The English Classroom

A HELPFUL GUIDE FOR PRESERVICE AND GRADUATE TEACHERS

The Situation

You want to reward students for positive behaviour and academic improvement.

The Solution

Kids need different types of motivations.

In life, we have intrinsic motivations and extrinsic motivations.

Extrinsic motivations are chocolates and free time. Students will earn something tangible with this motivation.

Intrinsic motivations are when we feel good from doing something, like picking up rubbish or being kind.

We aim to have students do things because it is the right thing to do, but kids are kids and sometimes you have to wave the carrot in front of them to get some movement.

Extrinsic motivations are a valuable tool when the class needs a little kick to get going.

For this reason, having a rewards box is a valuable tool for any teachers to highlight positive behaviour and academic growth.

Positive behaviour can be as small as sitting quietly and working or listening to instructions. Every student is capable of this and you will need to “catch them being good.”

When a student is doing the right thing, highlight this behaviour immediately. “Thank you, Olivia, for sitting quietly.” Let the student know you saw the behaviour. At the end of the class, you can reinforce the behaviour: “Olivia, you can go to recess first for your fantastic listening skills”

Now, Olivia might be the least academic student in the classroom. Highlighting her positive behaviour makes her feel welcome and appreciated despite a subject she might loathe and find challenging.

Academic growth on the other hand is incremental. For some students, they met jump in leaps in bounds, while others fail each and every assessment. It is imperative that you highlight students who make incremental improvements in assessments and general class work. Don’t let their hard work go unnoticed. Even if the improvement is handwriting or spelling. Highlight the improvement with: “wow! Your handwriting has improved from last week.” This is incremental improvement.

A rewards box, like the one below, can be used to highlight positive behaviour and incremental improvement. Simply full a fun little box with chocolates and/or lollies (make sure they’re wrapped). Provide students with a token when they present the accepted behaviour. Students return the token for an item for a reward from the box. Furthermore, you can outline what students can do to earn a reward on the top of the box. This can be focused on improving literacy or focus purely on the pillars of positive behaviour in the classroom or the code of conduct at your school. When providing students with the reward, remember to mention why they’re receiving the item. This reinforces to students the expectations in your classroom and what types of success looks like.

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