15 March 2011

The STARS system of behaviour support

Friends, please allow me to apologize for my lengthy absence from our internet meeting place, the BlazeBlog. I have been on a semester-long sabbatical from my educational think-tank, Edu-tastic, working on a new way to revolutionize education in America.

I know that many of you are familiar with my attempts to return American education to the roots that made it great, so few years ago. I believe, as I have stated in places such as this publication, that students must be held accountable; both in behaviour and in academic endeavours. In fact, I have gone so far as to introduce the Octagon Of Punishment. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the OOP, I encourage you to peruse the linked post. It is a simple system, that when combined with the STFU method of student discipline, I genuinely believe will revolutionize education.

However, some prominent educational philosophers, as well as scientists from the Federal Government's Air and Space exploration program, private sector workers and public school teachers, have approached me, and have accurately pointed out that there is room in education for positive reactions to students. They argue, rightfully, that no matter how much I wish it wasn't so, students live in a society which rewards them for everything. This culture is what the OOP rebels against, but we must also recognize the reality of the situation. Therefore, in an attempt to counteract other programs, such as Positive Behaviour Support; which I feel is often an excuse to stop disciplining students, and instead reward them with trinkets, I have created a new system to help the progressive educator balance the need for rewarding good behaviour with the stated goal of moderating the effects of the "constant rewards for mere acceptability" society.

The cadre of professional educators and members of the business community with whom I developed this program spent long hours of discussion on the merits of our system. We evaluated, asked for feedback from other teachers, and revised our plan. It is with this knowledge of the hard work and time that went into the development of this program that I am proud to reveal to you, for the first time ever, the Student-Teacher Appropriate Reward System (STARS) of student rewards:

I will undoubtedly write more on the implementation of the STARS system in a later post for this publication; for now, I'm going to make several important points about the STARS system.

1. Please note that the system does not provide you with specific rewards. Instead, it attempts to categorize the different types of rewards. We have divided these rewards into two categories, Tangible and Philosophical. We believe that students should receive rewards on both sides of the star, culminating at the top where they are treated as adults, which is both a tangible and philosophical reward. 

2. Also, note that the star is not intended to be shared with students. It's shape, borrowed from centuries of Masonic tradition, should remind teachers that the STARS system must remain secret from students. Use it as a guide for how you reward students. If you publish it for student consumption, you move all rewards into the "transactional" category, because students will stop acting intrinsically, and begin to act to receive certain rewards, which is the problem the system attempts to alleviate.

3. As I mentioned, the STARS system is still in a beta phase, which means I will be happy to hear your suggestions in the comment section of this webpage.

Thank you for your continued support, and I look forward to sharing the specifics of the STARS system with you.

I remain,
Richard Johncock, pHd.


  1. In theory Stars are great, they light the universe and provide the warmth and haven for of life as we understand it, but, and its a big but. In reality stars can burn and usually need a moderating lens like sunglasses. Perhaps if you introduce lanyards, choco chip cookies (a healthy substitute to chocolate), and cuts in lunch line you would be on to somthing that is meaningful and friendly to todays teens.

    I am interested on you professional opinion.

    Dr. Porter Stout

  2. Dr. Stout,

    I am delighted to make your acquaintance sir. I am, as always, looking for valuable feedback such as yours.

    I agree that today's young person has been ruined by a society which gives them too many trinkets. Indeed, sir, that is what the STARS system is designed to combat. Nevertheless, I hope that you will contact me further so that we may discuss a LENS corollary to the STARS system.

    I eagerly await your reply,
    Dr. Johncock.