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Celebrating Small Successes and Watch Your Learners Grow

Celebrating Small Successes and Watch Your Learners Grow

We all have fond memories of our big classroom successes. These moments are etched into our memories forever.

Sometimes, they even shape our career paths. I clearly remember all the moments at school when I received a reward for doing great work. It could have been verbal praise, a certificate, trophy, a book or special mention in the school assembly.  I burst with a sense of pride from it. It gave me a lot of confidence, instilled more of a love of learning, that remained in me for a lifetime.

Why do we need to celebrate learning?

A celebration always makes us feel good. So, when we celebrate learning, we make our learners feel good. Celebrating learning has a very significant and positive impact on learners’ memory, motivation, and other cognitive functions. It instils a love of learning. They are more than just feel-good moments. The right celebrations can propel students forward on their education journey. What is important is that celebration of the success of learners is done effectively. When done effectively, it gives our students the drive and motivation to continue doing great work.  Effective praise/positive reinforcement is the driver behind student motivation, self-esteem, and creating a positive classroom culture.

We educators should give praise that is helpful. We can do this by making sure it’s sincere and genuine, specific and descriptive, to ensure students know what they have done well and provide next steps to improve or do better or go further deep into new learning experiences. Motivation is not only important in its own right; it is also an important predictor of learning and achievement. Students who are more motivated to learn persist longer, produce higher quality effort, learn more deeply, and perform better in classes and on standardized tests. Teachers can celebrate achievements and motivate their students in many ways. One way of doing this is to provide incentives by celebrating achievements and success. This encourages students to want to do well and to believe that they can do well. It is important to celebrate success at school because it will develop each pupil’s self-esteem and increase their confidence. This is part of positive reinforcement which is key to a student’s learning and development.

Exam and test results can make students feels like school success is black and white - they are either a success or a failure. This can be very demoralising and in turn can lead to the student giving up if they feel like it is unlikely that they will get a high score or grade. In celebrating small successes throughout the year, teachers can show that success is not a grade, but actually it is the effort made, hard work and persistence. Praising and celebrating success in the form of hard work rather than results is a key motivator - students will work even harder. There is nothing more affirming than getting told you’re doing well from a teacher.  Celebrating the accomplishments of your students builds their confidence step-by-step. This confidence builds itself into achievement and results in big wins for everyone!  Celebrating a small “win” along the path to loftier goals not only boosts confidence, but also generates an appropriate mindset for ongoing achievement. A little celebration doesn’t take much effort, but the results will go a long way.

Every school takes pride in celebrating the success of the learners. Sometimes while celebrating the success of our learners, we forget to also recognise the journey to success. For some learners, the journey is easy while for others it was a difficult path. But they persevered and succeeded. We should be rewarding this over anything to motivate our students. We need to move away from the thinking that achievement can be based on either ability, others around us or plain good luck. Effort is significant too. Celebration of achievement is important, and it is also very important to focus on hard work and effort. Rewarding effort will motivate our students. It will help students to see the value of working hard and will help them with putting more effort into their work, which in turn, will improve their outcomes and growth.

Some strategies for celebrating success:

  • Review the behaviour policy to unleash the power of motivation and positive reinforcement in creating confident learners
  • Share ‘WOW’ moments with parents through certificate, mail or phone call
  • Share all successes on social media
  • Set up a special outing for the class for doing fantastic work

Remember each learner is unique and success looks different for different learners. But celebrating success is a great way to boost motivation, confidence and class morale.