I have a prize pouch. Not a treasure chest, a prize pouch. I teach from a studio, so I carry a lot of my lesson items with me. The pouch seems to survive that nomad life a little better than a box. :) The pouch I'm currently using was a gift when a student I played harp at a function for a local Salvation Army ladies' group some time ago.
So, what should you put in your prize pouch? Just about anything. You can include jewelry, candy, stickers, kids' meal toys, lip balm (sealed), bookmarks,etc. You can even include things that you get free in the mail (bookmarks, notepads, pens). If you keep your ears out, I bet people would even be willing to donate things they no longer want.
Who gets prizes? Anyone and everyone who earns one can get a prize! Yes, adults too (although I do use it much more frequently with the kids....I might've only used it once with an adult student...maybe I should change that)! I suppose it depends on the adult, as you don't want to make adult students feel you are treating them like children. However, I think prizes are awesome and would like them! Some incentives for students to earn a prize from the prize pouch include practice charts, memorizing the order of the flats and/or sharps, completing the Potato Head, completing a theory or other lesson book, or just having an exceptional lesson.
How do you make sure the prize-picking doesn't take up the entire lesson? For my kid students, I usually set a number that I count to, and they must choose their prize by then....or at least about then. It makes it kind of a game (making things a race against the clock really seems to help kids get things done!). At this time, I prefer to give a student the prize s/he has earned very soon after it has been earned. Then if the student has a less-than-stellar lesson, s/he still received the prize earned, but it doesn't seem like the student is rewarded for poor behavior. Two potential drawbacks to this this are: the student could take up much of the lesson time choosing a prize (but see above on averting that), and the student is distracted by the prize during the lesson. One idea to avoid the distraction is to have the student keep the prize in his/her lesson bag until the lesson in complete.
Do you use prizes in your lessons? How? If you're an adult student (including my students!), how would you feel if your teacher offered you prizes at your lessons? Let me know in the comments, on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!
Welcome to the blog! I'm Barbara, and I work as a freelance harpist and private music educator. You can read my bio here. On the blog, you can find posts about various aspects of this career path, especially teaching and crafty stuff. Thank you for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you in the comments or on social media. And don't forget to subscribe to the email list for updates!
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