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Rewarding students

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by aporter86, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. aporter86

    aporter86 New commenter

    With a focus on science - but other input very welcome.

    How do you reward students in the following settings / hierarchy?:
    Lesson by lesson
    Half term

    Is there a measurable improvement in attainment or behaviour or attitude to study?

    Ideas outside of a whole school thing like merits / positive e-behaves / vivos or what have you.

    Does a star of the week really work or is it just forgotten after a month or two?
    Does a certificate have an impact or is it just found in the bin as it is embarrassing?
    Is a big end of year trip to the science museum with the top 30 worth it?
    We've seen some website selling plastic test tubes filled with jelly beans - worth the money? some studies say feeding students is the worst form of reward.

    I look forward to your responses :)
  2. Bensusan

    Bensusan New commenter

    Always feel uncomfortable with this. You are already providing them with education, which is valuable. By giving rewards, what you are saying, effectively, is "I know you don't really value this service I am providing for you, so here's something you might value more".
    If we can crack the problem of children not valuing education, then rewards will not be needed.
    just IMO.
    Kartoshka likes this.
  3. aporter86

    aporter86 New commenter

    Agreed - however it's my mandate to look into this currently. Suppose the reward was for Above and Beyond rather than expected bare minimum - in the working world you might expect a bonus or a pat on the back for this.
  4. Bensusan

    Bensusan New commenter

    If they have gone beyond the minimum, then they are getting the reward of the opportunity to develop their skills/knowledge beyond the average pupil. If they are competing with other pupils for qualifications to get them into their chosen career, then this surely is a good reward?
  5. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Does teaching count as 'the working world'? I wonder how many deserving teachers get bonuses, or even pats on the head.

    I am also not keen on official systems. They run into problems of inconsistency between teachers and identifying the deserving. Too often, rewards go to a badly behaved child who manages to behave well for a change rather than a quiet child who always behaves and does their best but does not stand out from the crowd. Pats on the head can be given quietly by teachers in feedback and little conversations without an official system. If you have to have a system, try to make sure that it does not create the problems mentioned above. Good luck!
  6. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    I have never worked in a school which has ' cracked ' the reward system yet. This is because it has been overly complicated, abused or not relevant / pertinent to the individual or sustainable ( funding / enthusiasm / interest ). Canvass the students and consider what may appeal to the different Key Stages and what is affordable . You mention Science but I think for anything to work and be of value it needs to be whole school. From memory our children loved stickers / stamps in their exercise books ( glow in the dark stars ! ) and being sent to the HOF for some small token - pen , rubber, for exceptional work / effort - that said hardly rocket science and just decent departmental practice. Our children loved ( good ) phone calls home because inevitably contact with home meant trouble. We ran a whole school certificate thing too to ' reward ' individuals for different types of achievement and attainment.
  7. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    I've not solved the rewards things yet. But this is what I do...
    Sincere praise for exceeding expectations. Praise for meeting expectations consistently if they're a student who is hit and miss with meeting expectations (note- I hate the 'naughty child gets praised for doing the tiniest thing' approach).
    When students do something amazing, I contact their tutor, head of house or parents to personally say how pleased it am.
    No trinkets, no vouchers etc. We're here to teach and I think some reward systems amount to bribabry e.g do your work and then you can have a day out of school on a reward trip. What does that tell them about the importance of school and education?
  8. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    I tell them they have done well. Sometimes I even smile.
    purplecarrot likes this.
  9. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    Not this, but a mid-year trip open to all who have displayed a good attitude to learning over the first part of the year. Those who have messed around stay behind to catch up on the schoolwork they have missed. This should then be followed up by an end of year trip/visitor, again open to all who have displayed a good attitude to learning over the second part of the year. Some students who miss out the first time might care enough to buck their ideas up during the second part of the year, so as not to miss out a second time. And it rewards all those who try, regardless of attainment - which is surely what we should be rewarding.
  10. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    The best teacher I ever had told us what he wanted and if he didn't get it we got a bad mark. Oh how we strived to get a good mark from him, because it really meant something. I was genuinely over the moon the first time he gave me 16/20 for an essay. I really hate the idea of bribing/rewarding children to work hard, for all the reasons outlined above.
  11. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I have asked students what type of rewards they value most and it seems that postcards home is a favourite. It the pleasure that parents and children can share together of a job well done and then if the parents/carers deem fit then they can give a further reward/treat.

    Always avoid sweets.

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