Skip main navigation

£199.99 £139.99 for one year of Unlimited learning. Offer ends on 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply

Find out more

How do you reward students?

If we understand the rewards that students really want then we are better placed to be able to use them to motivate, cajole and manipulate!
© National STEM Learning Centre

If we understand the rewards that students really want then we are better placed to be able to use them to motivate, cajole and manipulate! It is too easy to assume that they want money, material goods or everlasting fame. The truth is that we all want to feel important, valued and like we belong. Anything else might just be unnecessary.

Which rewards do you think the students will value most? Try to predict what rewards your students would choose.

Have a look at the list of rewards below:

  • Responsibility/job in the lab/teaching space
  • Selection from a goody bag of pencils, rubbers, pencil sharpeners etc.
  • Time on the computer
  • Cup of tea and biscuit at breaktime
  • Praise postcard or letter home to parents
  • Mention in assembly
  • ‘Free time’ at the end of a lesson
  • Stars on a chart for a weekly award
  • Fun experiment or other exciting activity (relating to your subject) at the end of the week
Put the list in the order that you think they would like to receive them. i.e. Put the reward you think will be the most wanted/valued at the top of the list. Save your ordered list somewhere so that you can refer to it later.
Now ask your students which of the rewards they would prefer to receive, i.e. which rewards hold most value to them. Ask each student to select their top three rewards. For each first choice, give three points; second choices receive two points; third choice rewards are given one point.
Do this with several classes over the next few days.
Then collate the results. Did you predict correctly which rewards have most value for the students? Has anything surprised you?
© National STEM Learning Centre
This article is from the free online

Managing Behaviour for Learning

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education