We are all looking for positive outcomes in everything we do, adult and child. What is important to realise is that there are adult and child traits in all of us, whether we are big or small people. Positive outcomes make us feel good, get us positive attention and let ourselves and others know that life is good.
Is this always the case? No, not always
Guess what, sometimes being good and positive gets the opposite - lack of attention, consequent lack of feel-good factor and the message that we are small in many ways. This can give us a feeling that good is bad and that perhaps bad is good!
Watching others get attention in different ways - some not positive, can sway even the best behaved student to try the "Dark side" of negative behaviours. It often seems a temptation too good to miss - "Let's give it a try" can be the classroom battle cry.
People will then start to reminisce "What happened to Jordan, he wasn't like this last year?"
So, it is vital to the success of any programme, that there is a strong ethos of positive reinforcement on a regular and evenly distributed basis. It is also important to note that reward isn't just given for high level performance, but also for improvement compared to the context for a particular student.
This could be given for standard of work, attitude, behaviour, social skills, helpfulness, cheerfulness, attendance, effort despite poor progress, teamwork and a whole range of other skillsets we should wish to engender in our students.