How to Encourage Student Pride in the Classroom

Instructor: Laura Gray

Laura lives in the Boise, Idaho area with her husband and children. She holds a B.A. in secondary education (English and social studies) from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, a M.Ed. and Ed.S. in school counseling (K-12) from the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of South Alabama, respectively, and a Ph.D. in instructional design for online learning from Capella University. She teaches online at several colleges and universities across the country and has over 20 years of experience in education.

In this lesson, we will discuss ways in which teachers can instill a sense of pride in their students. This includes pride in accomplishments, pride in work, pride in surroundings, and pride in one another. Updated: 06/17/2022

Pride is Essential

Undoubtedly, you've probably either been a student in, or walked into, a classroom where pride was just oozing from the students. They were proud of their work, they were proud of their classroom, and they were proud of each other. Did you ever wonder how all of that pride, or a sense of feeling good about their surroundings and their accomplishments, came to be? It was encouraged and well orchestrated.

Student pride is important for two reasons. First, pride indicates that students are a part of the learning process, not merely observers. In other words, they have a vested interest in school. Second, students who have pride in their work and in their school actually tend to be more involved in school and earn better grades.

In this lesson, we will talk about fostering students' pride not only in their academic accomplishments, but also in their classroom as a whole and in their peers. We will discuss ways that you as a teacher can help to foster and incorporate that pride.

Pride is Ownership

Ultimately, pride comes from having a sense of ownership in something. So, the first thing we have to remember is that in order for students of any age to have pride in anything, they must first feel as if they have some control over their learning and their ideas matter.

Let's take schoolwork, for instance. Taking ownership isn't such a difficult thing for students to do when they are given choices. For example, try giving your students a choice in the types of assignments they complete. Or ask, 'What do you want to do first? Read in your textbook or work on this report?' Simple things such as this can really be effective in encouraging students to take pride in the work that they do.

Perhaps the easiest way to get students to take pride in their work is to set standards, or have very specific guidelines, for how that work is to be done. Just allowing a child to slap his name on a paper and jot something down really quickly is not going to instill pride.

It is important to let students know details such as how their name should be written on their papers, the format for presenting work, and the process for making revisions. When students better understand the expectations, they are more likely to feel confident and strive to achieve the goal. Everyone, including students, should have goals, no matter how small. Accomplishing these goals instills pride. And, remember, students will perform to your expectations, so it is wise to have very high expectations!

Another tip that will instill pride is to display student work around the classroom. Students of any age enjoy seeing their work displayed in class. And the work you display doesn't necessarily have to be the 'best' of the bunch, either. It can be the most improved work, the neatest work, or any other category that you can think of.

Pride in Surroundings

In addition to having pride in their output, you also want students to have pride in their immediate surroundings - their classroom. Think of it this way: You wouldn't want to sit around in a disorganized pigsty all day, would you? Neither would they.

Give them specific jobs on specific days. For example, it should be someone's job to erase the board on Mondays, someone else's job on Tuesdays, etc. Encourage students to treat the desks, tables, and chairs like furniture in their home. The sense of pride they have for their classroom will very likely carry over into their work.

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