Why I Won’t be Using Badges or Stickers for PD

“If we can set high expectations for kids, we’ve got to have high expectations for adults! Beliefs + Relationships are a must!” – Rafranz Davis

award_ribbonI’ve toyed around with the idea of badges or stickers for months. To be fair, I’ve toyed around with it for a year. Then a good friend referred me to Daniel Pink where his beliefs about motivation speak to me. I’m not a fan of the dangling carrot because it never worked in my classroom…except for temporarily. Eventually the carrot loses its flavor.

We are in the business to change mindsets…to change perception of learning and it needs to be lasting. If we only cater to teacher beliefs on a “surface” level, we are only implementing a temporary fix and not lasting change.

There will be many who will say that I am dead wrong because, for one, it works in their district. Here is what I have to say to that…

You were able to help an educator believe in the power of integrating technology…teaching differently. You made them feel confident enough to try and secure enough to continue. Guess what…it wasn’t because you awarded a badge or gave a sticker. It was because YOU established a relationship built on understanding and trust…They BELIEVED what you were selling.

I’ve built my career on that very idea of building relationships. I learned through my mistakes about the power in doing so. When learners, including adults, KNOW that you are there to support…and BELIEVE it…you don’t need tangible throw aways to change the course of learning.

I wrote a post about supporting reluctant teachers in tech integration. Before I cut out a single sticker or award a badge of any kind, this is where I’m starting.


Comments 5

    1. Post

      I never said that what I believe is law. It’s just what I believe and that could very well change! Reflection is fun!

  1. While I totally get where you’re coming from and what Daniel Pink meant in Drive, there is something very motivating for me to earn badges to track my own progress. I consider them milestones. I think that falls under intrinsic motivation, when there isn’t really something tangible. I’m not sure that stickers and badges fit my idea of great for PD, unless it is a longer term class or undertaking. I think that setting goals and working toward them can be very motivating. If that goal has a “mayorship” or “badge” associated with it, I’ll celebrate earning it. If I can choose for others to see my accomplishment, even better… even if it was becoming mayor of Waffle House. None of this determines whether I learn though and that’s your point I think. Just because I like the badge, button, or sticker to mark my progress, the truth is that I will learn because what is taught is interesting. Motivation. If you focus on THAT, you’ll be getting it right.

    Thanks for always sharing what you are learning. I’m trying to converse more and lurk less so you give me much to think about.

    1. Post

      Thanks Porter. I celebrate every mayorship and badge that I get on four square like insanity. I think that I just have difficulty with having to provide the reward in order for teachers to work on themselves to improve instruction. If people choose to do it on their own, by all means earn away. I just don’t plan on creating a system dependent on it. I’d rather focus on what I know about helping teachers to ease their internal contraints and build self confidence. Self confidence last a lot longer than anything that I could possibly give them.

  2. Amen! I never gave my own kids rewards for potty training and I never felt right about using a treasure box or reward system in my classroom. Rewards and badges don’t change behavior or produce better results!

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