One of the most integral parts of any classroom management program is the use of effective praise. Children know when you are being sincere and when you are just placating them. You want to get into the habit of using praise with your students that motivates them to continue to exhibit positive behavior and productive work effort.
• provides information
• specifies commendable aspects of the task
• attributes success to effort and ability
• implies that similar successes can be expected in the future
• encourages student appreciation for their effort
• is expressed sincerely, showing spontaneity, variety and other non-verbal signs of recognition
Let’s take the previous information just a step further. When you give effective praise…
⇒ Identify a specific accomplishment:
“Sizzling was an excellent choice of adjective that you used to describe the sun.”
⇒ Give a particular student attention:
“Jason, I really like the way you got right to work on your journaling, you must have some interesting things to share today.”
⇒ Focus the student on their positive behavior:
“You should be proud of the way you are sitting quietly and following directions.”
⇒ Help the student to understand the value of his or her accomplishments:
“Your explanation of how you answered that word problem helped your classmates to see a new way that they might want to use to try to solve a similar problem.”
⇒ Be constructive in your praise.
“I like how Monique is waiting so patiently for her turn to drink.”
⇒ Help the student appreciate their own progress:
“I am so impressed how you leave such clear spaces between your words, you don’t even need to use your finger to remind you anymore!”
⇒ Recognize old and new accomplishments:
“First you learned to count to ten and now you can add numbers that are more then ten.”
⇒ Credit the student’s effort to succeed:
“I see that you are working hard to improve your spelling, you spelled more words correctly this week then you did last week.”
⇒ Show the student you focused on their work because you could see that they were enjoying their learning process.
“I admire how you added some amazing details to your illustration. You looked like you were really enjoying what you were doing.”
Encourage your students to strive for improvement, NOT perfection, in personal as well as academic areas. Recognize effort and accomplishments, even the small ones. Emphasize strengths and minimize weaknesses. Teach students to learn from their mistakes, and to understand that mistakes are not failures. Promote motivation from within and let students know that you have faith in their abilities. Finally, have faith in yourself to work on your own self-improvements and praise your own accomplishments small and large.
Please note that the information in this blog was modified from “Teacher Praise: A Functional Analysis” by JE Brophy. A similar article you might be interested in reading is "Effective Praise" by Leah Davies, M.Ed.
"In elementary school, many a true word is spoken in guess." Harry Youngman