Presentation (Project) Title

The Effectiveness of Positive Verbal Reinforcement in the Classroom

Mentor Information

Ilene Berson (College of Education)

Presentation Format

Event

Abstract

Many past studies have analyzed teachers’ praise rates and the ratio between positive verbal reinforcement and disruptive behavior. The following research aims to expand previous literature by considering students’ academic achievement in relation to the intervention and how students respond to praise socially. The guiding research question was how does positive verbal reinforcement, such as specific praise, affect student behavior and academic achievement in the classroom? The following sub-questions are also addressed: How much exposure to compliments, both provided by the teacher and peers, is needed to make a noticeable difference in students; do students begin to incorporate compliments into their daily routine; and does receiving positive reinforcement have the same effect on ELL students as it does on native English- speaking students? Data points, such as math test scores, were collected in a first-grade classroom, both at the beginning and end of the study. Tallies on disruptive behavior and teacher-given praise, as well as jottings and journal entries, were collected each day. At the end of the four-week data collection period, math test scores were compared, as well as the average amount of student disruptive behavior and teacher-given praise per week. Journal entries underwent a qualitative analysis through the use of specific coding. The apparent trends dictated by the collected data imply an inverse relationship between disruptive student behavior and praise rates as each week passes, as well as an increase in math test scores, meaning that praise may be an effective intervention.

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The Effectiveness of Positive Verbal Reinforcement in the Classroom

Many past studies have analyzed teachers’ praise rates and the ratio between positive verbal reinforcement and disruptive behavior. The following research aims to expand previous literature by considering students’ academic achievement in relation to the intervention and how students respond to praise socially. The guiding research question was how does positive verbal reinforcement, such as specific praise, affect student behavior and academic achievement in the classroom? The following sub-questions are also addressed: How much exposure to compliments, both provided by the teacher and peers, is needed to make a noticeable difference in students; do students begin to incorporate compliments into their daily routine; and does receiving positive reinforcement have the same effect on ELL students as it does on native English- speaking students? Data points, such as math test scores, were collected in a first-grade classroom, both at the beginning and end of the study. Tallies on disruptive behavior and teacher-given praise, as well as jottings and journal entries, were collected each day. At the end of the four-week data collection period, math test scores were compared, as well as the average amount of student disruptive behavior and teacher-given praise per week. Journal entries underwent a qualitative analysis through the use of specific coding. The apparent trends dictated by the collected data imply an inverse relationship between disruptive student behavior and praise rates as each week passes, as well as an increase in math test scores, meaning that praise may be an effective intervention.