They’re more than just feel-good moments, they are moments that can instil a real love for learning, and can propel students forward in terms of confidence and even career choices.
Three Benefits of Celebrating Student Success
- You’ll Motivate Your Learners
When delivered effectively, praise gives your students the drive and motivation to continue doing great work! However, knowing you should give praise and doing it well are two different things. Motivating praise should be:
- Sincere: Be genuine in your praise; anything else can confuse students.
- Specific: Descriptive approval helps reinforce specific behaviour.
- Realistic: Use praise that focuses on behaviours so that the focus is on motivating effort.
2. You’ll Build Their Confidence
Is there anything more affirming than getting told you’re doing well? Celebrating the accomplishments of your students builds their confidence, which helps them grow in all areas of their learning.
3. You’ll Reinforce the Connection Between Effort and Achievement
Generally speaking, students think success is based on either inherent ability, other people, effort or luck. These beliefs play an enormous role in student engagement, yet only one of the four is actually linked to achievement. By rewarding effort, you yield a powerful motivational tool. Emphasising that it’s effort, not luck, good genes or other people that underpins achievement and leads to growth, teaches students the value of hard work and encourages them to put the effort in.
What Does Effective Praise Look Like?
So, we know praise can be impactful but like anything good, you only reap the benefits of celebration when it’s done right.
Effective praise includes the following elements:
- It focuses on the effort put in by the student, not just the achievement.
- It clearly details who is being celebrated and what for.
- It comes with information about performance.
- It is clear, creative and varied.
Three Different Reward Ideas to Try
We know most schools have a Behaviour Policy that outlines rewards for positive behaviour and outlines consequences for unwanted behaviour, but sometimes moving away from the status quo can reap huge rewards in terms of motivation. Our first idea is one that the full school needs to be on board with but could be a once a year or once a term activity; our other two ideas could be undertaken on a class-wide or academic-year-wide basis as they’re much more personal.
- Organise a Special Lunch
Recognising children with a special lunch can really boost morale, especially if they can include others in the treat too. We’d recommend recipients invite two of their friends and an adult of their choice to enjoy dinner at the top table, where they’d be served by teachers and eat from non-plastic crockery. It would really set them apart from their peers and give the other children something to aspire to next time (great motivation)!
2. Send Postcards Home
Receiving post is always exciting as a child, so when it’s combined with a ‘well done’ from a teacher and one of your favourite characters – see our Reward Pack – it’s especially noteworthy. It can be hard for some students to articulate their own successes to their parents, which can make these messages even more impactful. Plus, this can reinforce the link between home and school and improve parental engagement.
3. Spread the Message via Social Media
Being called for a photo call and seeing themselves and their work held up for everyone to admire can be a real source of pride for students which can motivate them and inspire confidence. Remember to tag us (using @EducationCity on Twitter and then you can message us on EducationCity’s Facebook) and we’ll ensure all the teaching community can join in the praise-fest!
Do you have any other suggestions that have worked in practice for you? We’d love to hear them, so do contact us about them on firstname.lastname@example.org. If we like your idea, we may well include a template in a future resource pack so other teachers can benefit too!