Wednesday, February 2, 2011

More Thoughts on Awards

Awards are intrinsic motivation killers.

Awards are collaborative destroyers.

Awards do not recognize the best in each person, only one.

Awards make us see each other as obstacles.

Awards are political.

Awards make all, except one, feel like losers.

Awards in schools don’t give people the choice to opt out of the competition.

Awards create anger and envy.

Awards create debate on who deserved to win.


Cancelling awards ceremonies does not mean that students will lack understanding of their world outside of school.


  1. BOOM! What a great list of statements. Thanks for posting!

  2. Nunavut,

    I second a lot of what you say.

    However, I believe in the power of positive thinking and my own "fight" against awards and the competitive nature of schooling in general has been to use positive language in the debate. Also be proactive about mentioning alternatives.

    Love the comments but might we make this into a poster? A poster that says,

    Classroom togetherness creates no debate about who wins

    Classroom togetherness nurtures intrinsic motivation ...



  3. Totally agree with this post.

    I believe in giving feedback. Real, honest, non-manipulative feedback.

  4. Thanks John...and your feedback is appreciated.

  5. Thanks for posting this.
    Unfortunately, I feel that some adults/teachers get more enjoyment giving the awards than the kids do receiving them. I read a blog post by @gcouros where he posed a great question, "Who are we giving awards for?"
    Our middle school still gives "academic achievement" awards. I will continue to search for ways to recognize students in a way that will support the development of intrinsic motivation.

  6. "Cancelling awards ceremonies does not mean that students will lack understanding of their world outside of school." I've never heard the reverse of that being an argument in favour of awards ceremonies. Who has actually made that argument?