I have a new FIT BIT. It essentially monitors my steps, vibrates when I reach 10,000 steps and has made me (In 1 week) walk up stairs instead of escalators, walk twice as far as usual and doggedly walk and walk till I feel that magic vibration on my wrist.
I have been running workshops for teachers and children in Singapore all week, so not so hard to get to 10, 000 steps but I return to Perth today and already planning how I will factor in daily exercise.
The point is, this purchase WORKS because it gave me a vibration on my wrist every night with a congratulations message as well as a MARATHON badge. Anyone who knows my sporting and exercise record would know there is not a lot to speak of but ONE WEEK has changed things. Of course it will now be up to me as to whether I will make lasting changes to my lifestyle and hopefully I will.
If we take that as a successful strategy for behaviour change and apply it to children, some very clear points emerge.
Many people say we should not give external rewards. “Rubbish” I reply to that.
Children LOVE stickers, badges, certificates, the occasional sweet treat and would definitely do their homework if some enterprising person invented a HOMEWORK FIT BIT or read more if they had a READING FIT BIT!
Children want to be recognised and thanked for their hard work. In order to change behaviour we must go back to the Skinner model and make sure we have a sufficient supply of “carrots!”
Once the behaviour is changed, the number of carrots can be slightly lessened but never taken away completely.
Would you work for no salary?
I am all for the charts of behaviour, reading books read, stars for good behaviour and achievement and effort certificates. They work!
I care about kids greatly. They are my life’s work and if a few cheap stickers and certificates can change their lives for the better I am on the front of the queue to buy!
Long live the FIT BIT and may someone invent one to motivate kids!