Most experts feel that PBIS changes school discipline for the better. They like its focus on prevention and clear behavior expectations.
But some experts worry about the use of rewards, like tokens and prizes, for meeting behavior expectations. The concern is that rewarding kids for good behavior makes them focus on getting the reward, not on the behavior. This may increase a student’s external, not internal, motivation.
Schoolwide reward systems can also exclude students with behavior challenges. If a student who struggles never gets a reward or gets fewer than others, it can feel like punishment. This can discourage kids who are trying their best to behave, but who have unique challenges.
In response to concerns, advocates of PBIS have asked schools not to overuse rewards. They also point out that token rewards are just one tool schools can use. Kids shouldn’t be bribed to behave. Schools are also working on how to recognize students who still struggle but are improving.
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