More About Incentives

Kannon Hand

So, again, more apologies for anyone who follows me!! Things got busy, I got behind, then we had vacation, but now I am back! Promise!!

Last time I wrote, I was talking about incentives. We use the dogs for a few incentives throughout the day and week. One that we added a few weeks ago has been very successful. We had a student who was able but not willing to complete math during math class. We set up with his teacher that he would get a check for each successful twenty minute block and had to get three checks for the hour of math. The math would be reduced into three smaller portions we felt he would be willing to do. So far, it has been very successful and works most days!!

This is the same student who was not willing to eat his lunch last year. We set up that, if he ate some of his lunch (the amount was mutually negotiated daily), he would get to do dog training with Kannon every day at 12:30. After that? No problem eating his lunch!! and he became one of Kannon’s main trainers that year.

Because of this success, we decided to add this incentive for another student in a younger grade. Most of the time, the children younger than grade five don’t get regular exposure to the dogs- mainly because the dogs are housed in grades five and six- so we were hoping this would be quite a carrot for this student. He has some parameters around what acceptable behavior is within his class and, if he earns enough checks for positive behavior, he gets to come and train with Kannon three times per cycle.  He has also been very successful so far!

Now I have heard a lot of folks kind of express that children should just do what is asked of them. Again, I say, we don’t always want to do the right behaviors, or the work set in front of us, or a particular task so I really don’t know why we expect that children will, simply because we want them to! Sometimes there has to be an extra perk to getting things done. As we grow up, we get better at providing these for ourselves but we do have to learn how to create and use internal motivators AND we do still have a world full of external motivators!!!

These two students operate on somewhat more delayed gratification than the student I spoke about in the last post. He gets immediate gratification because his reward happens right after he does the desired start up tasks. In this post, the first student does have math right before lunch so he only has to delay his gratification through lunch time, which is a good amount of time for him as a bigger delay may not work well with him. For the younger student, he only gets the reward every other day but he does get a different reward on the opposite days. He also has to delay gratification but for a little longer than the first student. Again, the reward has to be close enough for him to feel like he can get there!

Thanks for either sticking with me or coming back to me!!!


About ehhigginbotham

I am a special education/resource teacher in PEI's English Language School Board. I play flyball with Fast n FURious Flyball. I am a member of the PEI Ground Search and Rescue Team. I have a wide range of interests and like to keep busy- can you tell????
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