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Positive Reinforcement

Positive Reinforcement

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What ways do you use positive reinforcement in your classroom to prevent behaviors?

This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

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Holly Willis's picture
Holly Willis
Former Social Media Marketing Assistant at Edutopia

Hi Maddi -

Thanks for asking this question! Because questions on positive reinforcement come up often, I decided to ask our Twitter followers for their input. Here are some of their responses.

Edutopia: Question: Do you use positive reinforcement in your classroom? Does it help? Collecting info for a HS #teacher.

Garry: Yes. In a band classroom it is absolutely necessary to keep students encouraged, and motivate them to continue improving on skills

Mohammad: Positive reinforcements are great in tackling behaviour issues especially in the primary stage. Focus on the positives.

Katrina: Positive reinforcement works very well with my first graders. Some individuals respond better than others.

Kristyan: Yes and yes. We link it to effort and persistence

Melissa: Yes- Teens need kind words, especially with writing.

Daniel: Pos. reinforcement I do: daily verbal affirmation & fist bumps, weekly talks on life, gifts & acts of service occasionally.

Miss L: I think it can help when used sparingly but I don't think it teaches children that we do things because it's necessary or good.

Hope this helps!

Georgia Yam's picture
Georgia Yam
Secondary school teacher of Science and whatever else they throw my way. UK

I use loads of praise. My secondary school kids love stickers, don't think that they have grown out of that just because they are in high school! For the lower years I also use classdojo.com which was a massive success as they love to earn the positive points - you can then use this to send a positive note home, or write your own positive note home. I'm convinced of this strategy by this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Srjutq3S0XE

Forever Learning's picture
Forever Learning
Second grade teacher from New Jersey

I read the positive reinforcement is most effective when the child is told what he did right "You really listened" instead of saying "You are really smart". The study showed when students were told they were smart, they were less willing to take risks and the students who were told they worked hard or they listened well were willing to try harder tasks.

Corah's picture

I use a lot of 'I see that X is sitting quietly and is ready' then as the rest are also moving to sit quietly they also get their 'I see that B is sitting quietly and is ready'. It works quite nicely for transition times.

Norsy Moffo's picture
Norsy Moffo
Eighth grade math teacher from Union City, NJ

I too use praise with my 8th graders. I use stickers on anything from homework to test. If by some chance I forget to put one on a particulars student's paper, they will ask that I put it on. I think they equate that sticker with a sense of accomplishment. I also use praise notes. I use them to recognize any good deed a student may have done as well as for good academics. So for example, if a student does well on an assignment, I will leave a note that may say Great job, I know you worked really hard on this. They love this! It always puts a smile on their faces.

Jennifer Batron's picture

A positive reinforcement tool I use in my 4th grade classroom is a "Caught Being Good" chart. Each child has their name on a grid in the room, and whenever another student or teacher catches them being a good citizen they are able to add a sticker to the chart. They are not allowed to "notice" themselves, and I keep the stickers under close watch so they don't add them when they shouldn't. Every time they get 10 stickers they get some kind of reward. It can be something as simple as using my chair for the day to getting to eat lunch with me. They love to see their stickers add up, and it's a great way to get them looking for the good in others.

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