How much praise should we give to students for their success? (And in what forms?)
When I taught in Fl.,one of the academic teams seemed to have a celebration for EVERY little thing: birthdays, completed work, growth. I wondered when they actually taught anything.
Now, I try to have a celebration in my classroom when students made academic gains or had a successful month of positive behavior. My colleagues think I go over the top with my invites to pizza lunches, my phone calls home before Thanksgiving Break to tell every parent one or two fabulous things about their child, my posters on the wall showing growth or projects or praise.
Where is the balance?
Hi Daisy. First, I would like to let you know that finding a balance between a classroom of kids is not a realistic goal, and that each kid needs their own form of praise. Second, I do not know the age of your students, but in my experience I have found that each child has their price. Several kids might like when their parents are enlightened about their good behavior while other kids just want something tangible. Good tangible forms of praise are snacks for having a good week, a movie for such good grades, and smaller rewards to bolster that individual's confidence in learning. I heavily suggest that you do not mention a good "month" of behavior, because it is too long in-between each praise. Also, it is very unlikely that the child has been good for the whole of the month, and this causes them to forget about any wrongs they have done in your classroom due to a "good month of behavior." This keeps them from learning their lesson. Third, your colleagues do not direct your classroom, because there is only one teacher and that is you with your own teaching strategy. Overall I believe you should get to know what each child likes and use that to better their learning. Thank you for submitting your question!
I already plan on giving a survey of what motivates them to learn and what kind of praise my students want to receive. They are 8th graders, so ages 13-15. I like to hear other teachers' perspectives to discover what else works out there! TY
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