Top 10 Reward Ideas for Motivating and Inspiring Students

Motivating and inspiring students is essential to ensure their academic success and improve their overall well-being. One effective way to achieve this is through rewards. Rewards are incentives that can positively reinforce desirable behavior, boost self-esteem, and enhance student engagement. In this article, we will explore the top 10 reward ideas for motivating and inspiring students based on current research.

1. Verbal Praise and Recognition

One of the most effective rewards is verbal praise and recognition. According to a study by Dr. Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, praising a student’s effort rather than their intelligence can improve their motivation and performance in school. Therefore, teachers should provide verbal praise and recognition when students demonstrate positive behavior, such as completing assignments on time or participating in class discussions.

2. Certificates and Awards

Certificates and awards are another popular way to reward students. These can be given for various accomplishments, such as academic achievement, good behavior, or attendance. Certificates and awards can be personalized to suit individual students, and they can be displayed at home or in the classroom as a reminder of their success.

3. Classroom Privileges

Classroom privileges can also be used as rewards. For example, students who consistently demonstrate positive behavior can be given the privilege to choose their seats, select a book to read or take part in special activities. These privileges can motivate students to work hard and behave well in the classroom.

4. Extra Credit

Extra credit is another reward that can motivate students. Students can earn extra credit by completing additional assignments, participating in class discussions, or attending after-school tutoring sessions. Extra credit can also help students who are struggling academically to improve their grades.

5. Homework Passes

Homework passes are a popular reward among students. These passes can be given to students who demonstrate positive behavior, such as completing their homework on time or participating in class discussions. Homework passes can also help students who are struggling with their workload to manage their time more effectively.

6. Positive Notes Home

Positive notes at home are a great way to reward students and communicate with their parents. Teachers can write positive notes at home to acknowledge students’ positive behavior, academic achievements, or good attitudes. These notes can improve parent-teacher relationships and encourage parents to support their children’s academic success.

7. Student of the Month

Student of the month is a popular reward that recognizes a student’s outstanding achievements or behavior. This award can be given to one student per month and can be based on various criteria, such as academic excellence, good behavior, or improvement. Student of the month awards can be displayed in the classroom or school bulletin board, highlighting the student’s success.

8. Peer Recognition

Peer recognition is another reward idea that can motivate and inspire students. Teachers can encourage students to recognize their peers’ positive behavior or academic achievements. For example, students can be asked to nominate their classmates for outstanding work, good behavior, or helpfulness. Peer recognition can improve classroom relationships and foster a positive classroom environment.

9. Virtual Rewards

Virtual rewards can be an effective way to motivate and engage students in the digital age. These rewards can include online badges, points, or rewards that can be displayed on a student’s computer or mobile device. Virtual rewards can also be used in gamification, where students earn points or badges by completing learning tasks or quizzes.

10. Community Service

Community service is a rewarding experience that can inspire students to become active citizens and contribute to their communities. Teachers can encourage students to participate in community service activities as a reward for their positive behavior or academic achievements. Community service can also improve students’ interpersonal and social skills and increase their awareness of social issues.


Rewards can be powerful tools to motivate and inspire students to achieve their academic and personal goals. The top 10 reward ideas mentioned in this article, such as verbal praise, certificates and awards, homework passes, and community service, have been shown to be effective in research studies. However, it is important to note that rewards should be used in moderation and in conjunction with other motivational strategies, such as setting achievable goals, providing feedback, and creating a supportive learning environment. Additionally, rewards should be tailored to the individual needs and interests of each student, and teachers should use them as a means to promote positive behavior and not as a form of bribery or manipulation.

In summary, the use of rewards in education can have a positive impact on student’s motivation, engagement, and achievement. Teachers can use a variety of reward ideas, such as verbal praise, certificates and awards, classroom privileges, extra credit, and community service, to inspire and motivate students to excel in school and beyond. By combining rewards with other motivational strategies, teachers can create a positive learning environment that supports students’ academic success and personal growth.

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