WEANING CHILDREN OFF
The rewards or "reinforcement" that
we use to recognize and promote appropriate student behavior differ
in the degree to which they promote "inner control". Below,
you will see various common "reinforcers" separated into
10 different levels. Level 10 includes "primary reinforcers"
(food items), the lowest level of reinforcement. Level one items
represent strong internal motivation on the part of the student.
These kids don't need lower level reinforcers (although they are
appreciated when given periodically).
Whenever you are trying to motivate a youngster,
always use the highest level of reinforcement possible (with some
regression at times for certain activities/reasons). Initially,
some youngsters will need food or tangible items to get them to
display appropriate behavior, but we will strive to help them move
to higher levels. We help youngsters to move to higher levels of
reinforcement by presenting the present reinforcers (for example,
special priviledges/level 7) at the same time as one at a higher
level (for example, social recognition/level 6). This "pairing"
of reinforcers helps the higher level one to take on reinforcing
value (due to it's association with the present reward). Lower level
reinforcers are then "faded out" (decreased) as higher
level ones start to work.
Your task: In your groups of two or three (or
by yourself if no one else is around), add more reinforcers to each
category (start at the lowest level of "10" which you
will find to be the easiest, and move up to category "1").
You can find an answer key at the bottom, but try to complete as
much as possible before checking out those options.
Level 1. Challenging oneself for self-evaluation
-evaluating one's own work (strengths and weaknesses)
and identifying ways to improve
-evaluating the work of one's peers on material that s/he believes
s/he has mastered
-designing the master key
-recording personal performance on a graph and setting goals for
Level 2. Deciding how s/he will learn the material
Level 3. The work products effect the look of
-designing and making a bulletin board that shows
what has been learned
-meeting a certain performance level allows the privelidge of making
(e.g., seating arrangement, paper taped over the door window)
Level 4. Student decides upon the conditions
under which s/he works
(as long as s/he is on task)
-students decide when they have learned the material and may stop
at that point (for eval.)
-deciding on the order in which to study different subjects/topics
Level 5. Response Topography
(Students decide how they will display/evidence
-writing their work on the board
-writing in magic marker
-recording their answers on audiotape
Level 6. Social Approval
(working for the recognition and approval of others)
-displaying work on the "Super worker"
-telephone call home to parents/guardians
Level 7. Special Priviledges
(effort/performance earns preferred duties)
Level 8. Contingent Activities
(The "Premack principle"---You must
do the activity you dislike to earn the one you enjoy)
-playing a favorite game
-learning a new magic trick from the teacher
-looking out the window at the construction crews
Level 9. Tangible Rewards
(something that can be held/touched, but is not
-tokens to be used toward prizes
Level 10. Edible Rewards
-peanuts (watch out..lots of kids have allergies
-pieces of chocolate (many people now question the use of "junk
food" in reinforcing youngsters)
-corn chips (see comment for "chocolate", but what if
your student doesn't like "healthy" food?)
** Loosely adapted from: D. Raschke (1981). Designing
reinforcement surveys. Teaching Exceptional Children, December.
(Some reference information was lost).
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This article adapted with permission from www.behavioradvisor.com
and remains under their copyright