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I recall a lad with Asperger’s Syndrome who was flagged up as being very high tariff. Destinations for him looked bleak. I was dreading having him in my class. He did not engage with any of his previous teachers and although they suspected he was bright, they couldn’t connect with him. Consequently, his behaviour was always high on their agenda. He was violent, unpredictable, argumentative and blunt to the point of rudeness.
After a few false starts I discovered that he had a passion for all things Scooby Doo. I copied and pasted a few clip art images of Scooby and Shaggy onto some worksheets and suddenly he was rushing through work. All correct.
As luck would have it, a children’s comic was offering a tin box in the shape of the mystery machine with little character cards inside. It was like magic. Do 3 tasks, get 1 card on your table. Try to get the full set by the end of the day.
I gradually increased the number, nature and challenge of tasks required before giving him a reward.
Eventually, I gave him no reward at all other than telling him what he had done well and asking him to think about how to improve next time.I am a huge fan of intrinsic reward.
He changed from a frustrated, belligerent individual to a hard working, independent learner. He’s at college now doing very well by all accounts. I still have the card he gave me when he left primary. That and the three foot pen he gave me because he noticed I am always losing pens…