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Using rewards and sanctions in the

classroom: pupils’ perceptions of their

own responses to current behaviour
management strategies
Ruth Payne

The use of systems of rewards and sanctions within behaviour policies has
now been adopted formally in UK schools. Such systems potentially represent
competing theoretical ideas when considered alongside current approaches to
teaching and learning. There is also opportunity for inconsistent use of
rewards and sanctions resulting from the absence of a distinction between
incentives and punishments and again between pupils’ task-based work and
their social behaviour. This case study comprises one of three questionnaire
surveys completed by UK secondary school pupils in Year 7 and Year 11. The
findings show a complex range of pupil responses to different behaviour
management strategies, as well as highlighting changes in pupil responses
across the age groups. Some sanctions for classroom behaviour are also
found to lead pupils to stay quiet, potentially affecting their ability to engage in
all learning activities. Sanctions such as asking pupils to miss break, or giving
detentions, are seen to be counter-productive in encouraging pupils to work
hard in class. Some rewards, such as the giving of “stamps” work well in
relation to how much pupils like the teacher, but they are not found to promote
hard work in older pupils. The incentive of the school reward trip is universally
effective, as is contact with home. These findings offer insight into the ways in
which pupils respond to rewards and sanctions and therefore contribute to our
understanding of how such systems might best be used.
The potential of behaviour management
strategies to support learners with
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
in the classroom
Learners with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
traditionally display disruptive and other associated negative
behaviour in the classroom setting. This is due to the
inattention, hyperactivity, lack of social skills and high levels of
oppositional behaviour that these learners often struggle with.
To change the classroom atmosphere and enhance the
learning environment necessitates knowledge on the side of the
teacher to support these learners in the classroom setting. The
aim of the research was imbedded in the research question
underpinning this investigation: Could learners with ADHD be
supported in the classroom setting using behaviour
management strategies to address inattentiveness,
hyperactivity, poor social skills and oppositional behaviour?
Four hypotheses were stated and tested with regard to the
influence of behaviour management strategies on these
manifestations of learners with ADHD. The statistically
significant results of the intervention, which incorporated
behavioural management, cognitive-behavioural modification
and educational interventions, clearly reduced distractibility and
hyperactivity and improved social skills. Statistically significant
improvement did not occur in the area of opposition. It can be
concluded that behaviour management strategies have
potential to decrease the typical behaviour of learners with
ADHD in the classroom setting and that knowledge of
behaviour management strategies may benefit teaching.
Self‐reported and actual use of proactive
and reactive classroom management
strategies and their relationship with
teacher stress and student behaviour
This study investigated the relationship between primary
school teachers’ self‐reported and actual use of
classroom management strategies, and examined how
the use of proactive and reactive strategies is related to
teacher stress and student behaviour. The total sample
consisted of 97 teachers from primary schools within
Melbourne. Teachers completed four questionnaires
which gathered information on demographics, disruptive
student behaviour, teacher management strategies, and
teacher self‐reported stress. In addition, 20 of the 97
teachers were observed in their classrooms while
teaching, with teacher behaviour management
strategies and student on‐task behaviour recorded.
Observation and questionnaire data were then matched.
The findings indicated that teacher self‐reports
accurately reflect actual practice, that relatively minor
forms of student misbehaviours are a common concern
for teachers, and that teachers are spending a
considerable amount of time on behaviour management
issues. The findings also revealed that the use of
predominantly reactive management strategies has a
significant relationship with elevated teacher stress and
decreased student on‐task behaviour. These findings
have important implications for teaching practices and
student learning.
Keywords: behaviour management, problem
behaviour, teaching efficacy, primary