A small research project that I’m working on at the moment is called Drama Heroes. I’m sure it’s nothing new, and we’ve done something like this – but perhaps not in this format. The question of the project is how much can an organised and well publicised reward system help motivate students to improve their attitude to learning and/or their attainment grades.
Drama heroes are students who are hard workers, team players, making good progress and/or high achieves. They can come from anywhere, from classes, drama clubs, production or drama ambassadors. Drama heroes is about celebrating student success and all that is best that drama students can be.
Success comes in many forms, not just to the high achieves. Students can make great leaps of progress over a period of time. Students can overcome their fear of working with others. Students could have understood a concept that they’ve been not quite getting for a long time. All this success needs to be celebrating because success breeds success. If you can show a student where they succeed, give them that optimistic feeling that they could do it again, they most probably will.
There are three ways to become a drama ambassador. Firstly, nominated by the teacher (through data review and observations in lessons). Secondly by student nomination, at the end of every half term students in each class vote for a drama hero. Finally by the Drama Ambassadors, each Drama Ambassador has a free nomination and must agree on two drama heroes.
The reward for being a Drama Hero is purely public praise of the students good work, with a certificate and a badge thrown in for good measure. At the end of the year, a theatre trip is organised and only those who have been Drama Heroes are invited – again a result of the praise rather than specialing people out from the school. Although, because two thirds of the Drama Heroes come from student (justified) nominations a good range of students will be Drama Heroes during the academic year.
As part of the reviewing process of the project I’m going to observe the actions and reactions of those students who have been made Drama Heroes (who take Drama GCSE or A2/A2 Level Drama and Theatre Studies) and monitor firstly their attitude to learning and secondly their attainment grade.
As part of my research, I’d love to hear more from you and your methods of celebrating and rewarding individual student success, particularly if you have a well planned and consistent approach used throughout the year.