Encouraging Instructional Best Practices through Competitions and Games (Gamification)

Posted on Categories Academic/Technical Skill Integration, Professional Development

At a Glance

The Dauphin County Technical School (DCTS) instructional coaches developed Gamification, an inter-staff competition designed to encourage teachers to implement best instructional practices.


To encourage teachers to work with instructional coaches and to promote the use of best practices, DCTS instructional coaches implement an optional professional staff competition called Gamification. The competition requires teams of instructors to complete specific instructional and professional development tasks developed by the coaches.

Gamification runs from January through February and was first implemented during the 2017-2018 school year. To kick off the challenge, the instructional coaches share an iMovie they developed about Gamification during the first faculty meeting in January. They then divide the professional staff members into teams of nine to ten people and send every member of the professional staff an email detailing who is on their team and the specific directions of the competition.

During the two-month challenge, the teams collaborate to try to earn as many points as possible by completing the high-quality instructional tasks and professional development practices created by the instructional coaches. The point total of the tasks varies. Examples of some the tasks include:

  • Make an appointment and then visit a colleague’s classroom while he/she is teaching. Share evidence of your visit. (1 point)
  • Come to lunch ‘n learn to share a strategy you have tried in your area recently or a new topic from your professional learning. (2 points)
  • Develop and implement a Collin’s 3, 4, or 5 writing activity. Share the prompt, rubric and at least 2 student samples. (3 points)
  • Write a lesson plan incorporating before, during and after strategies based on a piece of text. Share the plan including a reflection of how it went. (3 points)
  • Invite a coach to watch a new strategy/tech tool in action or reflect on one with a coach – be sure to have a sample of student work. (4 points)

The instructional coaches send out weekly updates to share point totals and to encourage participants. At the end of Gamification, members of the winning team receive a medal, gift card and a free coffee and donuts breakfast.

Each year the theme of the competition changes, and the tasks change to align with the CTC’s comprehensive plan. Below are links to some Gamification documents that explain the details of the competition.


During the first year of Gamification, approximately 55 percent of DCTS staff members participated. In the second year of Gamification, approximately 60 percent of staff members participated. The instructional coaches find that teachers who participate in the competition are utilizing best practices and collaborating with people outside of their department/academy.



Dauphin County Technical School
Samantha Schultz, Instructional Coach/Reading Specialist