TYPES OF PRAISE STATEMENTS
Praise statements can be categorized not only by the function they serve, but the form they take and who they are directed at.
Let’s look at the different types of praise statements:
a. Group Praise – is when your praise statement is directed towards an entire group of children. This is useful form of praise when all of the children are fairly attentive. Group praise is an easy way to influence the behavior of a number of children with a minimum of effort. Examples include “You all are doing a great job” or “Everyone sitting at the table is behaving very nicely.” (You think of some others!)
b. Individual Praise – These statements are directed at the behavior of individual children. This is probably the kind of praise that most of us are familiar with. This kind of praise must be used more frequently than group praise with children especially those with more behavior problems. *You should be sure that the child receiving the praise is looking at you when the praise is delivered or it might not affect their behavior.
c. Quiet Praise – This type of praise is given quietly so as not to disturb the child too much or those around the individual. This praise can also be used at a distance. Quiet praises consist of things like pats on the back, wink, “thumbs-up,” OK sign, etc. Sometimes, I use “Quiet Ball” when the class may not be controlled. The ball is thrown out and caught by a child. Immediately, when the ball is caught, there is no more talking. They can throw the ball to another but cannot say a word.
d. Pivot Praise – A pivot is when we want to change a behavior of one child by “praising” the behavior of a child nearby who is engaging in appropriate behavior. We do this in hope that the child misbehaving will see someone else getting praise and will begin to engage in the same behavior. After the child starts behaving appropriately, we can praise their behavior as well.
Example: Mary was asked to erase the blackboard and being helpful but Louis who was asked to help is just sitting in a chair making noises. The teacher says to Mary who is erasing “My, but you are being helpful and you are doing a fantastic job!” This is said while the teacher takes a glance towards Louis. If by chance, Louis jumps up and tries to help too we can then say “All right Louis! You’re being helpful now too!”
e. Specific Praise Statements – These statements are for a very specific behavior. “Good job erasing the board!” You need to name the specific response that is producing the praise. Others: “Nice seeing you play with the toys, John.” “Good job writing your alphabet letters, Delores.” “Good job with your colors! You work so hard, Kyle” “Nice job washing your hands! They sure look real clean!” “You are sitting nice in your chair. You listen real well, Faith.”
f. Global Praise Statements – These statements describe what kind of child they are and elaborate on a specific praise statement. Example: “Good job erasing the board” is specific and “You’re a hard worker” is global.
All of these types of praise can be delivered very quickly and they can easily be mixed according to the number of children you are working with. (Can you add to the list of specific and global statements?)
*EVERYONE IS CAPABLE OF DOING SOMETHING THAT CAN GET THEM SOME PRAISE. REMEMBER! PRAISE STATEMENTS ARE GREAT TOOLS BUT PRAISE STATEMENTS ALONE DO NOT MAKE A WELL BALANCED SET OF INTERACTIONS!
Next week: What happens when praise is ineffective!