Rewards

I just remembered seeing this clip in EPS 300 last year and I like it for two reasons: a) I think “The Office” is an amazing tv series and b) I can relate it very well to an experience in my Internship.

I will focus on my second point 🙂 This fall, I took on a French 9 class as the class that I would teach throughout the semester. Since it was their first time in the High School, my co-op didn’t really know what to expect from them. Very quickly she found out that they were the most unique class that she had seen in her 15 years of teaching experience. These 18 students thrived on rewards. But these were not rewards that I would have expected from teenagers (who were for the majority all males). They wanted stickers whenever they did something “good” that was worth a reward. So I went out and got a bunch of stickers with encouraging French messages on them, and they were so eager to get as many as they could. They thought they deserved one if they were the first one done their assignment, if they were the last one done, if they wiped off the white boards, if they were quiet for five minutes (that was my favorite one), and the list went on and on…..

I’ve heard both sides of the debate of giving students rewards or incentives. I found that with my experience with those particular students, that that was what kept them working hard and having a higher level of participation in my classes. In this case, I think that it was a harmless reward that didn’t have negative side effects. Would I put so much emphasis in other classes? Probably not, but it depends on the students at hand. If I run out of stickers, I could always start giving out “Schrute Bucks”!

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Comments on: "Rewards" (2)

  1. I bet you had fun collecting cool stickers.

    My first years of teaching, I was a core French teacher. I learned VERY quickly “whatever works, use it.” The most drastic: I had a grade 8 class my first year of teaching that only responded to copying each lesson of an extremely old French text 10 times each. They would actually do it (it was a low stress predictable and ultimately doable activity) and it got all of us through the year.

  2. Kristin said:

    The Office is an amazing show! It’s interesting to hear that your students were so excited about getting stickers.

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