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Awarding students for nothing

Students like to be awarded. Who doesn’t? Some of them really try hard for a little sticker, others are so relaxed about it. There are also some who does not care at all. I like awarding students and I think awarding them for their efforts in English makes me awarded, too.

I usually prefer awards which are printable (such as certificates and badges) and I give them for the participation, regular homework, working well or respecting others.

I believe students sometimes need to be awarded for nothing.  Students who can’t do anything properly can never get an award (good reason) and some students focus on everything except the lesson and they need to be motivated. What’s more, there are also some who feels no connection between themselves and the teacher (no sparkle at all).

It was the last day of the last academic term and I was going to give the report cards of the students as the class teacher.

I prepared a certificate for each student referring to the characteristics of him / her. I tried to find the best title describing each student. Some of the titles from the certificates were: ‘the monkey lover’, ‘the fluffy toy lover’, ‘humour’, ‘good manners’ and ‘splendid artwork’. I read the titles without the names of the students and showed the certificates on the power point presentation (and some music at the background) at the same time. Then came calling out their names, giving the report card and posing for a photo.

  1. Of course, we all like to be noticed. This year, when I mark exams, I take notes about who gets full points on different sections of the exam, for example, Listening, Reading, certain task in Use of English. Then I make a list and pin it on bulletin boards in each classroom. This way, even if the overall exam score is not high, students are praised for doing well on one of the skills. I believe that it is important to let them know that I notice what they can rather than just announce the total mark.

  2. Hi Merve, I agree with you in your arguments about giving awards. We cannot expect each students to be successful in pur lesson. We should keep their interests and abilities into account. We can show that we value them with different approaches and the way you address your students in your cards is marvellous, I liked it a lot.

    Elena, I totaly agree with your idea of awarding students who do well in a particular part of the exam. A student can be good at reading but bad at listening. Therefore, we should show them that we are aware of this difference and we value their progress.

  3. I don’t think students should be “awarded for nothing” but I absolutely love your slide show idea to accompany the handing out of the report cards! In my school each teacher is the “advisor” of 12 students. We meet for sharing time each morning and also go to the assemblies, school trips etc together, and one of my responsibilities as advisor is to hand out the report cards to “my” 12 kids. I would love to make that ceremony more special and I will use your tip at the end of the year for sure!

    Thank you & Have a great Saturday!
    :-) CoffeeAddict

  4. Dear Elena,

    This is such a great idea that I can’t wait for the results of the first exam in my school. I will try and see what happens. This way more students will be happy as you said.

    Thank you Elena…

  5. Dear bluering,

    Thank you for your sincere comment. As you said, expecting each to do well is unlikely. While I was announcing the titles of the certificates and then their names, you should have seen the smile on their face and the light in their eyes. This is the best part of being a teacher!

  6. Dear CoffeeAddict,

    I respect your opinion. Actually if a teacher only uses this technique and award his / her students for nothing all the time, I would agree with you. But this idea has occured because of the ones who can never reach the awards.

    I hope your students will enjoy it, too.

    By the way, we also have the advisory system and I liked what yo do every morning. Is there a special time given to the advisor teachers every morning? Where is your meeting point? Do the students come to see you? or Do you go to a specific place to meet them?

    Thank you in advance & have a nice Sunday:)

  7. We spend 20 minutes every morning (before the 1st period) with our “special” students. They come to me. My partner and I are very lucky to have our own grade 8 English room so the students always come to us :-) . It makes life much easier not having to carry stuff around!
    :-) CoffeeAddict

  8. Thanks for replying CoffeeAddict,

    I think it’s a good idea to do it that way because we can’t find time to meet our students. What we do is to talk to them at thebreak times. I might suggest it at my shool. The only problem will be the place for us :(

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