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Should Teachers Use Rewards in Their Classrooms? Part One: A Second Look at Six Beliefs about Classroom Rewards

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Show Notes:

We can all agree that it’s important for teachers to create engaging lessons with differentiated instruction and use a variety of strategies to support student learning. However, when it comes to using rewards in the classroom, teachers, schools, and districts have varying philosophies and ideas. I’ve always been fascinated with rewards, how they’re used in the classroom, the ways teachers can use them, and the different types, so I decided to look further into the topic.

As I started to look at research on rewards in the classroom, I was astounded by the amount of research and information that was outdated. I started to see some common arguments against using a reward system in the classroom. But, as I researched further, I discovered more recent information that had a whole new perspective on rewards and how they impact student behavior and learning. With all my new findings, I’m starting the first episode in the series and sharing six beliefs teachers or schools commonly hold about classroom rewards.

When implementing any type of reward system, the goal is to motivate students and diminish any behavior issues. But, according to these arguments against rewards in the classroom, rewards don’t accomplish either of the goals the way they should. As I dive further into each different belief, I share the concerns and then what the most current research is saying and their findings on the belief now.

As a caveat to rewards, I am not suggesting they should replace excellent teaching, forming relationships with students, or engaging lessons. Instead, rewards should be used as a helpful tool to develop a classroom community and serve as part of an integrated and effective classroom management system. After looking into common classroom reward beliefs, I hope you see how rewards can positively impact both students and teachers in a new way.

Inside this week's show, you'll learn:

  • 6 common beliefs teachers and schools hold on classroom rewards and what the current research’s findings are about them now
  • A caveat of what I’m not suggesting as it pertains to using rewards in the classroom and what it shouldn’t replace
  • What the new research on rewards is saying and how it impacts student learning and behaviors 
  • A preview of what’s to come in the next episode of the series and the impact rewards can have on motivation

Links & resources mentioned inside this episode:

I hope this information is helpful as you prepare for your first, second, or third year of teaching. Until next time, remember, just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one.

πŸ’› Lori

Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor

Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at and at

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