Never-- and I mean NEVER
-- underestimate the power of a sticker.No, that's not a typo.
I meant to write "sticker". And by sticker, I do not mean "a pointy-ended object with which to poke at things". The sticker to which I refer could more aptly be described as "cute, colorful, sticky-paper praise".
In general education classrooms, stickers have been employed for many, many (we're talking since-the-dark-ages-when-I-was-in-Kindergarten many)
years as one of the ways teachers indicate a job well done to their students. I used to love
getting a sticker on my paper when I was in school (even in high school)
, because I knew before I even saw my grade
that I'd done well.
When you take those same little sticky-backed disks of paper and hand them to a special education teacher
, and they are instantly
imbued with magical qualities. Scoff all you like, but it's true! Stickers, quite often, are the currency of special education. Stickers provide for students that need to practice better behaviors a couple of things. One-- they provide students with a visual tally of the times they exhibited good
behavior, which becomes a reminder that they ARE capable to doing what they need to do to be successful. Two-- the stickers (when enough have been collected)
can be traded in for any number of desirable things that reward hard work-- extra time at a favorite activity, a trip to a prize box, a special treat, quiet time, or whatever rings the bell of the kid needing motivation. The stickers are currency
, and when the price (or prize, as it may be) is right, kids will work hard to earn them.