Using Scratchcards As Rewards

Would you use scratchcards as a behaviour motivator?

I saw the following Tweet recently and loved the novelty of using scratchcards in class.

The idea is simple enough – when a pupil is given a reward for something (i.e. not shouting out in class) they are given a scratch card. These are cards you create by writing a message and covering part of that message (a reward) using a scratch off label. The label is printed with a special silver ink that when scratched reveals the message underneath.

But then I wondered whether they were really necessary. I like the idea and it is fun but the problem is that the cards can become an expectation. Children will love the idea and want you to keep it going. Fine, until you factor in the cost – 100 scratch rectangles is £6.99 per 100 so not a cheap option for the year.

Then there is the problem that one enthusiastic teacher uses the scratchcards but no one else does and therefore you have set up an instant popularity contest. Your colleagues won’t thank you for that.

The idea of using scratchcards isn’t a bad one and you could argue that they do no harm but I think they could be as pointless as giving stickers by being overused. I think they do have a role though and could be used for games, class prizes, team building activities or as part of a lucky dip in a fundraising event. They are particularly good for personalising a message.

But do we really need scratchcards for behaviour when actually all we need is to reward verbally? It might leave you scratching your head but at least give it a go and then decide.

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