Innovative positive reinforcement strategies


Most teachers know that positive reinforcement is a very powerful classroom management strategy – it’s certainly the approach we recommend in Needs Focused Classroom Management. The problem is, praise phrases such as ‘well done’ and ‘This is fantastic Jonny’, tend to get very tiresome by the end of a lesson and they lose their effectiveness. To be really effective, there needs to be some variety in the way you acknowledge appropriate student behaviours so in this post I thought I’d share a few of our ‘innovative positive reinforcement strategies’ from our Take Control of the Noisy Class program. If you like them, please leave a comment in the box below…

i) The victory dance.

Teach students to develop their own, personalised ten second ‘Victory Dance’. Whenever you want to offer special praise to a student, clear a space at the front of the room (or install a podium if you have spare budget) and allow them their ten seconds of fame.

ii) Visual Cheers

Issue all students with a special ‘Wooo! Card’ (a laminated piece of paper or piece of card with ‘Woooo!’ written on it). Whenever a student performs particularly well in class or manages to complete something they’ve struggled with in the past call “Wooooooo” and have everyone else hold up their ‘Wooo’ cards whilst shouting “Woooooo!” back at you.

iii) Silent Cheers.

Teach students to reward fellow class-members for good work and good behaviour with a silent cheer. Offer spot prizes for the most dramatic and convincing exhibition of silent applause.

iv) And the winner is …

Throughout the week, be on the lookout for students doing good work, good deeds, improved effort etc. Every time you see something positive scribble the student’s name down on a piece of paper, together with a very brief reminder of their behaviour, and place it in a jar. At the end of the week, draw a few names from the jar and hand out surprise prizes to the winners.

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