The Ongoing Study of How and When Teachers Should Praise Students


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Should teachers praise their students?

It’s a simple question with a multiplicity of answers.

A 2020 study published in the journal Educational Psychology concludes that teachers who use praise see a 30% increase in good behavior from their classes.

Meanwhile, reprimands actually increase misbehavior and unwillingness to comply with instruction.

Researches suggest a 3:1 or 4:1 praise-to-reprimand ratio. So for every one reprimand, a teacher should provide three or four positive reinforcements.

Unfortunately, this study flies in the face of previous research.

According to a 2014 study by the Sutton Trust, teachers who give struggling pupils “lavish praise” can make them even less likely to succeed.

Too much praise can “convey a message of low expectations.”

Researchers warned that if failure brings students too much sympathy, they are more likely to associate that approval with underachievement.

Yet it’s fine for educators to express anger at underachievement because it…

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