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What ways do you use positive reinforcement in your classroom to prevent behaviors?
Hi! I'm new here, and just "getting my feet wet". In reference to positive reinforcement, I just read something interesting. In Teaching With Love and Logic, it talks about saying, "I noticed that you..." instead of "I like that you..." because using the word "like" gives the impression that the student is working to please the teacher, rather than for him or herself. Any thoughts on this?
Wendy, all educators who think about the question of how we facilitate intrinsic motivation versus the conventional rewards/punishments which extoll extrinsic motivation are always thinking about both the explicit and latent functions of our practice, welcome!
Hi Wendy, welcome to the community!
There's been some really interesting research lately comparing the value of praising a child's innate qualities ("You're so smart!") versus their process ("You worked so hard!"). Turns out that one (process) is much more effective than the other.
Here are a couple of articles that go into more depth:
All praise is ripe with dangers regardless of our intent, I would strongly encourage taking a look at any of the research done by Alfie Kohn, "PUNISHED BY REWARDS: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes". He does a nice job and is extraordinarily well documented in showing the danger of turning students into little "us" robots inadvertently.
I love watching the teachers in action in the Whole Brain videos. So far I've watched many of them over and over again. They are great models for motivational teaching.
Whole Brain Teaching is amazing! I loved watching the teachers over and over again. I want to implement as many ideas as I can next year.
If a particular student is acting out I try to find someone around the student who is showing great behavior. I tell them that I love how nicely they are sitting at the carpet, with their hands in their lap. I might do this to a few more kids. Usually that student wants you to notice them so they start to do the behaviors you noticed. This works for me with Kindergarten, I haven't tried it out in other grades though.
I have seen a number of teachers use positive reinforcement throughout the day in many different ways! However, I have seen the most improvement in student behavior when specific positive feedback is provided for them. For example, just saying good job is not sufficient. The students must know what they did right so they can keep it up! Here are a few examples that I think work well. "You really learned how to..." " That's a resourceful way of..." "You are a real problem solver for..." "You worked so hard on..." "I like the way you..." and there are many many more! One of my personal favorites is "you must be proud of yourself for..." This gives the students the verbal praise but also teaches them how to be proud of themselves for something. It shows what is something they should be proud of. Hope this helps!
I agree with Brittany, "Good job!" is the absolute worst!
Carol Dweck, author of Mindset, has some great advice on using praise, and her primary advice is to praise effort, and reinforce the idea that we can become better at things through hard work. http://www.aft.org/pdfs/americaneducator/spring1999/PraiseSpring99.pdf
I've started pointing out students who are doing a great job. Like someone said earlier, if there is a child who is not sitting quietly on the carpet, I will point out someone who is doing a good job. I've recently read an article, Caring Behavior Management: The Spirit Makes the Difference by Karen Paciotti, she discusses different strategies that implement positive reinforcement. One way was similar to the chart method mentioned in another post. When a students is caught making a good choice, then they will get a sticker or object. I think I am going to try and implement something similar in my classroom. Hopefully it works well!