Meaningful, Specific Rewards

Academic excellence award Meaningful Specific Rewards

Many of you will know by now that I intensely dislike the way my daughter’s school uses rewards. However, one teacher has changed some of my views in one simple act. She gave out a truly meaningful reward.

It was a certificate, the exact same certificate that my daughter has had several times. It came signed by the head teacher, as they all do with this type of certificate. However, this time there was one very slight difference… the text on the certificate.

Rather than the usual generic “This award was given for extra effort”, or “This award has been given for being good at spelling”, this one was totally specific to my daughter and the struggles she has had with dyscalculia. Read More ...

4 Ways Extrinsic rewards bit me in the ass

Not long ago I wrote about my daughters school and their usage of certificates to incentivise reading. The idea is that if a child reads a certain amount each half term, they can get a bronze, silver or gold certificate.

As you may remember, I have spent a lot of time trying to encourage my daughter to read. I thought I had cracked it after long gamified engagement. Little did I know, that in the background the school was undoing all my (and my wife’s) hard work.

Olivia has consistently got Gold awards for her reading, we have ensured that every school night for the entire school year she has read. Two weeks ago, she missed two days. This did not seem like that big a deal, two days in an entire year should not mean much in the long run. Read More ...

Getting rewards right. Recognise, don’t Bribe.

One of the things that my daughters school like to do is give certificates to students for various achievements. Below are two that she has had over the last few months. Which one do you think she was happiest to get?

If you guessed the Gold award for reading 25 times or more in a term – you were wrong. She has half a dozen of them on the wall. The Bronze award for a “brilliant and inspiring” science experiment had her far more excited than all of the Gold awards put together.

I have mentioned our struggles to get my eldest to bond with reading and to be honest, even though she now does it quite happily, it really is not something she enjoys much. The thing is, she knows that it is something good to do and for the most part is OK with reading every night. That makes the Gold award pretty much guaranteed without having to put any abnormal effort in. Read More ...

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