A Rewards System can be one of the most beneficial ways for schools or educational centers to alter and improve the behavior of their students. Students can learn what behavior is appropriate through positive reinforcement and conditioning.
If you’re worked in a few different schools you’ve probably had the chance to encounter a wide variety of cultures, students, and teachers. Most schools have the same goals – to create mindful, intellectual, and responsible students. However, no two schools are the same! The beauty in variation lies in the culture of the schools, the dynamic of students, and the personalities and knowledge that comes with the staff.
Creating an effective Rewards System starts with two questions:
- What behavior do you want to change? Think about what you want to reward your students for. Are there certain behaviors that you want to eliminate? Are there certain behaviors that you want to increase?
- What kind of rewards will influence your students? Finding out what your students want the most will therefore help you motivate them to succeed. As a result, students will be more willing to change their behavior.
At Canada Royal Arts High School, our group of teachers sat down together to generate ideas about having our own Rewards System. Read below to find out how to create your own Rewards System at your school!
How to Create a Rewards System at your School:
What behaviors do you want to increase?
Think of things in terms of positive reinforcement. If you want to reduce the amount of inappropriate phone use (texting during lessons or playing games) in your classroom, then you need to start rewarding students when they use their phone appropriately (during break times or for research purposes).
At our school, the two biggest issues we decided to tackle was: inappropriate phone use and lack of English speaking during class. Therefore, in order to decrease those behaviors, we have to increase the positive reinforcement we give to students when they do the opposite – AKA using their phones during appropriate times and speaking English in class. Consequently, rewards are given to students who do those things well.
Main Point: Choose 2-3 behaviors that you want to change. Start small, and make sure you reward students when they do what you want. Let them know when their behavior is inappropriate. Also, sure to reward them when they do what is appropriate.
What will you be rewarding your students with?
Finding out what your students want is crucial to keep them motivated in order to change their behavior. If you know your students well and the culture of your school, you can figure out what to reward them with. The students at our school are very academically inclined. Most of the students have a heavy academic curriculum which includes after school tutoring and graduation planning support.
We realized that rewarding students with field trips wouldn’t be ideal, since they must all agree on the same thing (and that is very difficult!). Due to this reason, our school has started to reward students with incentives they can use in class and each other. Some examples of rewards we came up with include: 1 late excused, a pizza lunch for you and two friends, or a homework extension.
Note: Do not reward your students with monetary incentives. Rewarding students with money will teach them that they should behave appropriately if they are getting paid.
How to Create a Simple System for your Rewards:
Simple is best!
Create a simple set of rules that all students and teachers can follow. The simple set of rules that we have created is as follows:
1) Teachers give 1 ticket/student/class if students either Speak English Only or Use Phone Appropriately.
2) Students use the Ballot System. They keep one ticket, and place the other one in the ballot box.
3) Three students are chosen at random at the end of the week.
4) Students rewards are kept track in a binder. Whenever a student wins, they can choose one reward from the rewards list for them to use.
5) Students are only allowed to choose each reward once.
Create a fun environment!
Make rewards day fun and exciting for the students. Have everyone gather in a room and watch the rewards being called out.
Everyone has a chance.
Teachers try to make sure that each student is rewarded for at least something each week. As a result, you will notice that even students who may not be receiving the most rewards in the beginning will still have something to be motivated by.