Nothing works like rewards when it comes to children. Studies show that having an effective classroom reward system helps foster positive learning experiences and motivates them to pursue their academic and career goals. Students may lose motivation and feel dejected when they get poor grades. In that case, offering rewards for students may push them to figure out solutions and improve their performance. It also simplifies classroom management for teachers.
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In this blog, we have outlined the importance and advantages of having a classroom reward system. Read the blog to explore how you can implement an effective student reward system.
What Is a Classroom Reward System?
A classroom reward system is a structured, systematic approach to reward students and young children, encouraging them to give their best in all their endeavors. Such incentives and reinforcements encourage students to pay attention to what is being taught in classrooms, participate in discussions, follow classroom norms, complete their assignments and homework on time, etc.
Rewards for students can range from tangible things like prizes, new pencils, and small tokens to bonus marks and points, extra playtime, or having their class on the lawn. Such rewards serve as a source of motivation for them to give their best.
A classroom rewards system helps motivate children to render the best performance, participate more in classroom activities, and comply with school rules. Using school management software to design and maintain the reward system simplifies the whole process.
When teachers identify, acknowledge, and recognize positive classroom behaviors, they are motivated to continue doing the same, and others are motivated to follow their disciplined peers. So this enhances the overall positivity in the classroom.
Even when a student fails to meet the standard expectation, the children may feel motivated to amp up their efforts when rewarded and incentivized accordingly, and this enhances children’s learning outcomes, confidence, and self-esteem.
Advantages of Having a Classroom Reward System
Now that you know what a classroom reward system is let us understand the advantages of having a well-thought-out reward system.
1. Promote Appropriate Behavior
When children are rewarded for positive behaviors, they feel motivated to exhibit more positive behaviors. Doing so helps inculcate good habits and discipline in children.
2. Constant Motivation
Offering rewards for students keeps children motivated. If students score less in exams or are not interested in classroom discussions, rewards may motivate them to put in the effort and achieve better results.
3. Boosts Academic Performance
When students are offered rewards and their efforts are acknowledged, they are motivated to invest more time and effort into learning. Doing so enhances their academic performance and grades.
4. Boosts Confidence and Self-esteem
When you celebrate the success and achievement of students by having a classroom reward system, you appreciate the hard work they invest in. When you do so, children feel more confident and happy, improving their self-esteem.
5. Complete Assignments on Time
A study conducted by the National Association of School Psychologists shows that offering rewards motivates students to complete their assignments and homework exercises on time.
6. Happy Classrooms
The effectiveness of rewards vs. punishments has remained controversial. Studies show that rewards are a more effective way of pushing children to exhibit appropriate behavior and develop learning skills. When children are rewarded, they feel positive, heard, and acknowledged, eventually offering a positive classroom experience.
Interesting read: Digital Education Tips for Students to Polish Their Skills
Why Is It Important To Have a Class Point System?
As human beings, we always look for motivation. Growing up, we learn to derive motivation and validation from within. Yet, there are times we seek motivation from external sources, say, a bonus or promotion at the end of a year motivates employees to invest in their fullest potential.
But it is difficult for kids and young children to self-motivate themselves, and they seek external validation. So, having a class point system or an effective classroom reward system instills a sense of motivation in children. They tend to invest consistent effort with a motive to achieve better outcomes.
Here’s why you must have a classroom reward system.
1. Better Academic Outcomes
When you reward children with outstanding academic records, they tend to put in consistent effort. So, this eventually improves their overall academic performance.
2. Teachers Can Focus More on Academics
Bringing children into a disciplined routine and imparting good habits to them is challenging for teachers. With a classroom reward system, teachers do not have to lose their energy in disciplining them or introducing behaviors and standards. Now, they can shed their focus and effort toward delivering higher performance and academic outcomes.
3. Happy Parents
Parents feel happy when children are rewarded at school. It serves as a measure of their child’s performance. When their wards are rewarded, they feel happy about it. In case their child’s performance is below the required standards, it is easy for parents to identify and motivate their child to do better.
Interesting read: Formative vs. Summative Assessments: Differences & Examples
When Should You Consider Implementing a Classroom Reward System?
