An article by Richard James Rogers (Author of The Quick Guide to Classroom Management and The Power of Praise: Empowering Students Through Positive Feedback).
Every student you will encounter: no matter what their domestic situation or how much peer-pressure they are under, craves a sense of personal importance just like you and I do. It’s the reason why we wear posh designer labels; why we brag about our new car or house on social media and why we beautify images of ourselves using various apps on our smart phones. It’s also the reason why a lot of young people turn to drugs, join gangs and get involved in thug culture.
The trick with students is to make sure that they are receiving their validation (i.e. their sense of importance) from positive sources.
I am certainly aware of the power that sincere and meaningful praise has had in the shaping of my own sense of personal vision and power – from the time I stepped into the cold Army Cadet Force hut in my hometown of Flint, North Wales, as a sniffling and clumsy thirteen-year-old; to leading sections of cadets on night patrols and maneuvers; and later to becoming a teacher, blogger and author – the encouragement of those numerous mentors around me during my life has been invaluable, gratefully received and essential in shaping my psyche.
My experiences from 1994 until now: as an Army Cadet Instructor and a Science and Mathematics teacher, have taught me that the best way that we can empower our students with a sense of purpose and vision is by employing a wide-range of praise-based strategies that have sincerity and meaning as their foundational basis.
In order to effectively employ praise to our advantage in the classroom, we must have a good understanding of three fundamental themes:
- The philosophy of praise (why praise is important and what its effects can be)
- The mechanics of praise (how to actually implement the various tactics available)
- Ways to accentuate the efficiency of praise (how to ensure that praise and feedback only takes up the time and effort that it needs to)
Check out my second book, The Power of Praise: Empowering Students Through Positive Feedback, for insights and tips that are subdivided into these three categories.