Thursday, February 3, 2011

You say "Bribe", I say "Incentive"

Before, I get into my latest incentive program, I want to report that the "everyone in your seats" thing went better than expected today.  The only ones who were tardy, would have been tardy anyway because they walked in the door after the bell rang.  I did hear one "This is so stupid!" but I ignored it.  I'm getting really good at that.  I also collected two cell phones, for a total of five in two days.

Anyway, everyone who was in their seat received a "raffle ticket".  This was suggested by a friend from high school, one of my many wonderful teacher friends who have been so incredibly helpful and supportive.  Basically, this is how I am doing it--students get a raffle ticket (really just a small piece of colored paper) when they are doing something right, when they participate, etc.  Its the same thing I did with the stickers. Raffle prizes work two ways, offering both immediate and delayed gratification.  At the end of class, the person with the most tickets gets a piece of candy. You would be surprised how much kids want one stupid piece of candy.  Then at the end of class, they make sure their names are on the tickets, I collect them in a coffee can and on Fridays, I pick a name for a bigger prize.  Bigger prizes will include candy, a bag of chips, school supplies such as a cool pen or a pack of paper (since they never seem to have either), gift cards, McDonald's gift certificates, or even a pass to drop one tardy (three tardies=referral), for extra credit, or to drop the lowest quiz grade.

As usual, they grumbled when I suggested it and are completely on board now that it has gotten started.  I had a cohort from my licensure classes snootily post on the message board that she expects her students to learn because they want to, not because she's bribing them.  That's one of those things that is great in theory, but has little basis in reality for the majority of the population (especially the population I work with). 

By the way, I made today's picture here!  


  1. For the record, a *bribe* is something given or paid BEFORE a they do what you want them to do (and usually involves something immoral or illegal). A *reward* is something given after a desired behavior to increase the likelihood of that desired behavior recurring. Tell Cohort to suck it. You know, in a nice way.

  2. It's great to have "students learning for the love of learning" as the ideal, but you've got to start the journey at the point where the students are living right now.