What can Ms. Rollison do to increase the chances that her students will behave appropriately in class?
Page 10: Positive Consequences
After a student follows a rule or procedure, his or her teacher can provide a positive consequence. A positive consequence, often referred to as reinforcement, is a means by which teachers can increase the probability that a behavior will occur in the future. Positive consequences should be:
- Something the student considers pleasant or rewarding
- Appropriate to the classroom environment
- Easily and quickly administered or awarded
Positive consequences reinforce desired behavior. Although the ultimate goal is for students to regulate their own behavior by responding to intrinsic motivators (e.g., feeling proud), initially teachers might need to deliver more concrete reinforcers to encourage appropriate behavior. By delivering tangible, social, or activity reinforcers, teachers help students learn how to control their own behavior. The table below presents some common examples of each of these types of reinforcers.
|reinforcers that the student can see, touch, or hold||reinforcers that involve interpersonal interactions||reinforcers that involve the student engaging in
a desired activity
Although teachers should use a range of methods to deliver positive consequences, one commonly used method is a token economy. In this method, students earn tokens or points for appropriate behavior, which they can exchange for a tangible item, the opportunity to interact with others, or a special activity. Listen as Lauren Acevedo discusses how she uses a token system in her classroom (time: 0:50).
The manner in which a teacher delivers a consequence is important. For example, a positive consequence provided by a frowning, rushed teacher may not have the same effect as a consequence delivered by a smiling teacher who takes the time to explain to the student what he or she did correctly. Furthermore, teachers should never underestimate the power of positive consequences when trying to prevent unwanted behaviors or encourage desired behaviors. Listen as Lori Jackman explains the importance of delivering positive consequences (time: 1:04).
Lori Jackman, EdD
Assistant Professor of Special Education