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The Art of Positive Reinforcement?

Updated on August 30, 2014
 Positive reinforcement is a stimulus which increases the frequency of a particular behavior using rewards that are pleasant to students.
Positive reinforcement is a stimulus which increases the frequency of a particular behavior using rewards that are pleasant to students.
What could be the best technique that we can utilize to put positive reinforcement for more effective classroom discipline?
What could be the best technique that we can utilize to put positive reinforcement for more effective classroom discipline?

As teachers, we are always confronted with problems involving discipline. Sometimes it is indeed very difficult for us to think about a specific technique that will fit not only one but all of the classes we are handling. What could then be the best technique that we can utilize to put positive reinforcement for more effective classroom discipline?

Here is a list of ten suggested specific techniques that the teachers can make use of or adopt in a classroom setting.

1. Teach specific directions.

Few teachers realize how many of their discipline problems are a consequence of poor, vague or unspecific directions.

To maximize good behavior, teachers should teach students exactly what is required. This will take some forethought and at least a little effort but it well worth the time it takes.

The wise teacher can maximize good behavior by making expectations for behavior which is clear, direct and unambiguous that ever students will know precisely what is expected. Some expectations will increase the likelihood that the students will behave as wanted.

2. Look for good behavior.

This will require following through by looking for those who are complying with the expectation.

The message to give students is that attention is always focused on those doing what is expected.

3. Praise effectively.

Verbal praise can be a powerful tool if teachers understand the requirements of effective praise. One is that the teacher gives descriptive details. Teachers should describe the specific thing they like about the student’s behavior.

Concentrate on the behavior rather than on the person. Use what is called “anticipatory praise” to encourage students to behave in the way that the teacher would like.

4. Model good behavior.

Most teachers realize that a student behavior is learned from example than from admonitions. The teacher should demonstrate how things ought to be done.

5. Use nonverbal reinforcement.

Teachers can go beyond modeling to use a variety of practices that show approval for the behavior wanted. Most teachers eventually learn to use smiles, nods and touch to show approval. Truly effective behavior modifiers use a great deal of nonverbal reinforcement. As teachers teach, they could look at students and smile as if to say: “I see you are paying attention.”

6. Establish token economics.

Rewards or reinforcers are contingent upon the student’s demonstrating a specific behavior. Token economic are ways by which students can see their progress toward some long-range goals that is contingent upon the accumulation of successive approximations toward the goal.

7. Let students determine the reinforcers for appropriate behavior.

This could be done by giving the student opportunity to identify what they want for rewards and to exercise choice in setting up a token economic.

8. Teach students to reinforce one another.

Give students an opportunity to practice what is been modeled.

9. Teach students to reinforce themselves.

Students’ complementing themselves on their own behavior can improve self-concept.

10. Vary positive reinforcement.

There are numerous ways and techniques we can use to enliven and improve the way we teach and handle our students. It is, in a way, a form of continued education for us in facing up the challenges of the changing times and attitudes of our students.

New techniques, new reinforcers and new ideas can keep a classroom sparkling. Vary any typical practices by having some surprise reinforcers.


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