Earn vs. Get

Nov 30, 2014 | by Janice Smith

My first year of teaching I was constantly corrected every time I used the word ‘get’ in my classroom.  “If we’re all really focused today, you’ll get to watch a short clip at the end of class.”  Every time I used the word ‘get’ I was corrected that they weren’t getting anything, they were EARNING it.  Small semantic detail, big difference in the way students viewed the connection between their choices and the resulting action.  You work hard and study hard, you earn an A.  You don’t get anything.

This idea of earning goes beyond just language, and also needs to be intentionally planning opportunities for students to earn things with clear, identifiable actions.  A couple things to keep in mind:

  • Do students  know exactly what they can earn and when?
  • Is it clear what they need to do in order to earn it?  Can they measure their success along the way?
  • What if they make a poor choice?  How do we message NOT earning as intentionally as we do earning, and always providing additional opportunities to make better choices?

Today’s clip is just one example of what this looks like, but head to the library and search ‘Earn It’ to find a lot more!

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