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January 29, 2020 Wednesday 04:09:43 PM IST

Praise, rather than punish; and teachers may see magic in classroom

Teacher Insights

A new study published in Educational Psychology says that teachers should focus on praising children rather than telling them off for being disruptive to improve behaviour in class and for good behaviour. The study was led by Dr. Paul Caldarella, at Brigham Young University. It involved a research team that sat in 151 classes, in 19 elementary schools across Missouri, Tennessee, and Utah.

The children observed were shown to focus on tasks up to 20% to 30% more when teachers were required to consider the number of praise statements given, compared to the number of reprimands.

In half of the classrooms, teachers followed a behavioral intervention programme called CW-FIT, where students are told about the social skills they are expected to show in lessons and rewarded for doing so. In the other half of the classes, teachers used their typical classroom management practices. The study showed a relationship between the ratio of praise to reprimands (PRR) used by the teachers and the extent students focused on class activities. In other words, the more teachers praised and the less that they scolded, the more students attended to the teacher or worked on assigned tasks.

The difference was such that children in classes where the PRR was highest, the pupils spent 20-30% longer focusing on the teacher or task compared to those in classes where the praise to reprimand ratio was lowest. This relationship was present across both CW-FIT and ordinary classes.


The results suggest that praise is a powerful tool in a teacher’s arsenal, inspiring students to work harder – particularly those difficult to reach children who may struggle academically or be disruptive in class. Previous studies have shown a clear link between the time spent by students attending lessons and their academic achievement, suggesting that praise could boost learning and improve children’s grades too.

(Content Courtesy: https://newsroom.taylorandfrancisgroup.com/praise-rather-than-punish-to-see-up-to-30-greater-focus-in-the-classroom/)


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