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Unlocking Student Potential: The Power of Real Recognition

classroom management climate culture education consultant educational leadership educational leadership programs keynote speaker leaders in education motivational speaker professional development public speaking reflection social emotional learning stand tall steve steve bollar within our ranks Mar 16, 2024

 Kids need to be reminded more than they need to be taught.

As educators, we hold a profound responsibility to nurture the growth and development of our students. Beyond imparting knowledge, we aim to inspire, motivate, and instill a sense of accomplishment in those we teach. One of the most potent tools in our arsenal is recognition—a means to acknowledge and celebrate the efforts and achievements of our students. Start with this video!


Differentiating Reward from Recognition

First and foremost, it's crucial to distinguish between reward and recognition. While rewards typically involve tangible incentives such as prizes or grades, recognition is more about acknowledging students' efforts and achievements verbally or symbolically. Rather than focusing solely on external motivators, recognition cultivates intrinsic motivation by affirming students' progress and contributions. By emphasizing the value of their actions, we foster a more profound sense of purpose and fulfillment. My friends at Jostens Renaissance have the right idea. This formula is fantastic for school climate and culture and applies perfectly to any classroom. 


Harnessing the Power of Verbal Praise

Verbal praise is a simple yet potent form of recognition that can profoundly impact students' self-esteem and motivation. Taking the time to acknowledge their hard work, perseverance, and growth sends a powerful message of validation and encouragement. Whether it's a heartfelt "well done" or a specific mention of their achievements, verbal praise fosters a positive classroom culture built on mutual respect and appreciation. Remember, words have the power to uplift and inspire—use them wisely.

Verbal phrases to use every day!

I noticed…

I really like…

I loved how hard you worked on … 

You should be so proud of yourself …


Recognizing Effort, Not Just Outcome

In our results-oriented society, it's easy to overlook the importance of effort in the learning process. However, recognizing effort is crucial for cultivating students' growth mindset and resilience. Whether learners struggle with a difficult concept or push their boundaries to excel, acknowledging their commitment and perseverance reinforces the belief that progress is more valuable than perfection. By celebrating the journey, we empower students to embrace challenges and the learning process.


Most Improved

Grit and Growth

Glow and Grow

Comeback Kid


Providing Timely and Specific Feedback

Effective recognition is not a one-size-fits-all approach; it requires personalized and timely feedback tailored to each student's needs and progress. Instead of generic praise, aim to provide specific feedback highlighting each student's strengths and areas for improvement. Whether it's a handwritten note, a personalized email, or a one-on-one conversation, meaningful feedback demonstrates your investment in their growth. It fosters a sense of partnership in their learning journey. Remember, recognition can be nonverbal! 


Creating a Culture of Recognition

Last but not least, cultivating a culture of recognition is essential for sustaining long-term motivation and engagement among students. Encourage peer-to-peer recognition by providing opportunities for students to celebrate each other's achievements and contributions. Whether through classroom shoutouts, recognition boards, or collaborative projects, empower students to become recognition champions within their learning community. By fostering a supportive and inclusive environment where everyone feels seen and valued, we lay the foundation for lifelong success. 

Recognition is a powerful tool for unlocking our students' full potential. By differentiating reward from recognition, harnessing the power of verbal praise, recognizing effort, providing timely and specific feedback, and creating a culture of recognition, we can inspire and empower students to reach new heights of achievement. Let us commit to celebrating not just the outcomes but the journey itself as we guide our students toward a brighter future. Come back next month for Real Recognition for Staffulty!


Looking for free or low-cost ideas to recognize your students? 

Gang, I have the perfect collection of free and inexpensive ideas to recognize your students.  You can purchase a copy, or sign up for 23 Ideas for 2023. 


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Learn more today! or Schedule a time to talk with me!  

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