The Problem with Awards

My nephew excitedly pulled out his awards that he earned during this grading period. He was so excited that he earned them…yet still not satisfied.

The problem that he had was that “A honor roll” kids got a ribbon and “B honor roll” kids got a “zipper thing”. What??? (An object to place on their zippers)

I took this moment to ask him a few questions.

1. Does the award matter?
2. Do you do well in school because of the award?
3. You haven’t won any awards for your art but you do it. What’s the difference?

His response…
“I did well in school because I wanted the awards. I just think that if I made all A’s, I should’ve gotten more than a ribbon.”

Wait, it gets better….

“When I post my art to my blog it’s because I like it and that is a reward. People comment it and that’s a reward. Even if they give a bad comment, it’s still a reward because then I can go fix it.”

Now, I’m definitely not talking against his school or any others for giving awards. Kids do love them and for some, that may be the only pat on the back that they get…which is sad.

However, as Braeden justified his differences in awards, I immediately thought about one particular facet of learning that we want kids to have…growth mindset which is clearly evident in the learning related to his passion.

It’s amazing how the awards of Braeden’s “required” learning differs from his passion.

Somehow, we need to find the inner area of where those two circles intersect.

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