Managing classroom behavior as a teacher can be an intimidating task. However, it is crucial to ensure students learn effectively, especially those with or at risk of emotional and behavioral disorders. Although increasing teacher praise and decreasing teacher reprimand are considered the best practices, additional empirical evidence is required for those practices to be considered evidence based.
Researchers at the BYU McKay School of Education studied 65 elementary school teachers and 239 students across three states. In their study, they contrasted the effects of higher rates of teacher praise and lower rates of teacher reprimands on student engagement and disruptions. They found that higher rates of teacher praise and lower rates of teacher reprimands were associated with increased student engagement and decreased disruptions. This was the case especially for at-risk students who appeared more sensitive to teacher behavior than their developing peers.
These results encourage teachers, as well as parents, to increase praise and decrease reprimands to help children reach their full potential, especially for children with emotional or behavioral problems.
Paul Caldarella, Associate Professor, Director of the Positive Behavior Support Initiative, Center for the Improvement of Teacher Education and Schooling
Photo courtesy of Paul Caldarella
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