Is it possible to blend a token economy system and the Circle of Courage? They seem at polar opposites, and yet…consider this. In the Long Pond Classroom, as part of the school-wide token economy system, we pay coins, plastic versions of US money, for participation points as we go along. We try to pay at the end of each class, which allows for two outcomes.
- 1. Students get immediate feedback about the quality of their participation, and
- 2. Students amass lots of change which then needs to be converted into look-alike dollars to spend at the school store.
Generosity comes in because the students have money to give to others when they are moved to do so. It has happened a number of times that a student is short a few dollars for something they have saved for over a period of time, and the other students in the class have all chipped in so that student has the money needed to make the purchase. Individual students have also generously offered other students money to help them buy certain items from the school store. Their generosity comes from a sense of belonging in the Long Pond Classroom and caring about the other students in the class. The students’ generosity stretches beyond the money to the desire to help their classmates, especially wanting to encourage peers experiencing behavioral challenges.
So, we find that a token economy system can be applied addressing the four growth areas in the Circle of Courage: Mastery, Independence, Generosity, and Belonging.
"When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed."