Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

April 15, 2010

How should successful and innovative teaching and teachers be rewarded?


    4-13-2010 – 18:00 CET 12 PM EST    

How should we reward great teachers?


@shellterrell and I were excited to be back at edchat this week after attending the IATEFL conference in Harrogate (only 30 mins away from my home!!). It was a gr8 meetup of many twitter EFL/ESL teachers some of whom are regulars at #edchat!

As ever the discussion for last nights topic was lively and included concensus as well as healthy argument! Here are some of the main ideas expressed.

  • Should rewards even be necessary in education?
  • Isn’t success in the job a reward in itself?
  • How do we measure successful teaching in the first place in order to assign rewards?
  • Being sent to conferences, asked to make presentations, given recognition might be the best rewards
  • Given tenure might work as a reward
  • Having influence over projects or equipment for the class or department as a reward for good work
  • Funding for training and career opportunities would be a welcome reward for many teachers
  • Happy, satisfied students who achieve their goals is definitely a reward for a job well done!
  • Rewards can be divisive and cause problems withing the organisation/team
  • Success is relative so should we be looking at rewarding it at all
  • Traditional rewards can often be punishing (extra workloads, responsibilities etc..)

Here are some of the comments

rkiker: students say it cant be based on grades, because teachers will cheat 🙂 also students dont like bonuses, because it makes too much competition and that is not teaching

eduinnovation: What is the measure of “success” that is being used to based the “reward” on? What is a ‘reward” different for many..$$, recognition

cybraryman1: Education costs money, but then so does ignorance. — Claus Moser

akenuam:teachers should be rewarded with respect first and foremost, creative freedom next, and theres always the salary conversation.

flourishingkids: Teachers who give back by mentoring, taking extra training should be rewarded by stipends to study/pursue more learning opps.

ShellTerrell: Why does Edu policy punish tchrs – take tenure, fire, limit benefits? Edu policy pro teachers would be reward for me!

MissCheska: What about giving teachers venue to showcase their good work? Let them present @ conferences, speakers, etc

MZimmer557: we are “rewarding” teachers who use tech by providing tech to them as part of my job…so far it seems to be working. More FLIP use

olafelch: There are already a lot of suggestions for reward, but we are all skipping around the subject of how to measure success.

Julian3576: @ShellTerrell #edchat Should teachers be seen as Chiefs striving for Michelin Stars, refining menu of teaching to gain top recognition?

doctorjeff: There is reward for professional service, personal reward, but fundamentally reward needs to be driven by ed goals.

bhsprincipal: How many teachers work in places where progressive ideas are encouraged? How many work in a place where the status quo is OK?

michellek107: More rewards 4 teachers- districts should publicize innovative and successful teachers more. Rather hear good news than bad.

Blythe_Musteric: @Mamacita But don’t you think, that with more money, we could recruit more talent? Just a thought…

doctorjeff: KEEP FAITH: We as teachers need to embrace this noble profession & why we joined, even if educational system we work for may not.

k_shelton: @rliberni certainly. I am fine with accountability, just have issue with the method and who is doing the evaluating

MZimmer557: I find this rewarding, chatting with my PLN. Why is it so hard to get other teachers to feel rewarded like me?

ESLlibrary: Teachers of language have more room to be innovative. But does that amount to success hence reward?

rliberni: RT @ShellTerrell: @doctorjeff Let’s organize this dream team then we have plenty here in #edchat

j_ashton: Admin. impact on education is magnified both good and bad as they set the stage. Increase # of good admin = Increase # of good tch.

harrisonmike: @colport Shall we start up #ukedchat RT @akenuam: @ShellTerrell see we need local #edchat chapters for grassroots organizing *winks*

olafelch: Consistent performance over and above the timetable requirements could be rewarded with sponsored conference tickets.

seanbanville: Seconded – RT @malcolmbellamy: here is a big thank you as my reward to all of my colleagues for this #edchat

MatthiasHeil: Can we talk about working with students next time? Too much self-centered reflection makes me sad…-) #edchat

