High Yield Strategy: Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition

We’ve been revisiting Marzano’s nine high-yield research-based instructional practices.  Today’s practice – Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition – has the potential to yield a positive gain of .80 standard deviation.  That’s rather significant!  Below are some things to consider when bringing this practice into your classroom:

  1. Not all students realize the importance of believing in effort.  Such a belief is not innate, and as such it must be taught.  Become comfortable with the language of encouragement around effort and employ it in your classroom daily.
  2. Students can change their beliefs to include an emphasis on effort.  Embrace a growth mindset and articulate it frequently in your classroom.  Make it part of your daily routine.
  3. Rewards do not necessarily have a negative effect on intrinsic motivation.  Alfie Kohn might disagree with this statement from Marzano, but rewards are like all other things in life: in moderation and properly applied, they can be really good. 
  4. Reward is most effective when it is contingent on the attainment of some standard of performance.  At first glance that may seem like it is antithetical to the emphasis on effort, but it is not.  You need some clear goal to undertake action. 
  5. Abstract symbolic recognition is more effective than tangible rewards.  Praise specific to the task undertaken is a more effective reward than a product of some type.  

How do you recognize effort and provide recognition in your classroom?  How do you emphasize effort in meaningful ways?  Are your reinforcement and recognition plans built into your lesson plans and classroom procedures?  These are some things to think about as you prepare for your classes next week. 

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