Be positive about pupils

23rd September 2005 at 01:00
For Denise Spence the beauty of "positive reinforcement" at Hyde technology school is that it rewards good behaviour and challenges bad behaviour.

The headteacher of the 950-pupil Cheshire school oversaw a pilot project last year and was so impressed that this September the scheme is now school-wide.

Children are given five choices that rest on: respect; learning; safety; movement; and co-operation. However, with choice come sanctions as well as rewards.

These include a "smiley and sad board" that notes pupils who have been on-task and those who have not. At the next level are detentions of varying length.

She said: "We find that even the 'naughty' kids like to be praised. If they realise they can get attention from being good as well as bad, that has to be positive. If kids who usually forget actually remember to bring in pens, then a thank you will reinforce that behaviour."

Ms Spence said, however, that positive reinforcement can take a while for teachers to get used to. She said: "For the more experienced teachers this represents quite a culture change: we were told to pick up on bad behaviour in our training. But sometimes you have to realise that rather than pointing out bad behaviour, we need to reinforce good behaviour.

"It really does work but it takes time to make sure this becomes second nature for some teachers."

Positive reinforcement is used as part of a whole package called Behaviour for Learning which aims to tackle low-level classroom disruption.

"It is the kind of stuff that wears teachers down, such as children arriving late and so on," Ms Spence said.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now