You should consider implementing a classroom reward system when you experience one or many of the following circumstances.
- Lower participation in class
- Poor academic performance
- Incomplete assignments and homework
- Struggling to focus and concentrate
- Handle children with behavioral problems
- Lack of coordination and team effort
- Lack of motivation among students
- Handle children with special needs
A classroom reward system helps weed out many of the above struggles and challenges. Following are some of the payoffs of having an effective reward system.
1. Helps Students With Special Needs
A reward system is extremely beneficial for children with special needs. For instance, children with ADHD struggle to garner focus and remain seated in classrooms. When rewarded for doing something well, children feel motivated to do more good things. Similarly, children with autism understand what they should expect from the classroom setting.
2. Encourage Positive Behavior
When you reward children who demonstrate better behavior, other students feel motivated to replicate the same, eventually leading to a positive classroom environment. It must be noted that rewards have been more effective than punishments in containing bad behaviors.
3. Academic Improvement
Rewarding children who acquire higher grades encourages them to put in consistent effort and maintain performance. Those who perform less will also feel motivated to score better and acquire rewards and incentives.
For example, if you promise incentives and rewards for getting an ‘A’ grade, a child getting a ‘C’ or ‘B’ may be motivated to get an ‘A’ and may start focusing more on their studies.
4. Happier Students
Students who are punished in classrooms do not enjoy a positive learning experience and feel reluctant to attend school. Parents also feel happy and warm about sending their children to school. Also, as rewards help set classroom behavioral and performance standards, students are motivated to follow them independently. As they are self-motivated, a reward system for students helps reduce the negative phone calls they receive, so they feel happy about the school.
Interesting read: What is Outcome-Based Education (OBE) vs. Traditional Education System?
Setting Up a Classroom Reward System
Generally, there are different classroom reward systems. Choosing an effective system depends on the purpose and goal of the process. The general steps schools and teachers follow to set up a classroom reward system are below.
1. Choose Your System
There are different types of rewards, and some of the common ones are as follows.
2. Classroom Point System
This system rewards the whole class for demonstrating a higher performance standard in academics and extracurriculars. For instance, when two or three sections are in Grade 1, a section displaying good behavior is rewarded. The system could be extended to appreciate students’ participation in community-related events, athletics, or academics.
3. Verbal Praise
Verbal praise is the common classroom reward system teachers follow. In this system, teachers offer verbal appreciation when students demonstrate positive behavior. Good verbal praise is very specific, so students understand what they are being rewarded for.
4. Table Points
Here, the students in the classroom are assessed based on tables, teams, or groups. Or in other words, a table or group competes with another.
5. Token Based-systems
In token-based systems, the goals are set at the individual level, and the students are rewarded with tokens, stickers, points, smileys, etc., for achieving the goals.
So, you must choose a system that will work for your classroom setting. Some teachers use a combination of the three methods, class points, table points, and token-based systems, so students can be assessed for their performance and teamwork.
6. Set Goals
Setting goals is the next step in designing a classroom reward system. You should decide what you expect students to achieve. You should prepare a chart of good behavior so they understand what is expected from them.
For example, instead of telling them not to talk during class hours, you can put “Silent and focused” as the goal. Do not put too many rules and standards for children, as it may create confusion.
7. Decide on Rewards
Always focus on creating simple rewards for students in the classroom, as creating a complicated reward system may drain your energy, and you might not be able to shed consistent focus on maintaining the same. So, keep them simple and choose viable ones.
Some examples include
- Reward stars or cards that offer extra play time, computer time, etc.
- No homework for a day
- Lunchtime with their favorite teacher
- Pencils, candies, smileys, etc. that they can take home
- No shoes for a day
- Verbal praise
Deploying classroom management software helps build and manage the reward system. Such a fun classroom management tool encourages students to follow good behaviors and discard inappropriate ones.
The classroom management apps have features and functionalities that help track rewards. You can immediately update the system whenever a student displays positive behavior, like helping a classmate. Similarly, when they display negative behaviors like being rude to a classmate, you can still add it to the system and reduce their points.
