Schools behaviour chief wants to tear up gold stars

The Sunday Times is reporting that the government’s behaviour Tsar Tom Bennett has warned that rewarding children with stickers and gold stars could be counter-productive.

Bennett is quoted by the paper: 

“I don’t use sticker charts because I prefer to teach children that learning is intrinsically valuable, not valuable because of extrinsic gain. Rewards like this should be used cautiously, otherwise children learn that good behaviour always leads to a reward. What happens when the rewards run out or no longer satisfy?”

It goes on to outline research in America that has expressed doubt over the value of gold star charts on behaviour, suggesting any impact is only temporary, and quoting “parenting expert” Alfie Kohn as suggesting it is “bribery.”

Bennett goes on to say:

“They’re best used for younger children, for short periods of time in order to maximise incentivisation, and can be very time-consuming… If teachers find this system is strangling their teaching, then it should be jettisoned.”

The report speculates that in Bennett’s upcoming report on training teachers to maintain discipline, he is expected to suggest that applying rules consistently, with sanctions for breaking them, is the preferred approach.

More at: Schools behaviour chief wants to tear up gold stars (subscription may be required)

 

What do you say – are gold star stickers and charts a worthwhile approach or, as Tom Bennett and Alfie Kohn suggest, are they fundamentally flawed when it comes to creating long-term change for the better?

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Comments

  1. StephenMcChrystal

    I’ll tell you what, I’ll give my children whatever rewards I see fit in the circumstances because it’s my classroom, I’ve got the experience of a confident teacher and I should be trusted to get on with the beautiful art of teaching.

  2. Nairb1

    ‘… he is expected to suggest that applying rules consistently, with sanctions for breaking them, is the preferred approach.’
    I hope teachers haven’t read this this morning before school. They’ll be unable to teach as these words of wisdom from on high sink in and their approach to behaviour is revolutionised. Apply rules and sanctions consistently … who’d have thought it. Thank goodness for the stunning insights of Mr. Bennett.

  3. TW

    “I prefer to teach children that learning is intrinsically valuable, not valuable because of extrinsic gain”

    Doesn’t stop him taking money from a government that uses league tables, Ofsted, and threats of privatisation (aka academisation) to teach children and staff that learning is only valuable because of extrinsic gains.

  4. Nairb1

    I’ve just been reading Bennet’s pronouncements since he was appointed. I’m not sure what he is being paid but I’m going to contact Morgan and say I’m happy to take on the job of ‘Platitudes and Stating the Obvious Tsar’ for half his salary.

  5. wasateacher

    It is true that gold stars given willy nilly for mediocre work can be counter productive.  But all children need praise when they do something exceptional and teachers are the best people to decide how they do that in their own classroom. In the school I worked in we has a system of commendations.  The students didn’t value those which were given by certain staff for trivial things.  However, they did value those which were given for something really worthwhile.

  6. @TW Gove said if something couldn’t be externally assessed then it was just ‘play’.  So much for ‘intrinsic’ value.  http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2012/11/if-it-cant-be-externally-assessed-its-play-goves-message-to-teachers

  7. ballater6

    BridgetBurke2 SchoolsImprove hard when you’re only 5 and just love getting a sticker for something you’ve said or done #lets get real

  8. thatboycanteach

    ballater6 BridgetBurke2 SchoolsImprove my daughters do love a sticker though. Depends if they work to get 1 or get 1 cos they worked.

  9. GeoffJames42

    SchoolsImprove hard to believe when punishment is advocated for children who make mistakes with their behaviour – extrinsic purity

  10. annanolani

    SchoolsImprove stickers can work well for many children to initially encourage a behaviour b4 joy of intrinsic motivation kicks in…

  11. ballater6

    thatboycanteach BridgetBurke2 SchoolsImprove IMO does it matter-5 YO will work then get stickersure it won’t have lasting detrimental dam

  12. BridgetBurke2

    ballater6 SchoolsImprove absolutely, children live in the moment rewards help sustain behaviour overtime, they are also FUN U0001f602

  13. BridgetBurke2

    ballater6 thatboycanteach SchoolsImprove me too, don’t treat children like adults that evolves overtime

  14. ballater6

    BridgetBurke2 SchoolsImprove yep fun is the thing that some are forgetting -children love it when learning is fun and rewarding

  15. colin_lever

    SchoolsImprove they are divisive. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose. Not healthy in the classroom

  16. bell111_a

    BridgetBurke2 SchoolsImprove Hardly rocket science, Bridget – rules, consistently applied? That’ll be our behaviour policy then?

  17. bell111_a

    BridgetBurke2 SchoolsImprove Hardly rocket science, Bridget – rules, consistently applied? That’ll be our behaviour policy then?

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