Why it’s important to celebrate student success
We all have fond memories of our big classroom successes. These moments are etched into our memories forever. Sometimes, they even shape our career paths.
They’re more than just feel-good moments, the right celebrations can propel students forward on their education journey.
3 Benefits Of Celebrating Student Success
You’ll motivate your learners
When delivered effectively, praise gives your students the drive and motivation to continue doing great work! However, knowing you should give praise and doing it well are two different things. Motivating praise should be:
- Sincere: Be genuine in your praise, anything else confuses students.
- Specific: Descriptive approval helps reinforce specific behaviour.
- Realistic: Use praise that focuses on behaviours so that the focus is on motivating effort.
You’ll build their confidence
Is there anything more affirming than getting told you’re doing well from a mentor? Celebrating the accomplishments of your students builds their confidence step-by-step. This confidence builds itself into achievement and results in big wins for everyone!
You’ll solidify the effort-achievement connection
Generally speaking, students tend to think success on assignments or exams stems from one of four options:
- Inherent ability
- Other people
These beliefs play a big role in student engagement, yet only one of these four options mentioned is actually linked to achievement (effort). By rewarding effort and perseverance you yield a powerful motivational tool. Emphasising that it’s effort – not luck, good genes or other people – that spurs achievement teaches learners the value of hard work and encourages them to put the effort in.
What Does Effective Praise Look Like?
So we know praise can be impactful but like anything good, you only reap the benefits of celebration when it’s done right.
Effective praise has the following hallmarks:
- It focuses on the effort, not just the achievement of students.
- It clearly defines the accomplishment and the learners being celebrated.
- It comes with information about performance.
- It is clear, creative, and varied.
5 Time-Tested Way To Celebrate Student Success
1. Pick Up The Phone
It’s easy to fall into the habit of only calling home when something’s gone wrong, but picking up that phone for some parent-teacher praise is a fun way to celebrate your learners! Sometimes it can be hard for students to articulate their own successes to their parents, which can make these calls even more exciting for everyone. It’s an added motivational touch for students to keep hitting their goals.
In the same vein, you can try positive principal visits. Getting called to the principal’s office for some praise can be a great way to lift your students’ spirits!
2. Get A Little Silly
Younger kids love a chance to see their teachers and principals get a bit silly! Reaching goals is a great time to bring out this fun side.
For example: Some schools set goals for each year. When a certain group hits a goal, they can expect a visit from their principal dressed in a funny suit with a special surprise!
This kind of celebration gets the whole school involved in the fun and can be a great way to showcase a different side of the teachers!
3. Look Beyond Grades
While it’s great to celebrate our honour-roll students, it’s important to look beyond grades and start rewarding other commendable behaviours. Keep an eye out for students who go out of their way to pick up trash in the cafeteria. Shout out the children who sit with the new kid on their first day of school.
Dedicate the time to shout out these successes, whether it be during your monthly school assembly or during your next lesson. Remember, praise helps encourage repeat behaviours and these positive contributions are definitely worth repeating!
4. Build A Class Reward System
Having a goal to reach as a class can be an effective team-building activity and makes celebrating success an inclusive event! The desire to do well for your peers is a great motivator for most kids and can encourage others to help their classmates in the pursuit of a common goal!
The best part? This is relatively simple to set up. Create a marble jar for the class. Everytime someone does something good, a marble goes into the jar. When the jar is filled to the brim, it’s time to throw a class party!
5. Display Great Student Work In The Classroom
Seeing their work hanging up for everyone to admire can be a real source of pride for students. You might think this is exclusive to younger students but even teenagers have feel-good moments when they see their efforts on display. Remember to make these displays diverse and celebrate improvement not just perfection!