Day 133 (of 183) the value and context of trust
Had one of our education assistants talk to me about a failed experiment. Our Wolf Pack (small group social-emotional/behavioural grouping) was working on “sitting nicely” – with periodic/random rewards for those who sat nicely.
Here’s where it went wrong: the students who were working hard and sitting got a treat. The couple others quickly re-focused and adjusted their body. But the “time” for the reward was past…but there would be another one coming up soon! As you might expect, that didn’t matter – he did what was wanted (after the fact) and wanted his reward.
Here’s where the context matters: we likened this experiment to the marshmallow test – a famous experiment on self control (yes I’ve mentioned this in a recent blog): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX_oy9614HQ&app=desktop that upon reflection, might need more contextual awareness. In fact, I just read an article on just that – trust and relationships matter…. a lot! And upon my reflection with my own student experience and some of the schools I’ve worked in – I don’t know if I/they would’ve trusted that a second marshmallow was coming….and if in a group, I definitely would not have trusted that the others would’ve left my marshmallow alone. The context was that what we had was more important than what “might” come later. And even though there may be disappointment that we could have doubled our treats….one is better than none.
There’s a reason why there’s a saying that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush….
If there is no trust….how do you build it? Obviously it takes time….but is the context more important than we may think….because it’s not always what we say – but what is not said that matters. Reading between the lines is tricky – sure there is inference that is a very valuable skill but sometimes that inference goes in different directions (intention is not as relevant as interpretation….)
building off the “failure ” (also known as learning through doing) we are wondering: what if we pre-reward actions. Give the reward and re-state that “we know you’ll put the books away (or whatever the expectation is) when you’re read” and use that to help build up the relationship bank knowing that we will have to make some withdrawals over time. Better knowing the context of the individual, it’s maybe not so much that he (they) don’t have self-control…but that they know better than to exert it because it never works out to their benefit.
When doing self-regulation exercises…mindset matters, but I think context matters even more than I previously thought.