by Joy Jones
Do you send home a note when a child misbehaves?
Certainly. But do you also tell parents when their
child is doing especially well?
Of course you mark an ‘X’ when the answer is wrong. Do
you also make a mark beside the answers that are right?
of the more attractive features of human nature is that
people respond to praise. Praise or the promise of
reward, motivates people to try harder, try longer, to
behave better, to have hope.
ways you can provide positive reinforcement in the
classroom are easy and simple. You can post outstanding
work on the board, phone parents to report when Juan or
Wanda have improved - not only when he or she is causing
problems. Make a point to catch that troublemaker when
he or she is not acting out and comment on the improved
behavior. Put a star on a student’s paper.
Since it’s so easy and simple, why do so many of us
have trouble giving praise? Sometimes people (falsely)
regard giving out compliments as weak and wimpy.
Particularly, if we want our students to work hard, stay
on task and be disciplined, we fear that if we praise
them, they’ll relax, slack off, or won’t respect the
teacher. Or maybe we have the mistaken belief that
people will only learn to do better if one points out
their mistakes, so praise doesn’t serve any useful
purpose. But praise serves a useful and wonderful
purpose. It inspires our students’ best efforts.
don’t forget - praise doesn’t just work on children.
Maybe if you praise your principal or your spouse every
now and then, you’d see an improvement in their