If you’re an educator, your students are probably always coming to you with questions about their future and their prospects. So you want to give them the best answers you can. But if you’re honest with them there’s also always going to be a bittersweet element to what you tell them. Because many of them will likely never receive medals for graduation from the school they once attended. Here’s why that’s sad and why it matters in education.
Students like to know what they are achieving
When students earn a medal of some kind, whether it’s a gold star, Cool Kid sticker, or trophy. It is a form of feedback on how well they did. And it may not seem like much to adults looking in. But receiving recognition is meaningful to kids and fosters a sense of self-confidence and pride. And it can help them become better at learning. Researchers say that when children are rewarded with praise and acknowledgment rather than tangible rewards like prizes. They tend to do better academically over time. Also The same goes for educators; telling someone they did well is more effective than just giving them an award or even money.
Medals for Graduation encourage students to step out of their comfort zone
Let’s be honest, college is all about expanding your knowledge and putting yourself in new situations. It should come as no surprise that graduations are there to do just that. Because they encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. And which will be an invaluable skill once you begin a career. Sure, people face sadness when their schools don’t honor every single major. But it’s a two-way street. If colleges were to give out hundreds of different medallions and put them on display during graduation. Then most venues wouldn’t have room left over for folding chairs or snacks.
Medals for Graduation can teach the value of achievement at an early age
Achievement is part of a healthy and well-rounded education. But it’s often a hard thing to teach at home. However, many schools that offer graduation medals focus on instilling a sense of achievement, dedication, and sacrifice, among students. All three are vital life skills that can be taught at an early age through sporting events and achievements. Such as earning a graduation medal. This helps children better understand what they need to do to reach their full potential and succeed in life.
Rewards should come from within
For many students, medals and plaques can make a significant impact on future academic success. When kids come to school each day excited about doing well and achieving their goals. They feel better about themselves and are more likely to succeed academically. Students who work hard to earn recognition outside of academics motivate themselves with similar awards when it comes time to study for college entrance exams. By recognizing achievements during middle school or high school, educators can encourage students to continue working hard through high school graduation ceremonies and beyond.
The grade-level competition gives students goals
When you’re receiving a grade from a teacher, students tend to focus on numbers rather than trying to grow their skills and truly learn. Grade-level competitions encourage students to challenge themselves and try new techniques because there is an actual result at stake. It makes them think about what they are doing when they are doing it. If every assignment and project was graded, there would be no reason to push yourself beyond what you need to do to get a good grade. However, when each task has associated with it some sort of competition that might allow your class or team to win a medal or trophy, you have a reason to step up your game. The medals serve as constant reminders of how good you really can be if you set your mind to it.
Achievement encourages good behavior and hard work
The mentality of there’s always next year isn’t good for students because it encourages students to slack off and coast. While that may work in most industries, it doesn’t work in education. If you don’t try hard now, you won’t succeed later. Placing importance on achievement gives students a greater incentive to do well now so they can continue moving forward throughout their career or higher education. Achieving success early—even something as small as a graduation medal—can encourage a student to keep achieving more goals throughout their life.
Lower stress levels for teachers and students
In a study published in Psychological Science, researchers gave two sets of students a difficult 15-minute math test. The first group’s teachers were encouraged to praise their efforts after taking it. The second group was given no feedback at all. Those whose teachers were allowed to offer words of encouragement showed a 25 percent greater persistence on difficult math problems than those who did not get recognition. Praising others create high levels of dopamine, which improves brain performance and endurance which may explain why we see higher persistence rates among those who receive praise. What’s more, giving out medals can make you feel like an accomplished teacher yourself, because when you have positive interactions with your students, your body naturally releases dopamine as well—which makes you happy and confident.
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