Praise is missing factor

6th November 1998 at 00:00
TEACHERS do not believe senior staff sufficiently recognise their efforts, while school managements think they do. Pupils say teachers should praise them more, while teachers believe they do just that.

"What these findings demonstrate is that schools are different places for different people," Professor John MacBeath said.

Seventy-one per cent of senior management believe they hand out praise when staff do well, but only 26 per cent of teachers see it that way. Similarly, 46 per cent of pupils say they are praised when they work hard, while 93 per cent of teachers said they "encourage pupils to try their very best". In secondaries, 78 per cent of teachers said pupils' success was regularly celebrated.

Pamela Robertson of the Quality in Education Centre said the amount of support teachers give pupils is "significantly related" to academic achievement. "Some schools are better at doing this than others," she said.

Pupils' learning in the classroom counts as among their least positive experiences. By contrast, they are consistently upbeat about "cultural" aspects of school life such as feeling safe in the playground and getting on well with other pupils.

The report noted that there is "a strong association" between praise from teachers and adding value in attainment. But teachers rate this higher than pupils and "schools may need to give more consideration to dialogue about learning between teachers and young people and, in particular, to think about the meaningful use of feedback and praise".

In secondaries, only 18 per cent of teachers said that standards set for pupils were "consistently upheld" across the school. The figure in primaries was 63 per cent. Only 30 per cent of secondary schools said classes were enthusiastic about learning.

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