Award Season and Students
February 21, 2022
If you’re a movie fan like me, then you’re probably aware that the Academy Award nominations were revealed not too long ago. For my part, I always enjoy seeing what new films are up for recognition. It’s fun to speculate about the results. Who will win best actor or actress? Which film will take its place among the long list of Best Picture winners? Personally, I’m always a little curious to find out which film will win Best Animated Feature Film.
But the Oscars also get me thinking about how we as humans recognize accomplishment. Sometimes, the movie that wins Best Picture isn’t the one that goes down in history (Sorry Shakespeare in Love, but most people agree you come in second to Saving Private Ryan). There is also the fact that some talents get overlooked. Best Costuming rarely gets the same recognition as Best Actor. And what about those who work behind the scenes like stunt doubles? They often play a bigger role than most viewers realize.
From the Academy to the Classroom
There can only be one winner at the Academy Awards, but the classroom should be different. Education is not about winning but ensuring that students grow into curious, creative, and critical thinkers. As such, it’s important that we recognize accomplishment a little differently. Rather than relying on report cards and tests grades, teachers make recognition and feedback a daily ritual. It’s our responsibility to show students that their work matters even when they’re not winning any awards.
Here are just a few ways you can encourage and affirm the hard work your students are doing in your classroom:
- Recognize Improvement: Always remember to take a moment and commend students on their hard-won victories. It can be the student who worked hard to raise their grade in math by one letter. Or it could be the student who struggles with reading who gave a solid book report. Simply be acknowledging these small improvements, we show students that we’re invested in their success.
- Recognize Effort: Every student has their strengths and weaknesses. Some might even struggle with a learning disability. As such, it’s important for teachers to recognize the effort students make – even when they don’t succeed. Simply saying, “I can tell you’re really trying hard” can help struggling students persevere. Also compliment them on their ability to work as a team or for asking good questions. After all, these qualities are a key part of learning too.
- Recognize SEL: Never underestimate the importance of social-emotional learning. Skills like self-management, empathy, and social awareness are a crucial part of any professional environment. If we expect our students to grow into successful adults, we need to show them that interpersonal skills are just as important as academic ones. So, take a moment to recognize these virtues and encourage your students to do the same.
- Recognize Passion: What projects or hobbies are your students passionate about? Do they like sewing? Creating musical mashups? Collecting crystals? These interests could lead them into exciting fields of study and maybe even successful careers! When you build lessons around topics that students are passionate about, your classroom gets fired up about learning!
Just because a student doesn’t have a shelf lined with trophies doesn’t mean they can’t make a positive impact on their world. In fact, it is the people behind the scenes who often have the greatest influence. So, let’s remember to make encouragement and recognition a regular part of our daily routine. A little affirmation could change the world!