Positive Feedback and Classroom Environment
Student work is typically met by teacher feedback on a number of important items, including his or her achievement, progress, and skills. How that feedback is structured and delivered is a matter for debate among educators. The method and type of feedback teachers use in response to appropriate or inappropriate student behavior shapes the classroom environment (Conroy, Sutherland, Snyder, Al-Hendawi, & Vo, 2009). A potential role for administrators is to prescribe and model effective feedback for teacher use within the classroom. This administrative role broaches an important question: What constitutes effective feedback? For each student, teachers actively make a choice between delivering criticism or praise, and they also must decide to what extent the specificity of their feedback goes. An examination of feedback’s role in the classroom herein has been undertaken with an eye toward how feedback can be delivered effectively and what role administrators can play in raising awareness within the faculty they serve.
Praise and Student Behavior
Teachers who choose to recognize and value appropriate behavior with positive responses directly reinforce appropriate behavior while indirectly decreasing the prevalence of inappropriate behavior through restricting his or her attention. Praise has been shown to decrease inappropriate behavior while developing a positive impact on focus, self-esteem, academic success, motivation, and teacher-student relationships (Nelson, 2010). When used contingent upon observation of appropriate behaviors, praise can improve engagement, increase correct responses, following of directions, and raise levels of work completion and accuracy (Partin, Robertson, Maggin, Oliver & Wehby, 2010). By teachers directing student attention toward appropriate behavior through positive response, students are less likely to speak inappropriately, argue with teacher directions, or turn around in his or her seats (Partin et. al., 2010).
Effective praise has as much to do with systematic planning as it does with teacher willingness to engage students in positive discourse. When teachers see a desired behavior exhibited in the classroom, positive attention must be directed toward it, but the comments must be made with effort and process in mind rather than overall achievement (Conroy et. al., 2009). Teachers must use praise to influence students to continue displaying specific social or academic behaviors, but teachers should initiate praise themselves rather than respond to students’ requests (Conroy et. al., 2009). In this way teachers may develop intrinsic motivation in students to learn following recognition for mastery of classroom tasks (Conroy et. al., 2009).
The use of praise can differ, depending on the student, and the results of praise use may differ in consideration of how praise is used. Many teachers have found that when praise is used often instructional time increases...