“People should not be paid for doing the right thing! I should not be teaching people basic social skills at this point!” These are a few things I have heard from secondary teachers about teaching and acknowledging students.
Image from Flickr Creative Commons
We know that acknowledging students is a key component of schoolwide supports for climate. In his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink describes two ways to acknowledge: If then (e.g., if you do your work, then you get…), and now that (e.g., now that you have done.., you get..). In the first students are aware of the possible reward, the second they are not until they achieve the goals.
Having some type of reward or acknowledgment can be helpful for everyone when reaching a goal. It does not have to be money. In fact, one study found that students who were given a certificate of completion attended more tutoring sessions that students who received money.
Some keys to acknowledgment
Think about three kinds – high frequency (e.g., tickets, coupons, praise), intermediate (e.g., classwide drawings, student preferred parking) and large scale celebrations (e.g., school picnic, sky box for student and 20 friends at school ball game). This is a link to a planning tool that might help you think through each step. This link provides an example of the tool.
Prepare your staff for implementation. Do not hand out any tokens, buzzy bucks, or whozzie whatitz until you have prepared staff for why, what, and how to acknowledge. For example see this one page key practice guide you can share with your teams before rolling out acknowledgement. Here are some practice scenarios for your staff on acknowledgment.
Involve your students. This is a great chance to have your students contribute their ideas to your school acknowledgement system. Ask them what they think might work for acknowledgment.
Look for examples from other schools. There is a general rule in high schools, if it did not happen in high school, it did not happen. Look for high school example! This is a nice Prezi from a high school on their positive behavior support implementation. Also, check out a few of these examples of tokens in high schools. Here is a study we conducted about obtaining buy-in from high schools that included acknowledgement.
Think free. There are resources for finding acknowledgement ideas that are free. This website has resources and sample letters for asking for donations from your community. Here is a list of free incentives for students from a post on the PBIS.org website. And finally here is another list from PBIS Rewards.
Remember the staff. Make sure to include acknowledgement for your staff. Even successful companies acknowledge their employees. Here is a list of incentives for teachers.
The keys for acknowledgment, from my research and experience, include preparing your staff and making sure you have the systems in place to support your efforts. Whatever you do, do not roll out any approaches until you have the systems to support them or the data to evaluate them! I would love to know what works for you when acknowledging your students and staff.
Filed Under: acknowledgement, Classroom management, high schools, secondary schools, UncategorizedTagged With: buy-in, classroom management, examples, high school, positive behavior support, secondary, training
GUIDELINES FOR WRITING ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
A page of acknowledgements is usually included at the beginning of a Final Year Project, immediately after the Table of Contents.
Acknowledgements enable you to thank all those who have helped in carrying out the research. Careful thought needs to be given concerning those whose help should be acknowledged and in what order. The general advice is to express your appreciation in a concise manner and to avoid strong emotive language.
Note that personal pronouns such as 'I, my, me …' are nearly always used in the acknowledgements while in the rest of the project such personal pronouns are generally avoided.
The following list includes those people who are often acknowledged.
Note however that every project is different and you need to tailor your acknowledgements to suit your particular situation.
Other academic staff in your department
Technical or support staff in your department
Academic staff from other departments
Other institutions, organizations or companies
* If you wish to acknowledge the help of family members or friends make sure you restrict the wording of your thanks to a relatively formal register.
Study the two examples below. In each one, the acknowledgement of a friend and a family member has been expressed in an inappropriate manner. Read the acknowledgement and then answer the questions that follow.
I wish to thank my boyfriend Jack for his assistance with the statistics used in this report.
This sounds too personal. Why? Type your suggestions here.
How could it be improved? Type your revised version here
I would like to thank my mother for providing me with delicious dinners when I came home late from the university.
This sounds too personal. Why? Type your suggestions here.
How could it be improved? Type your revised version here.
Common expressions used to acknowledge assistance
The following vocabulary/phrases are often used when expressing acknowledgements and they may be of help when writing your own acknowledgements.
|I would like to express my very great appreciation to ***|
I would like to offer my special thanks to ***
Advice given by *** has been a great help in ***
I am particularly grateful for the assistance given by ***
Assistance provided by *** was greatly appreciated.
I wish to acknowledge the help provided by ***
Dr *** provided me with very valuable ***
I would like to thank the following companies for their assistance with the collection of my data:
My special thanks are extended to the staff of *** company for ***
Read through the following examples of acknowledgements taken (with permission) from past students' final year projects.
I would like to express my very great appreciation to Dr *** for his valuable and constructive suggestions during the planning and development of this research work. His willingness to give his time so generously has been very much appreciated.
I would also like to thank the staff of the following organizations for enabling me to visit their offices to observe their daily operations:
I would like to express my deep gratitude to Professor *** and Professor ***, my research supervisors, for their patient guidance, enthusiastic encouragement and useful critiques of this research work. I would also like to thank Dr. ***, for her advice and assistance in keeping my progress on schedule. My grateful thanks are also extended to Mr. *** for his help in doing the meteorological data analysis, to Ms ***, who helped me calculate the wind pressure coefficient and to Ms *** and Mr. *** for their support in the site measurement.
I would also like to extend my thanks to the technicians of the laboratory of the *** department for their help in offering me the resources in running the program.
Finally, I wish to thank my parents for their support and encouragement throughout my study.
I wish to thank various people for their contribution to this project; Mr. *** and Ms ***, for their valuable technical support on this project; Mr. *** and Ms ***, staff of *** Government Office, for their help in collecting the plant data and all the technicians who helped me in handling the instruments.