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Teaching Guidelines: Using Praise Appropriately.

Teaching Guidelines: Using Praise Appropriately.

  • Be clear and systematic in giving praise
    • Examples.
      • 1.       Make sure praise is tied directly to appropriate behavior.
      • 2.       Make sure the student understands the specific action or accomplishment that is being praised. Say, “you finished your task on time with perfect results,” no, “ you were very responsible.”
  • Recognize genuine accomplishments.
    • Examples.
      • 1.       Reward the attainment of specified goals, not just participation.
      • 2.       Do not reward uninvolved students just for being quiet and not disrupting the class.
      • 3.       Tie praise to students’ improving competence or to the value of their accomplishment.
  • Set standards for praise based on individual abilities and limitations.
    • Examples:
      • 1.       Praise progress or accomplishment in relation to the individual student’s past efforts.
      • 2.       Focus the student’s attention on his or her own progress, not on comparisons with others.
  • Attribute the student’s success to effort and ability so the student will gain confidence that success in possible again.
    • Examples:
      • 1.       Don’t imply that the success may be based on luck, extra help, or easy material.
      • 2.       Ask students to describe the problems they encountered and how they solved them.
  • Make praise really reinforcing.
    • Examples.
      • 1.       Don’t attempt to influence the rest of the class by singling out some students for praise.  This tactic frequently backfires, since students know what’s really going on.  In addition, you risk embarrassing the student you have chosen to praise.
      • 2.       Don’t give undeserved praise to students simply to balance failures.  It is seldom consoling and calls attention to the student’s inability to earn genuine recognition.

Reference: Woolfolk, A. “Educational Psychology” 8th edition.

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