Rewarding Learner Participation :
Effective ways to support learner actions with well-timed, encouraging positives. All teaching moves learners into areas of risk and incompetence. So often the job of a teacher is to find nascent deftness when it is easier to notice the maladroit. The methods chosen to administer those positives, however, send messages about what is important to achieve. Are learners supposed to work toward external approval...... or their own intrinsic betterment? Are grades the true reward......... or are learners supposed to learn to enjoy the quest itself? Teachers answer these questions through the manner in which they support improvement. The best rewards are not contrived, foster personal reflection and independence, and actually work, that is, learners maintain new abilities or do better. Effective teachers support emerging initiative, cooperation and perseverance with well-timed positives in these forms:
• Avoid Praise: Praise, the expression of judgment, is less successful in rewarding learner performance than the techniques listed below. It tends to foster approval seeking rather than independence.
» 'I like how complete this is.' (Implies pleasing me is important)
» 'Good question.' (Implies some other learner's questions are not good)
» 'That's a great welding job.' (Implies a learner should seek the teacher's approval versus 'a correct weld,' which is feedback, not praise)
• Description: Describe objectively those aspects of learner performance needing support. To avoid making a personal evaluation, state a culturally accepted conclusion a group of dispassionate observers would concede:
» 'You have addressed each item.'
» 'That question is probably shared by many here today.'
» 'That weld is just like the book.'
• Narration: Detail the action a learner takes immediately as it occurs. Narrations usually begin with 'You ......'
» 'You're raising an issue that needs discussion.'
» 'You're obviously trying to fit the pieces together.'
» 'You remembered the first step.'
• Self-Talk: Talk about your own thoughts or prior personal experience.
» 'I have wondered that, too.'
» 'Questions like that have always intrigued me.'
» 'It took me four months to achieve a weld like that one.'
• Nonverbal: Communicate your recognition through body language and facial expressions.
» Smile broadly.
» Thumbs up.
» Move to convey excitement and enjoyment.
• Personal Feelings: Describe your emotional reactions as a participant learner, a member of the group, expressing deep, genuine, personal feeling.
» 'What a joy for me to listen to this discussion!'
» 'I am amazed by what you have done.'
» 'I wish I could wave a magic wand to make everyone do that well.'
• Intrinsically-Phrased Reward Statements: Positive expressions about emerging learner performance and achievement highlight internal feelings of self-worth and self-satisfaction. (Praise is an extrinsic judgment.)
» Enjoyment-'That was fun!' 'What a pleasure it must have been to do.'
» Competence-'You did it!' 'An accomplishment.'
» Cleverness-'That was tricky.' 'Intelligent.' 'Unique.'
» Growth -'You've taken a step forward.' 'What changes have occurred?'