No more rewards

How to reward your students when you don’t believe in rewards

What an inspiring article this is. Going through primary and secondary school as a student, rewards were commonplace in most classes I was a part of.  Pernille says here that children really do not need  extrinsic rewards for learning to happen. It makes sense. Setting up an elaborate classroom rewards scheme can take time and energy, and most likely just gives children the impression that there is no need to learn unless a reward will be offered.

The paragraph that really stuck with me was:

“So in throwing out all of my rewards, I found out about the biggest reward of all; time.  This simple concept that I know we have precious little of in a classroom is a hot commodity to everyone.  Now when my kids deserve recognition (which they do every day) I give them time.  Whether it is to take the time to speak to them about their work, or to write feedback.  Whether it is to give them time to work or just time to speak to one another.  How about time for a sledding party?  Or time for 5 minutes of meditation after that awesome assembly?  How about the time to just be a classroom, to just hang out and celebrate all the amazing things happening in our room, in our school, in our world?”

How awesome is that. Time. Simple. Taking the time to explain to a child why their work is outstanding, or areas they can focus on. Taking the time to explain to the class how attentive they were at assembly and offering them a 5 minute meditation afterwards.

I will definitely be working towards implementing a program in the classroom that uses time as the biggest reward. Getting over that ingrained belief that items like stickers are needed to motivate children to learn won’t be easy – but I am excited to begin to adapt this new learning into practise.

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