Optimizing Incentives


It’s hard enough to implement incentives in a classroom, but it’s infinitely harder for us VIPKID teachers. We don’t have a traditional classroom with face-to-face interaction; we have a tiny pop-up window on a 13-inch computer screen. So what sorts of incentives are most effective in this online environment? Here are a few ideas to get us started.

By Jared Noll

  • Classroom Board game: I’ve tried this one before with some students, and they love it! Draw a game board on your white board and use a game piece for the student. Their goal will be to reach the last space of the board before class ends. The number of spaces they move each time depends on how well they do. You can make it more interesting by adding your own game piece and competing against them!
  • Extra Positive Parent Feedback: This is a good one, since we have to leave feedback for students anyway. Let your student know that if they do a REALLY good job, you’ll leave a super positive note about them for their parents to read in the feedback message. Kids love it when we let their parents know how great they’re doing in class!
  • Act A Fool: Many of my students will work that much harder if they know that Mr. Noll will make a fool of himself on screen. Reward good answers with a silly dance, a funny face, or ridiculous animal noises. This works especially well with younger students!
  • Choice: This is a HUGE one, especially for younger kids. Leave a few minutes at the end of class for an extra learning game, but offer your student the choice of deciding which game. Will they get to draw and review body parts on one particular slide, or will they be timed on their alphabet flashcards? Kids love having a say in their learning, and even the smallest choices can make a big difference.

These are just a few of the many, MANY ideas for using incentives in your classroom. The possibilities are limitless, but the important thing is try out different ones until you find one that both you and your kids love. Happy teaching!


Jared has been teaching with VIPKID since April 2015. He currently resides in New Orleans, LA, and has been working in urban education for nearly 3 years.

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