Teachers Shape Kids: Praising Kids in the Classroom

By Laura L. Smith, Charles H. Elliott

Part of Child Psychology & Development For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Teachers can improve the motivation of their students if they praise them often for doing the right things. Effective praise has four major elements, including

  • When you praise, be sure to point out specifically what the child did right.

  • Be enthusiastic with your praise.

  • Give praise promptly without delay.

  • Make sure the child is close by and paying attention when you praise.

For example, if Sadie sits quietly during the morning roll call, a teacher giving ineffective praise might say after some delay, “You’re a good girl, Sadie.” More effective would be a prompt statement such as, “Great job of sitting quietly, Sadie! I like it when you pay attention!”