Rewarding Learning – Create Positive Attitudes Towards Assessment
We all know that assessment is crucial to children’s education. It allows teachers to gauge student retention and helps schools to understand how students are performing. But beyond that, there is another aspect to assessment that impacts students significantly: encouragement, praise, and reward.
Now, that’s not to say that students enjoy assessments, or find them inherently encouraging. But the sense of achievement which comes from positive affirmation of their achievements can have a significant impact on their future learning.
This is a simple psychological principle that has been long understood. Behaviours are more likely to happen again when followed by positive consequences. If a student has studied hard and is therefore rewarded by a good grade and appropriate praise, they are more likely to repeat this in the future.
You might be thinking ‘well, that’s all well and good for my high achievers, but what about those who don’t often get good grades?’ It’s a good point- but it’s not just about exclusively rewarding academic achievement, it’s about rewarding the effort, and the attempt.
For some students, simply completing a task is a monumental achievement that deserves recognition. That’s why it’s important not to restrict praise only to achievements you deem exceptional- and that goes for your high achievers, too.
Nobody likes being told ‘no’, or ‘that’s wrong’ over and over again. It can have a corrosive effect on self-esteem, and stop you from trying at all. That’s true for adults and children alike, but when it comes to students’ education, we need to be doing everything we can to keep them trying. We all learn from failure- but what we don’t want children learning, is to be fearful of failure. Be sure to reward children for their sincere attempts, even if the results aren’t the best.
You know that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you receive a gift? And the even fuzzier feeling you get when you give a gift? Well, being able to reward students with something as simple as praise gives you the same feeling. Giving and receiving praise does wonders for the mental health of both you and the child, and fundamentally, the happier your relationship is, the more you’ll be able to get out of your pupils.
Encourage good behaviour
This might seem like an obvious one, but praise and reward can have a big impact on children’s behaviour. It’s not about incentivising good behaviours by literally rewarding them when they do something good (although that works, too). Rather it’s about recognising that when students feel like they’re being successful, they’re less likely to play out in other ways, making for a more manageable classroom.
Rewards usually come in two forms: material or social
Social rewards are as simple as affection, praise, or the reward of attention. A high five, or simply telling a child they’ve done a good job in a meaningful way (i.e. ‘Sam, you put a lot of effort into that homework, well done!’ = specific to the child, illustrating their success, and offering praise), can work well.
However, when we talk about material rewards, you may instinctively think of things like toys or sweets. Of course, there are usually not suitable in the classroom (and not very budget-friendly). However, material rewards like certificates or stickers work just as well, and turn a child’s achievement into something tangible.
At Empiribox, we understand that like it or not assessment is a fundamental part of every childs school education, that’s why we’ve integrated an assessment function into our online science platform. As children explore and learn science with our interactive videos, practical experiments, printable resources and pop quizzes, upon completion they will receive a celebratory certificate (that they can print or send straight to their teacher) designed to keep them engaged and motivate as they learn and progress.