubric could be used during group discussion, for group projects, lunchroom behavior, and so on.

Second idea: He sounds very needy. Parents often give their kids whatever that want because they're not spending quality time with them. Maybe you could reward him with some quality time during lunch, prep, or just before the school day begins. These special (earned) times could also be shared with a favorite teacher, classroom buddy, or even the principal.

Wishing you the best!
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Classroom CPR
Old 04-18-2017, 04:52 PM
 
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Behavior contracts can be hard. I applaud you for looking deeper at your reasons and being willing to try a contract. When it comes to the concept of fair=same for all, I heard a good example. When an EMT gets called to perform CPR on a someone who had a heart attack, the EMT doesn't go around giving CPR to every person in the room. Fair is giving each person what he/she needs and that looks different for lots of kids. While I understand this student has the same expectations as the other students and it seems unfair to reward what feels others do without reward, you might find that the other students will also appreciate improved behavior from this student. If a behavior contract can help the situation, it could improve things for everyone in the room and more learning can take place. Perhaps consider some rewards that would also provide connections - lunch with you, another preferred adult, or peers. I don't know the "behind the scenes" of this student's life, but maybe he is seeking your attention the only way he knows how??? Good luck!
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