From Extrinsic to Intrinsic Motivation: Lower Elementary Changes their Views on Discipline


Discoverer Staff photo

K5 students making use of their old discipline system.

Candelaria Arango, Discoverer Staff Writer

Home room TCS elementary teachers are trying to implement positive discipline in their classroom instead of negative and positive points.

Since the beginning of the 2019 school year elementary teachers mostly in first grade are trying to remove the negative and positive behavioral points so that students can improve without any material reward.

“I think this system can help the kids because it is a motivation to make good choices when they are not getting motivated with external reasons or rewards,” Erin Beyer, K5 Teacher, said.

Teachers are trying to implement this system so students can learn to have intrinsic motivation by themselves because they do not work for points but for improving and doing things right. 

“The goal is that the kids don’t work for points but for doing the right thing because it will benefit themselves for their lives not for winning something,” Veronica Angel, K5F  Teacher, said. 

The lower elementary teachers are implementing positive discipline through lowering their voices when they talk, playing music in normal day to day activities and the student that best completes the task is recognized. When teachers need to solve a discipline problem instead of using a point system they make the students reflect on what they did wrong and learn about the situation. 

“Students actually learn from their mistakes with this system because we help them to do a reflection about what happened so they can recognize what they did wrong and not do it again so they actually learn,” Angel said.

Teachers believe the point system is too strict for the kids so they use “logical consequences”, if there is a problem between kids they solve it by talking about what happened and acknowledging what they did wrong as well as having time to reflect on the situation.

“Positive discipline is a very good thing we are implementing in school. Kids do reflect what they did wrong and improve without any material motivation,”  Andrea Zuluaga, K5A Teacher, said. 

This system can help kids grow with better morals and learn how to use the Character Counts values of respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, caring, citizenship, and trustworthiness.

“Positive discipline is a system that benefits students for their futures and their morals, ” Zuluaga said.

This system is the future goal of discipline at the school. Lower elementary is going to keep up with this system and this will be expanded for the whole school.

“The reflection of why they did things and learn this was not correct is the most important thing kids can learn and that age,” Zuluaga said.