How do you use praise and encouragement in your classroom?

Research taster

Many school behaviour policies include strategies designed to promote praise and encouragement as a way of rewarding pupils. Praise that both expresses approval and which also contextualises behaviour by relating the praise to what the pupil did is particularly effective.  Image How do you use praise and encouragement in your classroom?

Your evidence

You may find it helpful to record two lessons – one that students find easy and engaging and one in which they struggle. A grid using the following headings might help you record your evidence:

How often did you praise pupils, their work or their behaviour? What form did this praise take? Did pupils’ praise each other? Could you work with pupils to help them notice words that signify praise?

Moving forward

Spending time quite deliberately developing your repertoire of words and phrases for praise and encouragement is likely to be time well spent.  Can you find more meaningful comments to replace routine words like ‘good’ that may well lose their effect on the pupils? Would it be useful to make a list of words, phrases and statements that you could use, particularly those that are explicit about the reasons for your praise of work and about what you want to see next? For example:

Can you find positive things to say about all pupils? For example, “I know you’re trying not to be distracted by people, Sue. You did well today; keep it up.”

You may feel more comfortable using some terms than others – would it be best to concentrate on those? Or would rehearsing those that feel less comfortable be helpful? Can you encourage pupils to praise each other using terms previously identified?


LEO publication summary: Praise-be: the effect of praise on student behaviour -

GTCE Research of the Month summary Teachers and school-based research case study 5 at