Caught you … being goodThe folks at Cloquet’s Washington Elementary School recently started a new movement: “Caught you being good.”
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
The folks at Cloquet’s Washington Elementary School recently started a new movement: “Caught you being good.”
“We noticed violations go up in the last trimester, pretty much every year,” Principal Randy Thudin explained, noting that the promise of his running the mile in a dress wasn’t enough incentive last year to keep the misbehaviors in check. “We wanted to focus more on the positive [behaviors] this year.”
It’s an idea that doesn’t have to be limited to children under age 11. Every business, parent or organization could do the same – in fact, many do. But probably not enough.
We’re not recommending reinforcement of expected behaviors. Kids shouldn’t get special rewards for simply completing their homework – although a gold star wouldn’t be amiss – nor should adult employees get a pat on the back for simply making it in to work. Most damaging is the insidious “insincere positive reinforcement,” in which someone tells you something is good because they can’t be bothered to explain how it could be better.
At Washington, teachers and others are rewarding uncommonly good or kind behaviors.
When they see something – for example, the kid who helped a younger student pick up the contents of her backpack when it spilled in the entryway last week – the helpful student gets a certificate noting his or her name and the reason for the award. Students who are “caught” get their names on a bulletin board in the school. The names are also entered into a weekly prize drawing.
Thus, in the spirit of “we caught you being good,” rather than gripe about the mother and ’tween-age child who scooped up dozens of eggs during the Cloquet Easter Egg hunt, we’d like to applaud the dozens of children who shared their eggs with the less fortunate.
It was nice to see. And hopefully those generous children experienced how good it feels to do something nice for another person, certificate or not.
Anyone out there got someone they want to highlight for doing something uncommonly kind or good?
Write it up for our Facebook page, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop by the office at 122 Avenue C, Cloquet. Let’s start our own movement.