Motivation From Within: Moving Away From Awards, Rewards, Punishment


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Presentation at the 2012 Connecting Leaders Conference British Columbia. Shares the stories of how a school had moved away from awards, honour roll, rewards, and punishments to see school culture flourish.

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  • Ties in nicely – just ideas, stories. Not right/wrong. Removed the staff component – adaptSlides available online
  • My story… who am I? Principal, Father, Husband, Teacher (elem and sec), Learner, CoachWhy this topic? why is motivation important. What do I want for my kids (my own and my students)?I want my kids to do the right things because they have the will and the skill not because I have bribed or threatened them, not because I want them to make someone else lose, but because it is just the right thing to do. LEARNERS, GROWTH MINDSET. Understand strengths and challenges.
  • Deci and Ryan, Daniel Pink, Sir Ken Robinson, Alfie Kohn, Dr. Ross GreeneWe are helping to raise kids – this takes years. no simple quick fix solution focus long term This is not about a standardized “program” to use but more some questions and ideas to get people to reflect on how we attempt to motivate kids in school.I will share thoughts, ideas and stories that have helped change the culture of our school… and not cost anything more than TIME.I hope in the next 1.5 hrs, I can share some stories and we can have some reflective dialogue – in the end we can find 2-3 things we can take back to our schools for Monday.
  • Roxanne Watson: Strengths, restitution, awards, honour roll, -- AFL, school vision, demographic
  • Researchers at the Uni of Rochester.This is the statement that drives the majority of the decisions at our school. My district provides me with the autonomy to take risks and fuel my passions.Leadership, reading, learning… how do we create the conditions for kids to want to learn and grow?
  • I don’t like to polarize the 2… think of it more as a CONTINUUM of motivation in people.Praise, feedback, etc – all external depends on the purpose and how it is used and perceived by the student
  • This is the key question – how do we do this?
  • Have realized the link through many of the areas of interest for me
  • 15 mins Thoughts/questions?
  • Michelangelo – every stone has a statue inside it – it is up to the sculptor to discover itFocus on strengths, support the challenges.
  • Met Dom in my visit to the school when he was in grade 4Asked for him to be in my grade 5/6 class. Was stubborn, reluctant learner – family issuesStruggled with my class (esp Dom) so I met with my principal – what are they good at? Didn’t know – all I knew was that he would not do any work.Worked with FNSW to help find what he was good at. Music, DRUMMING and speakingStarted drumming 3 times a week with Nelson, then invited others to join. Played in in front of our class. Played in front of our school. Part of the Pre-Olympic performance.
  • So many of our students go through school learning all the things they cannot do and either not realizing or completely forgetting the things they CAN do. Support the struggles, and celebrate and challenge the strengths. Keep the focus on effort.
  • We cannot TELL students their strengths, we must provide the conditions for them to discover or use them.
  • A time for teachers to teach in an area of their passion, time for students to explore an area of interest.No assessments, tons of engagement.
  • Twitter – George Couros shared on blog. Aligned well with our school vision and growth plan.Shared with staff – willing to try.One of the most powerful days as an educator. Students learned so much about each other – we proud to present on their strengths.Autonomy – no criteria, no grades.
  • Carol Dweck – Fixed = cannot change, born athletic/academic/artistic, focused on result – when failure occurs, it is because of ability so often give upGrowth = learners, willing to take risks, when failure occurs – try another route or put in more effortPraising effort vs ability “You are so smart” = encouraging fixed.
  • Feedback has the smallest effect when it is related to praise, rewards, and punishment. – Hattie.Descriptive feedback – where are they now? Where are they going? How weil they get there?
  • 25 mins Thoughts/questions?
  • So how does Growth Mindset affect awards ceremonies at schools?
  • If each child has their own strengths and challenges, we believe in the power of a growth mindset… how do awards fit?Change started before I was at the school with parents and staff. Changed in 2010Why? Alignment with school goalsHierarchy of skills, same students win and beat out others each yearStudents come with advantages and disadvantages – environment and factors beyond controlWhat do we focus on – do we honour just a select few?If awards are the only motivator, what does that say?We force kids into a game that was never meant to be played as a game.. .then we decide (and argue about) the winners and losersInteresting concept... If everyone else loses... You win.
  • Vancouver Sun, other blogs from east, radio shows
  • For me, it is more about honouring each child and helping every child to succeed (with challenge and support) – I am not opposed to competition (in sports for example) but it must be a choice.We also do not give awards to every child – we HONOUR every child – this has nothing to do with a trophy or certificate.
