Rewarding good behaviour in the classroom
In classrooms it is often the case that students' poor behaviour is recognised and rewarded with instant attention. This can fuel said behaviour and even encourage it because students who display poor behaviour repeatedly are often met with lower expectations to do well from their teachers, a reputation for being 'naughty' and often also admired for this 'naughty' badge from peers. This can serve as a form of recognition for students who, for different reasons, are acting up in class. Those students who are working quietly and diligently are often overpowered by this type of behaviour and the great work these students do can go unnoticed. 

Rewarding good behaviour in the classroom 

While it is important to get to the root cause of any repeatedly disruptive behaviour in class, many studies show that punishment has a very limited effect in stopping undesirable behaviours. In fact, focusing on and encouraging good behaviour in the classroom is one of the most effective ways to promote a positive learning environment and achieve the desired results. 
There is also a firm link between external rewards and better grades! Humans need motivation in order to perform. Sometimes that motivation is intrinsic, in other words we do a certain activity such as reading because we have a desire from within to do it and because we genuinely enjoy it. Other times our motivation needs to be external, for instance allowing ourselves a treat after doing an arduous task such as cleaning the house. The same principal can be applied to students' learning. Not only do external rewards in the classroom contribute towards better grades, they also help encourage better behaviour. 
One study describes awards in education as a 'central component' of habit formation (Wood and Neal 2016 p.173). Rewarding specific behaviours rather than general achievement also seems to lead to better and more sustained positive habits being formed. As such, rewarding a student for a positive behaviour such as completing homework on time leads to better results than offering a reward for exam results. 
There are many different strategies and reward systems teaching staff use in the classroom. These range from verbal or written praise, classroom points, stars or coupons that can be traded for a prize, allowing students to be dismissed from class early, allowing students 'free choice' of a class activity for a set amount of time and awards such as 'star of the week' which can be announced to the class or in assembly. 
At Marvellous Minds we believe in focusing on and rewarding good behaviour in the classroom. Students collect stamps for positive behaviour such as helping others in class, showing enthusiasm, contributing in class discussions and handing in homework on time. Stamps can be traded for a prize from our prize cabinet for the younger students. Older students can trade in their stamps for vouchers for popular shops and cinemas. At Marvellous Minds we also award 'star of the week' to a student each week and their name goes up on the board in reception for everyone to see. 
These are just some of the methods we use to make our learning environment positive and encourage students to do well in class. We would love to hear what you think about awards in the classroom? Are you pro awards for students or do you think awards shouldn't have a place in the classroom? 
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Tagged as: Creativity, Education
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