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School REWARD systems?

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by teachtronic, May 20, 2019.

  1. teachtronic

    teachtronic New commenter

    Hello everyone,

    Myself and another colleague have been tasked with looking at and improving our current pupil reward system as it clearly doesn't seem fit for purpose (have a positive impact on behaviour). #

    The context of the school:
    mixed co-ed community school, 1200 pupils on roll, very diverse ethnically, located in greater Manchester.

    Now clearly poor behaviour could be due to number of factors that as a school we are dealing with but one key aspect we are keen is to revamp is the school reward system as it doesn't seem something pupils are too bothered about. Over the last 10 years we have tried numerous approaches for e.g.
    - merit certificates = money shopping vouchers/ money off end of school excursions
    - vivo points = online points = small gifts
    - achievement points using sims to allocate and track = vouchers/ gifts / money off school prom for year 11's
    not to mention the other host of initiatives such as behaviour cars and uniform cards etc

    The issue we have is, some staff don't allocate many (common factors include forgetfulness or lack of time), some staff go OTT (some pupils are showered with them or the naughty pupils get a disproportionate amount for not being naughty). The results are then that majority of pupils seem disinterested or see them as pointless. I would really love to know if any school has the system worked out and has an effective strategy for making pupils value school reward systems and at the same time a system staff buy into effectively.

    i look forward to your views. Cheers!
  2. TheNaturalScientist

    TheNaturalScientist New commenter

    Hi. I can't offer you a specific solution as every school is different, however I can offer some advice. If you haven't already done so, I suggest you form a working party of students. Sensitively managed meetings, allowing the pupil voice to be clearly heard can be a very successful strategy. Ask them to discuss the current 'rewards' system in your school and to suggest an alternative that would be positively embraced by the school community. It may even be beneficial, indeed desirable, for members of the working party to canvas opinion amongst their peer group. It is crucial to ensure the working party includes the widest possible range of characters (not just the well disciplined), as well as representatives from different year groups. Offering this sort of responsibility to pupil will give any initiative you do eventually implement a greater chance of gaining credibility, especially if talk of this responsibility has percolated in advance throughout the school community; a bottom up rather than top down approach. I would even suggest that the initiative be announced at a school assembly by some of your senior students. Furthermore, if you can manage to get a 'lovable rogue' or a student who is genuinely well respected by the student body to endorse the initiative and to participate in the announcement, then even better. Theoretically, you could apply this sort of strategy to any range of issues in your school.

    Good luck!
  3. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Think this had been covered substantially in former threads ? Try a TES related search and you may find the reading / opinions / experiences useful.

    Suspect there is no one system to advocate. Not worked in a school that has cracked it . Funding can be a massive issue. What appeals to one student as a reward does not appeal to another . Can be used as bribes / appeasement / abused / misused ?
  4. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Oh yes and I don’t think it should ( just )be about behaviour ? Intrinsic v extrinsic motivation ? Celebrating effort / improvement/ achievement / contribution to school life ...,
  5. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    If you're going to have teacher-awarded credits, I think you need to make sure teachers know what the expected rate of awarding them should be. Sometimes I think they just don't realise that they are giving more/fewer than others. If you know that you should be giving out an average of n per lesson taught, it's easier.

    I used to find that I needed something less than "a merit", so I used to award stars, and five stars got exchanged for a merit. That meant I could give a star for completing an individual task, without giving too many merits. That can be worth suggesting to those who give too many.
    strawbs likes this.
  6. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    .... and presumably the merit was appreciated and valued by the students ? I don’t think this thread is necessarily about that though ?
  7. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Ahhh, I am with the others on the use of extrinsic rewards. I’d rather there was better use of metacogntion and intrinsic rewards. But hey ho, here we go. The psychology says loss aversion is three times more powerful than rewards. If you award everyone some minor rewards and then to keep them they would have to avoid levels of demerits that would be most motivational.
    The key thing is that demerits should only be awarded for things that any child of any LD or background could justifiably do of their own free will.
    Now morally, you might not like it. But that’s how some of the free schools and academies work.
    If you want rewards then the reward itself is usually quite immaterial so long as what they get them for is achievable in the same quantity by any child regardless of home circumstance, LD and background. E.g. not for work. You would then use gamification to make it more interesting. Boss levels etc.
  8. rideemcowboy

    rideemcowboy Occasional commenter

    Mables in a jar - when the class jar is full the class gets to choose from a selection of class celebrations. Promotes a team approach and supportive culture where at least the extrinsic reward is shared.
    snitzelvonkrumm likes this.
  9. teachtronic

    teachtronic New commenter

    this could really work well in a primary class setting, but struggling to see it work practically in a secondary school as both teachers and pupils will have multiple rooms and classes.
    rideemcowboy likes this.

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