Management procedure used in classrooms having difficulties (usually emotional or social).
A prize, or “token” is given to support good behavior.
Tokens are collected by the students, redeemable for prizes with “token” values (e.g. pencils, pens, comic books, etc.)
Meant to be temporary, eventually replacing tokens with praise or other social reinforcement
In the Classroom: Step 1
Introduce children to a list or booklet of possible “prizes” with corresponding price.
Include things such as tangible physical items (pens, pencils) and non-physical prizes such as lunch with the principal or activity of their activity choice for recess.
In the Classroom: Step 2
Create a list of defined “good activities” that result in token reward.
To eliminate bad behavior, create a reward for behaviors that counteract it.
In the Classroom: Step 3
Designate a specific time for redemption of tokens, usually once a week.
Change “good behavior’s” as necessary because some students may become bored or may have learned how to cheat the system.
In the Classroom: Step 4
Begin to slowly eliminate the system, create a greater cost for obtaining tokens.
Replacing tokens with praise.
<The purpose is to obtain good behavior, not to be giving students prizes for doing what they are supposed to>
Can be modified while in use.
Simple / Inexpensive to use
Easy for children to understand
Ensures all students are treated fairly
Reinforces basic math skills
Can seem unfair
Causes students to only do something for reward
Can be expensive (if made that way)
May seem overwhelming if too many rules are implemented
I believe that McCarty from “What Motivates People”, would agree as he states that motivation is not something that you do TO people, it is something you do with people. Creating a “Token System” allows for a collaborative approach to classroom management. Students are more likely to follow the rules because they created the rules.
I believe that Lunetta Williams would disagree with the method though as she speaks to the negativity of utilizing extrinsic motivation. She goes on to state that the use of extrinsic motivators would lead to reduced value of the love of learning and it would reduce the child’s intrinsic motivation.
This example demonstrates the usage of the token system with an autistic child. The “teacher” modified the system to aid in a child who is fixated on letters and spelling. I believe that the key purpose of a token system is the ability to modify it to student needs.
Dillon, L. M. (n.d.). Token system. Retrieved from http://www.appliedbehavioranalysis.com/Token%20System.htm
Lyon, Carla, & Lagarde, Renee. (1997). Tokens for success: using the graduated reinforcement system. Teaching Exceptional Children, 29(6), Retrieved from http://ezproxy.niagara.edu:2719/pqdlink?Ver=1&Exp=10-02-2015&FMT=7&DID=20490488&RQT=309
Piper, Terrence, McKinney, Verlee, & Wick, Theresa. (1972). A token reinforcement procedure in a third grade inner city classroom. Education, 93(2), Retrieved from http://ezproxy.niagara.edu:2709/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=11&hid=104&sid=c1cef754-4476-4cbb-9ee3-b056c914538b%40sessionmgr114