Every school strives to reward their students with meaningful rewards that celebrate effort, achievement, attendance and behaviour; but for most of us the tricky part is trying to find a suitable and cost effective reward that motivates the hard to reach students. Every school has them and every school is working hard to motivate them, because it’s that group that seem to hurt you in attendance, behaviour and achievement. So if we could just find that silver bullet that motivates them, we’d all be in a better place.
Although I’m not selling this idea as a silver bullet, it’s certainly made a lot of our harder to reach students sit up and take notice this week.
We have just created two reward rooms and installed two Xbox consoles, wall mounted LCD TV’s and bean bags. The reward rooms are designated to one year group per day and there are slots available to book the rooms before school, during lunchtime and after school. There is of course, strict criteria that students must meet in order for them to eligible to use the room. Each Year Leader uses their own criteria specific to their year group to determine which students can use the room (the criteria for year 7 might be based upon behaviour and effort points, but year 11 might be based upon attendance at after school revision sessions).
As a school we believe that this strategy is going to appeal to our white, pupil premium boys who (like many other schools), quite often need to be significantly motivated to perform in line with their targets. For the cost of 2 consoles, 2 tv’s, 15 games and 8 beanbags (approx £1000), we can reward up to 125 students per week with the use of the rooms, creating a sustainable strategy all year round for no extra cost. Our aim is to use the rooms to not only reward the students who demonstrate fantastic behaviour all of the time, but to also target students who need motivation and a carrot that genuinely means something to them. Having students on a behaviour report is one thing, but working towards playing FIFA with their mates at lunchtime in the reward room when it’s cold and wet outside is another prospect all together! The same strategy can also be employed to potentially remove disruptive students at lunchtime from the yard or the field, giving them a positive focus and something to do rather than causing trouble because they are bored.
As this is a new strategy for us, we are letting the students decide which games they play from our stock of 15 titles. However, in the future we have plans for FIFA tournaments across year groups, time trials on the car racing games, staff v student games and Minecraft build off’s as we look to increase the publicity and hype of these events in order to further motivate these students in the classroom. Staff will be encouraged to also come and join in with the students, helping to create strong positive relationships. Entry to any of our Xbox reward events will be strictly for students who meet the specific criteria.
There is something out there that motivates everyone, it’s just about finding it……and we think we’ve found just the thing to motivate some of our harder to reach students!