Rewards have always been in place to provide motivation. They aid in providing a boost to push individuals to certain goals, and to reinforce positive behaviour or attitude. For children at school, one of the common reward systems is the use of school stamps, reward stickers for teachers or stickers for kids. Teachers must keep in mind, however, that the use of these and other incentives should be handled with care, especially for kids. With their young mindsets and disposition, what teachers intend to be a motivational approach could easily backfire and make some children feel bad instead.
As with other reward systems, the benefit of giving stickers for kids is that they serve as a tangible way of recognition for a job well done. These tokens help reinforce positive results by encouraging the repetition of the behaviour that was rewarded. This approach could be more meaningful for children, as they might not easily understand or relate to having goals of their own. Such simple prizes would then serve as things they could look forward to the next time they do something good.
Another benefit of using stickers for kids as a tangible award is that these are the “safest” to give, in a sense that they are not looked upon as bribery. This is something which could not be said for other rewards such as chocolate, candy or toys. Reward stickers for teachers are usually treated just as mini-certificates of recognition. There is also the upside that stickers are usually cheap. They are usually packaged in bulk at stores at an affordable cost, or the teachers could even print them out themselves.
Another advantage of reward stickers for teachers is that the child rewarded is given something that could be brought home and showed to parents. Hence the child’s achievement or good behaviour is communicated to family members, as well. This could be especially important if the child’s parents are busy, and not have the time to attend parent-teacher meetings regularly. By the simple act of a kid showing off stickers, the parents are given feedback and may even be more encouraged to attend the next time there is a conference at school. This helps parents to know more about how well their child is performing. Stickers for kids could also serve as a reminder for both the student and their parents about pending homework items and other school events.
However, as mentioned above, there are certain downsides to this reward method. The first of which is that some kids might feel insecure about themselves if they do not get as many stickers as the others. This is especially true if the teacher exhibits the stickers in a chart. Instead of promoting healthy competition as needed, this might lead for some children to be discouraged.
If the teacher chooses to keep the stickers in a public display though, he or she must ensure that different things could be awarded – not just class aptitude rewards.
Another disadvantage in using reward stickers for teachers is that the students’ expectations for incentives may grow over time. Instead of focusing on the intangible, yet more important values they get from good behaviour, such as knowledge and discipline, they may tend to focus more on the tangible awards they get as their end results. To mitigate this, teachers should use the concept of intangible awards as well. It is advisable to consider group-wide awards. The teacher can set a goal for the whole class such as following a “quiet hour” consistently for one whole week. In this way, teamwork is fostered along with individual behaviour.
Reward stickers for teachers are highly effective in more ways than one. Teachers can definitely depend on these in order to improve the school learning environment, especially among very young students. In using reward methods such as stickers for kids or school stamps, teachers must keep in mind that such incentives should be lessened and gradually eliminated over time. After all, students should not be dependent on awards for them to keep doing well. The ultimate goal of these methods is to help the students motivate themselves intrinsically – to always keep trying their best with or without a reward waiting.