01427 811109 | Over 25 years of supplying books to Schools

Using Praise Effectively In The Classroom

In either a classroom or any child-rearing situation, there comes a time where teachers and parents must decide which technique they’ll adopt when it comes to teaching the young people in their care; but discipline, or praise, can be more than a carrot or the stick scenario.

Used effectively, praise can be one of the most powerful motivators a child can experience, and it can be crucial throughout the periods of their life where they are learning the most. Used too much, and children can become complacent in their learning, and not feel motivated to expand their horizons.

Here, we list a few ways you can spot the correct moments to let your pupils know they’re doing a great job.

Acknowledging Their Efforts

In our working
lives, all of us have experienced moments where we might have tried
particularly hard to strive for better results, only to be met with a mutual
response that can make us feel deflated, and that our extra effort was not
worth it. You should use this same feeling to motivate you towards recognising
when a student has gone above and beyond.

When a pupil has
gone above what you understand to be their usual level of working, this is the
time to let them know “hey, I recognise that you’ve tried really hard here and
that’s great!” In doing this, you’re showing them that:

A) you are paying
attention to them as an individual

B) you’re setting
the quality that you’re now expecting from them because you’ve seen them do it.

Rewarding Excellent Behaviour

It can be tempting
to make an example of a student who has demonstrated poor behaviour, such as
being disruptive to other children, or simply not doing their work. But in a
classroom situation, it might actually be more beneficial to show pupils that
they will be rewarded for good, rather than punished for bad.

Reward and
punishment can be quite a controversial topic amongst teachers and parents,
and some might even say that rewarding good behaviour can be damaging because of the child should be intrinsically motivated to better themselves. Unfortunately,
this seldom works and can oftentimes be wishful thinking, and studies have
shown that children respond well to rewards.

You might consider
rewarding children in the classroom in following ways:


or reward charts


Understanding That Every Pupil is Different

When first beginning teacher training, it is highly likely that one of the first things that will have been instilled into your brain for your new foray into teaching is that every child is different, and when it comes to praising children, the same approach should be applied. The same types of praise or reward will not work for every child, which can lead to frustration for both you and the pupil if both of your efforts are not being recognised.

For example, while some children might really enjoy you mentioning their name in front of the class to say how great they’ve done, others might be mortified by the public recognition and might be likely to shy away from wanting to do well again in case the situation reoccurred.  And while a more boisterous child might meet your private words of praise with a neutral response, they might actually benefit more from seeing that their peers recognise their good behaviour too.  

It’s important to take the time to note which types of praise work for each individual, rather than expect that the same methods of praise will work for everyone. 

Tailoring Your Feedback

Similarly to the
above, when giving feedback, it’s important to recognise not only works for the
individual, but that unique piece of work or behaviour that you’re praising.

If a child has done
something particularly great, the praise should consist of a little more than
just a “well done” or “great” – the reason being that these general phrases do
not really recognise any particular student or their specific behaviour. They
are also really easy to overuse, which means that eventually, they become a part
of the common classroom vernacular and they lose their power.

Instead, try
phrases such as “well done Jack! I can see you tidied up before you went out to
play – thank you” or “great work Kirsty, you tried really hard in your test and
you got a great score”. Both of these examples use the pupil’s name and
recognises the individual behaviour that they’re being praised for, which means
they are more likely to remember this praise and want to repeat the behaviour
that led to it.

While these methods
of praise are effective in acknowledging the efforts of children in the
classroom or at home, it’s important to remember that these are generally great
tips for working with any colleague, and can make for great relationship
building tools in any environment! 

Item added to cart.
0 items - £0.00