You can extend this to groups, tables, and entire classes. You may pick and reward the tables or groups that have higher points. You should consider offering them 20 minutes of sports time every Friday. You can do this at the individual level as well as at the team level.
Make sure that you lower the classroom rewards as you move ahead so students don’t get used to the habit of seeking external validation all the time. They should also learn to seek motivation from themselves as they mature and evolve.
Examples of Reward Systems in the Classroom
As explained in the earlier sections, there are different reward systems for students; you must choose one that goes well with your goals and classroom setting.
Here are some of the reward systems you should check.
1. Seat Swapping
Here, students with the highest point on the reward board can swap their seats. Students can choose who they would want to swap with. Naturally, most students would choose their best friends, which could be a source of motivation for students.
2. Offer Smileys and Stickers
Children love smileys and stickers. You can pick students or groups that reach a particular target or goal and allow them to pick a smiley from the store. Doing so excites the kid, and they tend to perform better.
3. Homework Pass
Nothing burdens children like homework and assignments. You can pick students who reach their goals and offer them a day off from doing their homework. Students feel motivated to reach their goals and take a day off.
4. Erasers and Pencils
Students love creatively designed erasers and pencils. You may offer erasers and pencils to children who score well on the class tests or exhibit good behaviors.
5. A Spin of the Prize Wheel
A spin of the prize wheel distributes prizes and tokens by probability. You must pick top performers and let them run the wheel. You can look for templates to fill the classroom rewards and customize them to your needs.
6. Desk Pets
Desk pets are a relatively new concept. You can set up an adoption center in your school and let top-performing kids pick a pet of their choice. You can also fix points for each pet and reward children who have earned points for their academic performance and good behavior.
Reward tags help recognize positive behavior instantly. Students earn tags for classroom participation, good behavior, following rules and regulations, academic progress, etc. These tags are usually added to the student’s necklace, and they can wear their necklaces on Fridays of every week.
8. A Home Note
Usually, notes are sent to parents whenever a student gets into a problem or exhibits troublesome behavior. Schools flip this habit, and instead of sending negative notes, teachers can send positive notes about the child’s behaviors and performance at school.
9. Use the Teacher’s Chair
The biggest dream of any student is to become a teacher. You can pick students who have outperformed in academics and extracurriculars and reward them with the experience of using the teacher’s chair for a day. Students feel proud of their achievements and tend to invest consistent effort into performing better.
10. Mystery Class Reward
Mystery rewards are one of the popular whole-class rewards systems where you spell the first letter of the reward on a sheet and let the students pick the letters. You may include rewards like a movie, ice cream, bring a toy, bubbles, etc.
Interesting read: Gamification in Education: Definition, Benefits & How Can You Use It?
The classroom reward system offers several benefits, from helping students enhance their academic performance to motivating them to follow good behaviors. Maintaining and updating the reward system could be difficult by manual means. The best is to use school management software as it offers far more benefits of simplifying end-end school operations.
For better outcomes, you must personalize the aspects of the reward system based on your classroom goals and requirements. You must be clear about the expectations from students and invest some time in explaining them. Offer many classroom rewards initially and withdraw some of them with time so children can start looking for validation from themselves.
You must follow the given steps to design appropriate rewards for your students.
- Choose the system you want to follow- individual, group, or classroom level.
- Set your goal, whether academic performance or following the rules.
- Decide on the exact reward.
- Communicate the same with your students.
Using a combination of tangible and intangible rewards is best, as researchers and behavioral psychologists argue against overusing tangible rewards. When you offer more tangible rewards, children learn to see motivation from external forces, while supplementing it with intangible rewards helps them derive motivation from within themselves.
Every child is unique, and so are their interests. Not all of them may be interested or motivated by the same reward. So if some students do not respond well to the reward system, figure out their actual interests and include them in the list of your rewards.
Supriya is a highly skilled content writer with over 8 years of experience in the SaaS domain. She believes in curating engaging, informative, and SEO-friendly content to simplify highly technical concepts. With an expansive portfolio of long-format blogs, newsletters, whitepapers, and case studies, Supriya is dedicated to staying in touch with emerging SaaS trends to produce relevant and reliable content.