Many teachers use a reward system to motivate their students to do their work. However, does it work? The short answer is, yes, it does.
Students should understand the importance of studying and how the information they learn at school will be useful in the future. However, it does not hurt to have motivators to keep them engaged.
Children especially have a short attention span. Many of them would rather watch a short YouTube video than sit inside a classroom for hours. Here are some of the things that you should know about reward systems in the classroom:
What Reward System to Adopt
One of the most common ways to reward good behavior is to introduce a token system in the classroom. The idea is simple. Whenever a child does something good, they are given a token. You can get a custom token from a coin maker, or you can print and laminate slips of paper.
Whenever they break a rule, a token from their stash is taken back. At the end of the term or school year, they can use the tokens they have collected for a prize.
Instead of tokens, you can also give stickers for outstanding work. Seeing stickers accumulate in their notebook or their space in the bulletin board should be enough to motivate them to do better.
Verbal rewards also work. Acknowledging a child’s good work verbally could motivate them further. Saying what they did right encourages young people to continue their positive behaviors.
Benefits of a Reward System in the Classroom
Having a reward system can help you track the attitudes and behaviors of your students inside the classroom. Those who have fewer tokens or stickers, for example, might need more of your guidance. It encourages and rewards good behavior. It can also serve as a deterrent from misbehaving.
However, some students will benefit from it more than others. If your students, for example, often come to class with incomplete or no homework, a reward system can push them to do their assignments. Students who have no motivation to study and have failing grades might enjoy the friendly competition that comes with the reward system.
It can also help those who refuse to participate in the classroom and has chronic behavior problems.
It is Not about the Reward
The token or sticker is not a bribe for teachers to use to make their students do their bidding. The reward should not be given for doing simple tasks that they are expected to do anyway. If you use it as a bribe, your students are unlikely to behave the way they should next time unless there is a corresponding prize.
There is a fine line between reward and bribe
Moreover, the token or the sticker is only a representation of the excellent work they did in class. It should not be the reason why your students do anything.
That said, do not just give out rewards left and right. Establish a clear goal and standards that your students have to reach or follow to be rewarded.
Classroom reward systems are effective. However, as a teacher, you should also encourage intrinsic curiosity and a genuine love for learning so that, once they are out of the classroom, they will continue to have a good attitude toward school.