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Positive Reinforcement is one of the most powerful tools in every classroom. According to experts, positive reinforcement should happen three times as often as criticism and correction (Lemov, 2010).
Research indicates that reinforcement strategies are more effective than punishing strategies for increasing and shaping positive behaviors in any learning environment, and that such strategies tend to positively affect task performance and intrinsic motivation (Bennett, C. 2005). Precise Praise Educators are lead to believe that they cannot have both warm and strict teaching styles. However, this is not the case. In fact, teachers should strive to have an equal amount of warmth and strict teaching techniques.
According the the warm/strict paradox, "when teachers are clear, consistent, firm, and unrelenting and at the same time positive, enthusiastic, caring, and thoughtful, they send the message to students that having high expectations is part of caring for and respecting someone" (Lemov, 2010). Warm/Strict Achieving success takes hard work, but another critical factor is the ability to learn from mistakes. If teachers do not encourage students to make mistakes within the classroom, they might find that students will never attempt harder things outside that classroom. Teachers must remind our students that in the classroom it is okay to make mistakes (McIntosh, 2012).
Teachers must provide a safe environment for students to feel like they can make mistakes. Normalize Error Teachers should strive to build characters and trust within their classrooms. The classroom environment should be focused on learning, but safe for students to learn and make mistakes. One way to build character and trust is to promote a respectful environment between students and teachers. This can be accomplished through three techniques: precise praise, warm/strict, and normalize error. Once teachers have created a safe and engaging environment, true learning can happen. MAE 5060
Dr. Montgomery Rules for Positive Praise When using positive reinforcement in a classroom, teachers should consider the following:
Differentiate between acknowledgment and praise:
Teachers should acknowledge when an expectation has been met, and praise when the exception has been achieved. Students who meet expectations should have it noticed and acknowledged as much as possible.
Praise and acknowledge loud; fix soft:
When expectations have been met, teachers should publicly praise the student. This sends the message that the expectation is possible.
On the other hand, when reminders or criticisms are necessary, it should be done with a whisper or nonverbal cues. This allows the student to fix the behavior without being publicly called out in front of his/her peers.
Praise must be genuine:
Students can recognize insincere praise. Teachers must be careful not to praise a student in hopes of fixing a different problem. For example, a teacher should avoid praising a student for doing the correct behavior, in order to get his neighbor next to him, to change her behavior. Works Cited Positive reinforcement (2007). Techniques 82.10+. Retrieved from
http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA162102890&v=2.1&u=tel_p_lpls&it=r&p=PROF&sw=w Bennett, C., Downing, J. and Keating, T. (2005). Effective reinforcement techniques in elementary physical education: the key to behavior management. Physical Educator 62.114+. Retrieved from
http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA138751342&v=2.1&u=tel_p_lpls&it=r&p=PROF&sw=w Examples of Positive Reinforcement Four Ways to make warm/strict style effective 1. Explain to students why you are doing what you are doing:
Teachers must make classroom expectations clear, rational, and logical. Also, teachers must constantly remind students why they do what they do. For example, a teacher may say, "I would love to hear all of your stories, but we have a lot to cover today."
2. Distinguish between behavior and people:
When correcting a behavior, educators need to make sure to correct the behavior that the student is displaying rather than criticizing the student. For example, a teacher may say, "Your behavior is inconsiderate" rather than saying, "You're being inconsiderate".
3. Demonstrate that consequences are temporary:
Once a student has dealt with the consequences of behavior, make sure they know it is in the past, and they are starting over with a clean slate. Furthermore, once the teacher has given the consequence, it is over - do not hold a grudge.
4. Use warm, nonverbal behavior:
Warm, but firm behavior from a teacher will go a long way with children. For example, bend down to the student's eye level, and explain firmly the unwanted behavior. McIntosh, J. (2012). Failing to get an A. Techniques 87. 44+. Retrieved from
http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA305747532&v=2.1&u=tel_p_lpls&it=r&p=PROF&sw=w How can we understand it, learn from it, and recover from it? Wrong Answers: Don't Chasten; Don't Excuse Teachers feel that they must point out every wrong answer. Often teachers criticize students for coming up with the wrong answers or they will make excuses for students who get wrong answers. However, by criticizing errors, it is sending the message to students that it is not okay to make mistakes. In fact, making mistakes and learning from them is part of the schooling process and children must feel comfortable making mistakes in the classroom (Lemvo, 2010). Right Answers: Don't Flatter; Don't Fuss Praising right answers can have two different effects on students. First, when teachers praise the correct answer too much, it can send the message that they are surprised the student got it right. Furthermore, as recent research has shown, praising students for being "smart" diminishes them from taking risks or challenges. In contrast, teachers should praise students for working hard (Lemov, 2010). Example:
For example, teacher may say, "No, we have already covered that; do what you are supposed to do", or, "Oh, that's okay. That was a really hard question." Example:
In most cases when a student gets an answer correct, teachers should acknowledge that the student has done the work correctly and then move on.
For example, "That's right, James. Nice work." Positive reinforcement is typically classified by the following categories:
- Edibles: candy or food choices - water bottles on the desk, chew gum in class, popcorn party.
- Activities: activities that can be enjoyed by groups of students or individuals, extra free play, computer time, no homework days.
- Tangible: personal possessions, toys from the toy box, classroom coupons.
- Social: specific praise, smiling, thumbs-up, verbal praise, nodding in acceptance.
Tokens: tokens, tickets, or bucks that can be traded in for a item valued by the student.
(Positive Reinforcement, 2008). Lemov, D. (2010). Teach like a champion: 49 techniques that put students on the path to college. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc Pub. Positive reinforcement: What happens when students follow classroom and school expectations? (2008). Project IDEAL. Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities. Retrieved from http://www.projectidealonline.org/classMgt_PositiveReinforcement.php