Teaching With Joy

May 2004


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?

     One 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.

     The 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.

     And 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 behavior, too.

Joy Jones is a third generation teacher, a playwright and the author of Between Black Women: Listening With the Third Ear, the acclaimed children’s book, Tambourine Moon, and Private Lessons: A Book of Meditations for Teachers.  You may view her web site at: www.JoyJonesOnline.com.

FAQ l Privacy l About Us l Survey l Advertise l Contact Us


Books by Joy Jones:





Last Updated: 08/12/2010                                     Copyright © 2000-2007 TeacherView.com