Rewarding older students for their achievements is a little more complex than handing out stickers and ticks. At a turbulent time in their lives, they need some positive, concrete indications of acknowledgement to keep them in school and aiming high. So what can secondary schools do to reward these achievements in new ways?
Handing out book tokens for excellence at school has probably been around as long as there have been students, but in today’s electronic world there are new ways to hand out an old idea. Giving e-vouchers for books which can be used on Kindles and other devices means the student can choose their book and use it in the most modern and convenient way. Giving access to world of books on-line can help expand and cultivate specialist interests in a student.
Schools would do well to give out work experience to students who achieve excellence in their field. This may not seem like much of a reward on the surface, but a day or more in the working environment gives students a chance to experience the world they are aiming for. Adapt it to their specialist area – send a chemistry star to a research lab; a computer whizz to a games development studio – and the student will be in Dreamville. They get to see what really happens and the company get to see potential employees for the future.
Work from home
If students achieve the desired, or better, level of excellence, schools can give them the chance to work from home, one day per week, for a month. This will feel like a holiday, make them feel special, and there is a hidden benefit. Allowing the student to work from home tells them they are considered responsible enough to take a day out but still turn in a required amount of work. This work should be carefully balanced to ensure something is learned but still allows the student to have a relaxed day away from the school environment.
Students who achieve tend to be highly motivated and very independent. They also tend not to make demands on teachers in a classroom environment, allowing less able pupils to take the majority of teaching time and attention. This does not mean they do not need help. Offering a student one-to-one time with a tutor in their favoured field is an excellent reward. This should be informal, relaxed and the teacher should allow the student time to express themselves and their concerns or ideas freely. This again confers a degree of trust, confidence and understanding of their maturity.
These are just a few of the simple, effective and economical ways to use school resources to reward excellence in their students.