Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Teaching Without Rewards and Punishments

How do you help your children be accountable for the quality of their work without using rewards and punishments?  Are you able to help your children reach goals without using stickers, gold stars, clip charts, and time out?

Since beginning our Conscious Discipline journey, one of the biggest shifts that has happened for me has been learning to use my creative brilliance when disciplining my children instead of relying on rewards, threats, and punishments when my children aren't doing what I want them to do.  Believe me, it hasn't been easy!  I work hard every day to try to bring the best of who I am to each discipline encounter.  Do I mess up?  You bet!  I make lots of mistakes, but I try to reflect and learn from them so I can use these mistakes as opportunities to grow. 

In Proverbs 26:11 it says "As a dog returns to its vomit; so a fools repeat their folly."  This scripture inspired me to help my children and I learn from our mistakes instead of repeating the same things over and over again. 

I came up with a system that helps us give a number to our behavior.  For example, a 1 would be our worst effort.  These are the times when we are tired, stressed out, and just plain ugly!  The 5 would be our optimal performance.  This is when we are in the "zone", connected, and feeling really good! 

These numbers aren't a way of judging, competing, or comparing our behavior, rather a way of reflecting.  This little bit of reflection helps us move into higher centers of the brain where we can access our executive skills and begin to do better.  It helps us define what certain behaviors look like, feel like, and sound like.

The other night my son and I were talking about the quality of his school work lately.  He felt like maybe the work was a little too hard for him and that's why his grades aren't as high as we would like.  As we continued our discussion and we started giving his effort a number he realized that he hasn't been giving his best effort.  His lack of effort, not doing his best, has resulted in missed opportunities and a little bit of disappointment.  This little bit of reflection really helped us get to the root of the problem so we could put some new tools in place and handle the emotions that accompany missed opportunities.

I made a little chart with some criteria on it to help define what each number between 1-5 would look like when doing homework.  I thought this chart might also be helpful in the classroom when students are turning in their work.  They can look at the chart, reflect on their work, give it a number and jot it down on the bottom corner of their assignment.  They could choose to keep the number they have or use the chart as a reminder to check a few more things before handing in their assignment so it will truly reflect their best!   

If you would like to have a copy of the chart you can find it in my brand new Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Just click on the image below and it will take you to the free download.  Make sure you leave some feedback and follow my store while you are there so you don't miss out on any of the new products I post!  I hope you find it helpful!

When disciplining our children, do you think it is best to do what we have always done?  If we know better don't you think we should do better?  Isn't that what we expect from our children?  We know so much more about child development and brain development now than we did in years past.  We know that if we want children to learn new information and retain what they are learning we need to create optimal learning environments.  This cannot happen when we use discipline methods that are based on fear. 
So, where would your behavior be on a scale of 1-5?  Are you creating an optimal learning experience for children and bringing the best of who you are to each discipline encounter?  If you need more ideas or information on how to create this type of learning environment check out the Conscious Discipline website  and Facebook page to find out how you can learn a better way.