When we dangle rewards in kids faces, we encourage them to ask, “What do they want me to do, and what do I _get _for doing it?” And when we threaten them with punishments or consequences, we encourage them to ask, “What do they want me to do, and what happens to me if I don’t do it?” Neither question encourages kids to contemplate life in a way we would like to promote, and neither question has anything to do with creating a collaborative community built on caring.

Nolan’s inability to think about others, combined with his obvious self-interest certainly exemplify a primitive level of moral development… but, if the adults in his life subscribe to an equally primitive kind of character development, how can we come to expect anything more? How can we expect kids like Nolan to progress to a higher level of ethical behavior when our dependence on rewards and punishment is precisely what condemns kids to such primitive self-interest.

Source: for the love of learning: Primitive Moral Development: PBIS

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