One of the great “Should I? Shouldn’t I?”s of teaching is whether to give out prizes or not.
Personally I tend not to. Although passports can be a great idea for long term classes.
But if you do give out prizes, then something you might want to consider is the addiction element of *randomness*.
With our pretty simple evolved monkey brains, then if a reward is regular we pretty much tune it out. iPad update every year? Blah! A choco every time for full marks on a test? Blah!
But …. if we introduce a sense of randomness then all of a sudden, just like magic, we start paying attention.
It’s the reason you are addicted to Facebook and email. You know there’s probably nothing there. But then again there might just be! So you keep checking. And checking. And checking.
I’ll leave the moral aspect of whether it’s fair to use this technique up for discussion, but if you do decide to go for prizes them try not to have a regular trigger for giving them out. Keep the kids on their toes.
Will they get a prize this time? Yes? No? Oh, maybe next time, let’s just be good one more time and see. Keep them sparse but good and you’ll be amazed at how positive habit forming it can be, and how addictive it can become!
(Evil note: this is how chain schools keep their students. Students are kept in the dark as to when they’ll be “put up a level,” but magically just as they are thinking about leaving, oh they get into the next class! Needless to say, don’t do this in your school!)
And of course for bad behaviour, we want the opposite, we want the kids to lose interest in doing bad stuff, so always keep the rules really strict and regular. We want those to be enforced like a robot, so that the kids lose the sense of challenge and just give up!
But for the good behaviour, keep in a bit of randomness.
What do you think, comments in the comments please!
P.S. New game coming for you soon. Not sure when, but soon. Maybe. 😉