The Importance of Positive Reinforcement

From: Pent
Sent: Monday, October 26, 2015 1:21 PM
Subject: The Importance of Positive Reinforcement

Greetings PENT Cadre Members, SELPA Directors, and PENT Supporters,

As I work with school districts around the country, I continue to experience resistance to altering behaviors through positive methods. I know you, too, are experiencing this.

At the next PENT Forum, we will be covering consulting practices to get fidelity, as well as some work that Dr. Clayton Cook and I have published on the relationship of Beliefs to Adoption of Effective Practices, to Student Outcomes. The more supportive the belief, the more staff will adopt effective practices and therefore the greater the student outcomes. A simple idea, with many ramifications. I look forward to sharing our findings about this, as well as the steps we can take to address what we call Barrier Beliefs.

A very simple principle is hard to get in practice: pay attention to rule breaking privately, and rule following privately and publicly. Yet many of our classroom practices feature public censor that attempts to humiliate or chastise children and youth in front of their peers. The side effect of this form of punishment for compliance is fight and flight, or training students to enjoy the attention they get from their peers for misbehavior.

"Children don’t learn from teachers they don’t like,” according to Rita Pierson, in a wonderful video on called “Every kid deserves a champion." It has served me well in trainings. Take a look at it.

Additionally, I am attaching an article that explains why we persist in negative practices and do not adopt the positive more lasting change principles. It has served me well, especially with high school audiences.

My Best,

Diana Browning Wright
PENT Director


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