You can’t do without a system of rewards in the classroom or virtual classroom. In order to keep the atmosphere in your class healthy and competitive, to celebrate students’ success, and reward them for their efforts, you need to come up with the rewards system that is best suited for your class and specialization.
Rewards, praise, and incentives can be powerful tools for motivating your students. In this article, let’s look at what kinds of incentives students receive and why it’s important to implement them in every classroom.
Why is it important to encourage students during the educational process?
First, you show that you see the students’ efforts and appreciate them. There is nothing worse in terms of education when a student doesn’t see a point in studying. However, being seen, appreciated and valued for their work is a really strong motivation for students. It is as relevant as ever and a personalized approach in studying and communication with students can instigate a greater interest and motivation for students to love your subject. In addition, if you add a personal touch in choosing your awards, you’ll be forever remembered in the hearts of your students.
Praise and small signs of recognition motivate students to put in more effort and conquer new heights. In case if students overcame difficulties or have finally mastered a topic that seemed to be impossible at first, this kind of attention to one’s work will not only help them with their self-esteem but will also be a reminder for the future that they can accomplish anything.
Secondly, the rewards system can be adjusted and applied through the whole studying course. For example, you can make up a whole marathon for the semester, using the right system of motivation (https://degree.lamar.edu/articles/education/what-motivates-students-to-learn/) and gamification. This way you will immediately set a vector for your classes, visualize goals, and get students in the mood for work. Gamification is believed to be one of the best motivational techniques to make students reach studying goals.
How to add rewards and gamification elements to your learning plan:
One of the best examples of a reward system that can be implemented anywhere and is actually easy to introduce even at work is based on badges and has been recently created by the well-known PMIEF. They have developed a system of digital badges that praises a student when the project or a part of the project is finished. However, it applies only to project management skills like risk assessment, critical thinking, time management, project integration skills, etc. If a student gets those badges it means that all those skills are certified and backed by PMIEF. These digital badges can be cool for teachers as well.
Types of personal rewards:
● Stickers – colorful, amazing pack of stickers. It will be great if they are personalized or adapted to the topic that you are currently covering.
● Sweets – but only for the healthy type of sweets. It works great with younger students.
● An unusual card from the teacher for the best work in class. You can consider simply personalized cards to highlight student’s achievements, but not to make others jealous. For example: for outstanding work in class, for the most brilliant idea, for the best soundtrack for presentation, for the creative approach, for being first, for accuracy, etc.
● Exemption from homework. If it is possible and if it aligns with your teaching style and regulations – then why not.
● The right to choose a topic for the next period. It means that a student gets to write an essay about their own interests, instead of the current topic for the whole class. Still, the essay should be well-written, address the topic fully, and be concise.
● Award points on a quiz. We mean something like “+5 points to Gryffindor” or any other type of points students can later trade for better marks, fewer activities, or a digital badge.
● Key to one answer on the exam. As a reward, you can provide an additional point for the wrong answer during the test.
● Word discount on your essay. Experts from Pro-papers say that sometimes students tend to get too wordy or vague with their statements in an essay because of the word amount. Making a discount on the total number of words required will be a great bonus and might make the essay sound even more natural. It’s a win-win situation.
● The right to do only half of your homework. It works especially great if they get to choose the homework. You can say that the quality and saturation with information in the short version of homework should not be worse than the longread one.
● “Cat in the Bag” – you can make a bag with small rewards and prizes like stationery and other nice things and each student gets something, however, who gets to choose from more options wins.
Types of group rewards for students:
● One time to postpone the deadline for the whole group.
● A lesson outdoors.
● A trip to an interesting place in the city (quest, movie, science museum, workshop, rope park, skate park) instead of the class.
● Exemption from homework for 1 day for the whole group.
● Ability to watch the video with cats during the last 10 minutes of the lecture.
● A lesson without materials, improvised lesson with teacher’s Q&A.
These are just a few of the rewards you can use in your lessons. Some may say that students get spoiled that way but granted the right introduction and organization it will only spur and instill love to the subject in your students.