My parents seldom use physical punishment in our family. I remembered only one time of being whipped by my father because I misbehaved. Scolding is what they usually do when we misbehave. When we get into fight, we are scolded even if we are not the ones who started the fight so we opt to not telling our parents about it. When it comes to reinforcing behaviors, I cannot remember a time when we were given something because we behaved or because we are good. I remember studying on my own because my parents didn’t go to school. I don’t remember them giving me incentives and they seldom say good words to me for getting good grades sometimes. (I don’t blame them though because I believe that it maybe because they have experience it from their parents. I remember a story that during their time, their parents would prefer for them to go to the field and work than go to school to study. I am grateful that they have sent me to school). My motivation to study at that time was that I was the first one in our family to go to High School and then finish College. My two older brothers (I’m the third) didn’t finish elementary and preferred to start working early in their adolescent years. As a result of not having encouragements such as rewards, I grew up not competitive. My goal was to finish college so I can have a good job after graduating. Good grades were not a big deal. I do believe that being competitive in school sometimes is good because it motivates you to do your best to excel and get good grades. I thought that maybe if reinforcements were used during my childhood then I would have developed a competitive attitude.
Students are first trained at home. Home is where children’s behavior is molded. It is where behaviors are first reinforced and modified. A child would behave in school as he is at home. When a child is not trained at home to be polite, share and behave, he/ she will carry this in school. It is important then that parents and teachers will work hand and hand together to regulate behaviors. Using behaviorist theories to modify and regulate a child’s behavior is helpful to train them to have a better behavior.
During my first year of teaching, I often use punishments to make my students behave inside the classroom. I didn’t like noisy students, I just want them to sit down, behave and listen to me which are difficult because they are kids. Kids’ span of attention is very short. What I did was to reinvent myself in teaching. I observed and asked other teachers how to teach children. Through observation and asking, I was able to make the lessons enjoyable for the students. I don’t have to shout at them to make them listen to me. I also used rewards to make them attentive. One of the observations also that I’ve seen was a teacher telling the children what behavior she wants to see when parents will come to school and watch activities. Usually the students would cry if parents are around. When the teacher talked to the students to behave well when their parents are around, and that they will get a reward for behaving well, the students did what the teacher told them. It’s there that I realized that we don’t need to scare the students for them to behave. We can talk to them and tell them what we want to see. And it is indeed true that rewards work better than punishments.