At schools all around New Zealand
prizegiving is coming up to recognise and celebrate students who have worked
hard and achieved highly. Most schools use these sorts of schemes to reward
their “star pupils.” But there is often some form of unease among teachers and
parents who argue awards can do more harm than good: that, if not managed
carefully, they encourage unhealthy competition or an expectation of reward. So
does this mean we should cancel prizegiving’s altogether? Absolutely not!
While I agree that there is a wrong way to
do prizegiving, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a right way. It also doesn’t mean
that students who have worked hard all year should not be acknowledged. Students
are often very enthusiastic about awards they receive, not only does it make
them feel proud of themselves, but it helps them to realise teachers really
I believe that awards inspire students to work
to their highest potential. Giving out an award to students who have achieved
something is a way to make students feel like they can achieve something if
they work hard. This helps young people to learn early on that their actions
can have an effect on how they will do in life and that the harder the work the
more they will achieve.
It is also a mechanism to promote a little
bit of healthy competition. With a goal for students to work towards students
will be encouraged to complete their work to the highest standard possible,
rather than just complete it to a passable standard. At the end of the day, competition
is a factor in life that will show up time and time again in the workplace.
School is a good place to learn how to treat competition in a healthy manner,
without letting it take over your life! It seems like there is no better place
to start being competitive than in your years at school.
Giving out awards at school encourages kids
to not just get passing grades, but to strive to get the best possible grades
they can. If you don’t get any more credit for getting amazing grades, what is
the point for working hard? Would this leave kids thinking all they need to do
is the bare minimum? Awards encourage kids to do their best and getting
recognition will make them want to do just that little bit more.
An awards ceremony is a special day for many
students receiving awards, and it gives an opportunity for the students to be
recognized by their peers, teachers and family members that have supported them
throughout the years. However, if you are going to award certificates, the key
thing is to make sure they are inclusive. There is something in every child to
recognise. Categories should be all-inclusive, covering every subject and
after-school activity, from theatre to dance to speech and debate. This gives the
opportunity for students to be recognized for things other than grades.
At the end of
the day, prizegiving is just one day out of the whole year. It is designed for
the school community to feel happiness for their peers, not jealousy. Are we
really so scared to celebrate success?
- Can you think of any flaws with
- What are some cons of
prizegiving? Does it make students feel left out?
- Should prizegiving celebrate
more than academic success?
- Ask your peers and/or your
teacher what they think about prizegiving. Do they think it is a good idea.
- Has prizegiving motivated you
to work harder? Why/why not?
- Explain how you think
prizegiving should be run and what awards should be given.