  • Cynical/satirical post but wanted to make a point. If awards are so necessary to success, why do we not see this in families? Do we pick our “best child” and highlight their strengths or do we support all kids?
  • Just about being better than others in the room. Sartest person is the room? Collaboration?Is there criteria? Standards? Can there be more than one winner? No winners?What do we gain by telling kids they are the best in the room? Is it mostly about being better than others? What if the others are not so hot?When are awards ok? A class of 5? A class of 50? 200?
  • Love the idea of competition as a choice. Sports is a big part of my life so I cannot sit here and slam competition… but I CHOOSE to compete. I am a horrible dancer… my wife formed a dad’s group and we competed against other adult novelty groups – not competitive DANCERS!
  • We still have typical problems but Discipline way downAchievement leveled for 3 years and now on rise.“top students still doing very well”School culture way up.Last year was first group of students to never experience an awards ceremony at school.HS says this is the best class of leaders they have seen in a very long time.Guests to our school always comment on the naturally welcome, positive, respectful climate we have.
  • Not about award winners for all. Moving the focus from grades to process of learning –ongoing, no endpoint, no select “club”, why do we need to all arrive at the same time?Tom Schimmer – anxiety, losing streak  confident learners. Less about self-esteem and more about self-confidencePurposeWhat do we do now? COS Assemblies, Gr. 6 Celebration – 2-3 strengths and/or interests of each child – focus on effort feedback (growth mindset), video of positives at schoolWe DO NOT want to take away from those who would have been award winners... We continue to challenge and honour them but we ALSO challenge and honour those with skills in different areas.
  • Story of the cousin who spoke up at our honouring ceremony.
  • 40 mins Thoughts/questions?
  • Why move away from rewards?
  • Reward systems work – short term – they get people to do things they would normally not want to doWhen we use rewards – the focus shifts from the process to the reward (Deci and Ryan)REWARDS DO NOT TEACH – Giving rewards is easy I tried the rewards thing. The only type of extrinsic reward that I encourage is meaningful praise (descriptive feedback) based on effort that is not used as a reward– forming relationships and providing feedback is much more difficult.Judy Cameron vsDeci and Ryan
  • Big Bang Theory, the Office
  • Catching kids being good – look at me – surveillance – story of “Ashley”There is a risk that some Kids become skilled at getting caught being “good” and not getting caught being “bad”
  • We expect students to do the right thing... Not for any reward but because it is the right thing. Set the bar with modeling and leadership[.
  • Promote a love of books… read anywhere, tap into interests, DEAR, read alouds, teacher-librarian, flexible library schedule, etc
  • 55 mins Does rewarding and punishing teach the skills we are trying to see in our children? Used to be a rewards/punishment guy – focused on grades, bonus marks, Bobcat Bucks, garbage duty, detentions, bag skates – this is what I knewI knew it was not working like I planned but I had nothing in my toolbox.Reward/punishment inflation
  • The other side of the reward – negative extrinsic motivation – punishment. Based on control and fear.When a child struggles in reading, we support; When a child struggles with behaviour, we punish. By focusing on rewards and punishment, we rob students of developing responsibility.Parents still fear the principal because of the fear of punishment they had when they were in school.Previous principal: Restitution, relationships - Effect of different mindset – decrease in incidents, behaviour IEPs, We last suspended a child almost 3 years ago – major mistake.
  • Coaching, environmentRestitution
  • Diane Gossen – Real Resititution
  • Every child is a good kid. They lack the skills and /or experience to make good choices.Wraparound, interests, patience, teach, collaborative problem solvingBE Patient – it could take years. Work together. We all need to be on the same page – and that page starts with the child.
  • Rewards and punishment often rob students of responsibility to motivate and regular themselves.
  • What is your leadership program?Autonomy, purpose – a contagious cultureResponisibility, Integrity,teachable moments.
  • 75 mins
  • 80minsAny questions?
  • Final thoughts – hope that you have reflected upon motivation, focusing on strengths, and teaching skills.Our school is doing this and experiencing more and more success. Our school culture is flourishing. I encourage you to take your reflective ideas back to your schools – jot down 1-2-3 things that you can do immediately. Share this with a learning partner so he/she can be part of the process.
  • Some books that I believe are must-reads.
  • Motivation From Within: Moving Away From Awards, Rewards, Punishment

    1. Connecting Leaders 2012 Chris Wejr @chriswejrCC Image from Fe 108Aums
    2. ABOUT ME
    3. Today We Will Reflect Upon:1. Creating the conditions for students to motivate themselves2. Focusing on strengths3. Growth Mindset4. Moving from Awards and “Honour Roll” to “Honour ALL”5. Moving away from rewards/punishments Image:
    4. Kent Elementary School Agassiz, BC For each student to master core skills,develop their strengths and interests and become a confident learner.
