MI Monday | Encouraging Student success with Smiley Cards

Welcome to MI Monday I Week 7

Encouraging students is ‘praise for effort’ – for example, you worked really hard for your maths examinations. It can help them continue to work hard in future, and is particularly important for children who are less confident, and lack parental guidance for their studies. Encouragement coupled with rewards can be a very powerful tool to push children harder, and help them persevere in their endeavor to study. 

Today’s micro-innovation focuses on use of ‘smiley card’ as a way to encourage and reward students for their good behavior along with their performance in academics.

Problem statement

Iram and her colleagues at Majeediya Madarsa-e-Jadeed (a small low-income private school in East Delhi) noticed that students would sometimes give up too easily when facing difficulty rather than persevering with their learning and that their behaviour was solely focused on academic results rather than a more holistic
concern for their own development.

Micro-innovation description

To overcome this, Iram introduced Smiley Cards. In order to encourage students who show improvement in their whole development and to persevere in their studies, the school gives a smiley card to the children on showing improvement. Each smiley card holds a value of Rs.25 and the students strive to collect as many smiley cards as possible during an academic session which can be redeemed at the end of the session. Smiley cards are given, for example, for improved academic performance, participation in extra-curricular activities and helping others or volunteering.

Why interesting
This micro-innovation is interesting in that its emphasis on improvement, rather than end results, helps students to focus on continued learning not just on achieving a certain grade.

Potential implementation challenges
Some research on cash-based incentives for students suggests that they may not lead to sustained behavior change (although so far there has not been a great deal of research in India).

Impact so far (according to teacher)
Iram has noticed that students have become more engaged with school since Smiley Cards were introduced and that their all-round behavior has improved.

Download implementation guide for Encouraging Student Success with Smiley Cards. If you are not already doing, then start praising your children for their efforts!

STIR Education

STIR Education

STIR is a UK based charity working in developing countries ( India and Africa) to improve quality of school education by working with teachers in the poorest schools in the region.

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