To follow the complete discussion see here  

 For the stats on #edchat participation see here  

 As ever, there were some great links shared: 

MatthiasHeil: Teacher Salaries – International Comparison: http://bit.ly/94qWdL

Brunsell: Highest paid degrees (2010 survey)…education is not on the list. http://www.teachingscience20.com/

akenuam: Teach for America has a teachign as leadership rubric which is among the best i have seen- http://bit.ly/ca1PB7

ericmacknight: Merit pay etc attacks prob at wrong end of the beast http://is.gd/br8EU

worsttofirst: Who Was Your Favorite Teacher? Share your #FavTeacher http://ow.ly/1xWkC

mooresclassroom: PLN question inspired by the latest TED talk: What photos have inspired you to take action? http://bit.ly/aYuDtu

HuffPostDenver: Colorado #teachers face battle for #tenure in legislature: http://huff.to/cMLUF9. Do we grant tenure too easily?

web20education: Join free http://web20ineducation2010.ning.com/ to discuss about new tehnologies in education in 2010

doctorjeff: @harrisonmike I wrote up my concerns in an essay at HuffPost addressing the U.S. crisis: http://bit.ly/4MeSYu

doctorjeff: My open letter to President Obama: http://bit.ly/hdYxI

wmchamberlain: RT @nwevaluation: Obama’s Plan to Reward Schools for Innovation Sparks Congressional Debate: http://ow.ly/1xXvO #edchat (couldn’t resist 😉

teaching_w_tech: What do students want? Teachers that use technology: http://bit.ly/a177nd

New to Edchat?

If you have never participated in an #Edchat discussion, these take place twice a day every Tuesday on Twitter. Over 800 educators participate in this discussion by just adding #edchat to their tweets. For tips on participating in the discussion, please check out these posts!   

More Edchat


If you’re new to hashtag discussions, then just show up on Twitter on any Tuesday and add just a few tweets on the topic with the hashtag #edchat.   

What do you think about teacher rewards? Leave a comment!



  1. It’s been forever since I participated in #edchat, and once again I missed out on a great discussion. It seems to me that there was some consensus that payment is not the only reward–with freedom to innovate, funds for technology, and tenure as alternatives.

    @olafelch raised a huge issue, though, of measuring success. In private language schools, this is often just how many students sign up (pay up) for the next term. In the US, teachers (and administrators and schools) are often measured by test scores. Many schools use student evaluations of teachers and some include organized administrative evaluations.

    If we’re rewarding success, then we have to have a measure for success. For language learners, their own personal goals could be a good measure–advancement at work, admission to school, self satisfaction. I suppose these could be obtained from student evals. These are notoriously difficult to validate, however.

    Rewarding innovation seems more difficult and easier at the same time. On the one hand, simply recognizing “outside the box” ideas should encourage more of them. On the other, how does one determine which innovations are good ones?

    No solutions here, just questions and comments. Once again, a fantastic discussion!

    Comment by John Brezinsky — April 15, 2010 @ 4:12 pm | Reply

    • Thank you John for taking the time to comment. You are right, part of the problem of looking for new ways and solutions to what are often ‘old’ questions is that it really brings up more questions. It is wonderful to have this platform where we can question and brainstorm ideas in an uninhibited way. As a language trainer myself, I can identify with your comments about students’ choices but I also feel that this is part of the testing culture that we all seem to live in today and this has become the benchmark for many things in education. I remember when students chose language schools because of the extent to which they were able to use the target language in the classroom and because the teachers were fun!

      I feel with language learning, certainly with adult students, their own evaluations have great validity for them as individuals as they know whether they are able to perform at the level and within the areas that are expected of them. Where performance requires external validation then of course we do need to use other methods. My own personal ‘gripe’ with tests is that they can often limit development as they close doors and students sometimes feel they have ‘arrived’ which with language can often be only a temporary state and skills will deteriorate rapidly unless maintained!

      Innovation I guess will become the norm or fade away but it is a life-blood and without it what would society look like? Edchat is one place to explore and engage.

      Comment by rliberni — April 15, 2010 @ 6:39 pm | Reply

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