Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bait and Switch

I write a lot about radically altering how we interact with children. There is a big difference between working with children and doing things to them. You could choke a horse with the sheer number of reward and punishment based programs that have infected our schools and homes.

Some teachers and parents believe in using rewards or punishments in an attempt to encourage initial interest in something.

While these videos are far from definitive evidence for abolishing behvaiour programs, I think you can appreciate how the manipulated feels toward to the manipulator.

These kids wear their feelings of disgust and disapproval on their faces in plain view. But how many times do kids walk away from interactions with manipulating parents and teachers and never show their true feelings for us?

We can try and tinker with these bait and switch programs; we could fill conferences discussing whether we start with the big red toy truck and wean kids off to the cardboard cut-out or start with the plastic horse and graduate to the real one - but this all misses the point.

I'm not prepared to gamble with the relationships I have with my students or daughter to gain some kind of compliance.

Are you?


  1. I need a concrete example of bait and switch at work in the school because right now I don't know what you're talking about.

  2. @Nadine: If a kid hates reading, some teachers will bribe them with food, prizes or money in an attempt to get them to like reading. The teachers hope might be to ween the kid off the bribery because they would learn to love reading because it was fun. (This tends not to work, but that doesn't stop some adults from trying).

    Some schools have parent-teacher interviews or meet the teacher events, so they bribe kids with goodies to get them to come. Implicitly, this tells the kids and parents that showing up to discuss education is not something you would really want to do unless you could personally gain in some other way. The hope being that perhaps you could withdraw the goodies once the parents and the kids show up to these events and see them as valuable.

    Does this help?

  3. Remember Book-It? A program where students got a pizza if they read a whole bunch of books and wrote it all down? Well, I heard a great quote about that:
    What did Book-It create? A bunch of fat kids who hate to read!
    I think rewards are disrespectful and manipulative. I have more faith in kids than that!


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