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Positive Consequences

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Positive Consequences

Although negative consequences should be consistent, there is some evidence that positive consequences are more effective when they are unpredictable. If students are sure of what the reward may be they may find that the joy derived from doing something else (talking when they aren’t supposed to) may be better than the reward they would earn from following the rules (not talking). If they are unsure of when they’ll be rewarded or how big the reward may be, they are more likely to demonstrate the desired behavior(s) consistently because they aren’t able to weigh the options. In psychology it is referred to as a variable ratio schedule and is the reason why people gamble and play the lottery (and golf in my opinion).


  • giving out drawing tickets (particularly effective when the class has the opportunity to earn extra Friday drawings for model whole class behavior)
  • positive praise
  • positive note home
  • positive phone call home
  • student choice (the class gets to vote on how they want to do the guided practice or which lab to do- this only works if all the options will meet the daily learning objectives)
  • chants
  • fun review games
  • classroom jobs
  • field trips
  • earning time to watch an academic-related video (one of my science teachers used this w/ a mythbusters video and his students were really into it)
  • an extra lab or fun academic-related activity
  • extra money in their paychecks
  • class shout outs (either on a poster or at the end of class)
  • fun team building activities
  • music during work time

Written by theonlinepd

March 16, 2008 at 8:54 pm

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