    5. “We cannot motivate others… we can only work to create the conditions for people to motivate themselves.” --Image:
    6. Intrinsic/Inte rnalExtrinsic/Ext ernal Image:
    7. Daniel PinkAutonomy – Mastery - Purpose
    8. CC Image from c_ambler
    9. RelationshipsStrengths & Growth Mindset Interests Creating The Conditions Descriptive Leadership Feedback
    10. REFLECT:• Introduce yourself at the table.• Why are you here today?• What conditions do we create for students to motivate themselves?• How can we create more? Image:
    11. Focusing on Strengths “Each child has a gift... We need to see and nurture these gifts so they emerge and flourish throughout an individual’s life ” -- Lorna WilliamsImage:
    12. The Strength of Dom
    13. “We don’t know who we can be… until we know what we can do” -- Sir Ken Robinson
    14. “We must guide our children toward recognition and understanding of their strengths.” -- Jenifer Fox -- Jenifer FoxCC Image:
    15. Exploring Interests Through CHOICES
    16. Showcasing the strengths of each student…
    17. CC Image from mliu92
    18. [Descriptive] feedback is the single most powerful thing we can use to impact student learning -- John Hattie Image:
    19. REFLECT:• What actions can we take to move toward a system that helps to bring out the strengths of students?• How can we help students develop a GROWTH MINDSET? Image:
    20. "In the fixed mindset, to be successful, you must be better than others" Carol Dweck
    21. CC Image: pennstatelive
    22. Not Everyone Agrees “…no wonder kids these days are this way… me me me - so entitled” “So everybody gets an award – and nobody learns anything about the competitive real world” “this is why the children of today have become the lazy, uncaring adults of tomorrow.” “You can only get better by playing a better oponent (sic). By takeing (sic) away the motivation you end up with the disgruntled youth of today who sit around and do nothing.” “This is the same attitude that has principals puinishing (sic) bullying victims rather than the bully.”“he is just a socialist principal with a feminist agenda”
    23. “There is ample evidence that extrinsic motivators are likely to demotivate… and that losing in a competition (of recognition) is even worse.” Alfie Kohn
    24. Awards are allRelative Image:
    25. Rick Lavoie – Competition in Schools
    26. No awards.No student of the month. No honour roll. 3 years later.
    27. Moving From Honour Roll to Honour All
    28. Pride in Who We Are
    29. REFLECT:• How can we move toward a school culture that honours ALL students?• What do you see as the pros and cons to awards ceremonies at your school? Image:
    30. Image:
    31. My issues with rewards in school...
    32. Sitcom Motivation
    33. You caught me being good. Can I get my prize now? Image:
    34. “People use rewards expecting to gain the benefit of increasing another person’smotivation and behaviour, but in so doing, they often incur the unintentional andhidden cost of undermining that person’s intrinsic motivation toward the activity” -- Jonmarshall Reeve
    35. Doing the right thing...just because it is the right thing to do.
    36. A Culture of Reading WithoutPoints, Prizes, or Pizza Parties
    37. Moving Away From PUNISHMENTImage:
    38. Students need teaching..... not punishment.Image:
    39. "The school discipline program is not working for the kids who arent doing well and is not needed by the kids who are." -- Dr. Ross Greene
    40. Dr. Ross GreeneKids Do Well if They CAN
    41. Creating the Conditions:Student Discipline
    42. RESTITUTION Making it right.
    43. Image: are humans. Be patient. It will be ok.
    44. Justin’s Story
    45. "Extrinsic rewards have a negative impact [on learning] because they undermine people’s taking responsibility for motivating and regulating themselves" Edward DeciCC Image from Sarah Sosiak
    46. Creating the Conditions: LEADERSHIP
    47. REFLECTWhat actions can we take to move away fromrewards and punishment to a culture that builds responsibility in our students?Image:
    48. Final Reflections• What can we do to build responsibility in students by focusing more on intrinsic motivation?• How can we move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset in our students?• How can we place more emphasis on strengths of our students?• How can we work to authentically honour all our students more often?• How do we move toward teaching skills and away from rewarding and punishing?
    49. What are 2-3 things YOU can do to create the conditions for students to motivate themselves?Image:
    50. Must Reads for Parents/Educators Drive Mindset Punished by Lost at SchoolDaniel Pink Carol Dweck Rewards Dr. Ross Greene Alfie Kohn
    51. Connect With Me @chriswejr