“There’s another secret to this approach not immediately evident,” he said. “It greatly impacts you, the teacher.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“Well,” he said. “With your current system, your mind is focused on catching and punishing poor behavior. But, with the earning-good-points mindset, you’re looking to catch good behavior that you can award. When you’re constantly catching them doing something good it changes your mindset and the whole atmosphere. Relationships with the students will change almost overnight. “
Not quite convinced yet she asked, “But…what if there’s still some bad behavior!”
“Well, it’s good to give them a chance saying, ‘Johnny! Is this behavior good, so I can award and give you a point for it?’ That will be challenging for him, but the power of self-preservation kicks in to save his self-pride and earn good points. Then, when you’re sure he’s turned, give him a good behavior point for correcting himself. Try it for a week and let me know what happens!”
Two weeks later Maria connected with Dr. Pearson. Applying ‘Self-Preservation Motivation’ for an extra week revolutionized her own attitude and class behavior. The students were now trying hard to earn good points, and beamed with pride every time she caught them doing something good. At the end of the week, she gave special awards according to their number of good points (like lunch with the teacher or principal). She also exclaimed, “We are now able to meet and exceed learning goals!”
Even at home, kids love to see their name on a board. Make sure the points are limited but meaningful when awarded. You know your kids, so choose rewards accordingly. Remember however that money awards mean far less than time with you. They need ‘you’.
Dr. John Gray, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venice, says that husbands and wives both award positive and negative points unconsciously. Even though a name on a scoreboard is a bad idea in this case, noticing good and expressing appreciation is an excellent idea.
He says that men need to understand women reward only one point for a big or little thing when done with love. So, it’s far better to do many little things than to do one big, expensive thing. For example, two roses (representing you and her), for six days before her birthday, is far better than giving a dozen roses once.
Dr. Gray shares that women need to realize, men also unconsciously award both positive and negative points. It’s emotionally painful for a man to ‘feel’ like they disappointed the lady they love. If she shares her appreciation and respect for effort and insightfulness, the man will go to the moon and back to do it again. The key is to share with respect and appreciation for what you like; you’ll get more of it. When it’s something you don’t like, try hard to say nothing at all. Silence is thundering…and motivating.
Self-Preservation is a powerful motivator of behavior. It can change our kids’ attitude and habits in the classroom and at home, and it can change the mindset of our marriage relationship. It takes effort and follow-through, but it sure can bring great rewards.
One more surprise: Try it on yourself and watch what happens.
Steve Davis, Ed.S. is an adjunct professor at Trinity International University and writes about personal development and education. He can be reached at [email protected].