When and when not to give praise and reward
Praising a child is imperative within teaching and I believe that if you give children praise correctly, you are sure to get the best out of them in the classroom. A positive learning environment in the classroom is what you are striving to achieve and giving praise lets the children know that you are acknowledging their good work or good behaviour. As an NQT, knowing when to give praise effectively can be tricky, showing praise for something that a child should be doing anyway‚Ä¶ E.G. sitting down nicely, or concentrating, or generally learning! And yet teachers with years of teaching experience behind them still fall victim to similar traits. There are common errors that many a teacher make when it comes to praising, probably without even knowing. Telling children they have done superbly for everything they do, relevant or irrelevant, or telling the children how fantastic they are just for doing what is expected of them, are popular ways of over praising a child. The problem with doing this is that there is no distinguish between doing well and doing what is expected. If a pupil knows they are going to get praised whatever they do, they may not give it their best, as they know the same outcome will still apply. A child is expected to sit down nicely and be ready for learning. A child is expected to stand in line quietly before entering a classroom. A child is expected to put their hand up rather than shouting out an answer to a question. Picking out a child who is modelling excellent behaviour is a great way to get other children in the class to follow. Debatably, I would argue is it worthy of a house point simply for doing what is expected? The argument is that the child is being rewarded for modelling good behaviour, but I can‚Äôt help but think and compare getting a house point for sitting nicely to getting a house point for excellent work. I child has been recognised for showing great achievement and been rewarded with a house point. This would give a child a greater sense of well-being knowing that they had worked hard to earn that point rather than simply standing up quietly or raising their hand to a question rather than shouting. There will be teachers that throw house points around willy-nilly for the slightest good thing, which is nice for the children and makes the wall chart look pretty, but realistically it does not represent academic achievement. As a teacher, I like my students to earn their house points, so that when they do receive one, there is a greater sense of achievement. Some would argue that I might be being tight or stingy, thrifty with house points if you will, but let‚Äôs not use them for any old situation.
So I hear you ask, how would I acknowledge that a child is modelling excellent behaviour?
If it is your bread and butter settling the children after break time, getting them calm ready for listening after an activity‚Ä¶ simply mentioning a child‚Äôs name who is ready for the lesson is sufficient. For example:
‚ÄúIsn‚Äôt Sarah sitting beautifully?!‚Äù
Follow this with another child‚Ä¶
‚ÄúAnd Jack is sitting amazingly too!‚Äù
‚ÄúAnd Jermain, and Lilly, and Mohammed‚Ä¶‚Äù
The children will all follow suit eventually and copy so that they get noticed too. I don‚Äôt believe this is a house point moment unless a child is constantly ready for the next part of the lesson. Only then would I highlight the continuous top behaviour and reward a house point.
Getting the children to line up straight and be quiet is not really a house point giving moment in my eyes. The lesson needs to begin, the children need to do what is expected. Again, you can select individuals that are modelling good standards, but house points for this‚Ä¶ hmmm?
I really admire selfless acts, which I deem worthy of a house point. This is to the teacher‚Äôs discretion, but, as an example, seeing one pupil help another pupil who was in difficulty, or helping a teacher without being asked, little kind gestures that are unprovoked or requested. The more you teach, the more you will naturally know when the right time is to give reward of a well done, or well done!‚Ä¶ house point for that!
If admittedly you do find these situations tricky, why not try some of my ideas next week and see if they work!!!