Tips of the trade 40. Praise staff and pupils

4th April 2003 at 01:00
Praising pupils is the essence of good teaching and an area that is often overlooked. Praise boosts self-esteem; we all know how it feels to be told that what we are doing is good. Praise also defines pleasing behaviour and work and, therefore, provides a gateway to further good stuff.

My favourite method is to email or phone the parents of at least two children a week and share with them what it is that pleases me - whether it's work being handed in early or Johnny sitting in his seat for the entire tutor period. It takes time to find email addresses and phone numbers - perhaps this shows the need for an electronic database in all schools - but it's worth it. Not only is the positive feedback from parents delightful, but my relationship with the child is strengthened. I send the email via the child's form tutor and head of year for increased effect.

I carry sweets, motivation stickers and blank Post-it notes with me. If I see something good, I credit the child. The more unexpected, the better.

We can praise colleagues, too. You could say "Thank you" or "Much appreciated" when you meet the colleague who gave you that easy-to-use resource that saved you an hour of preparation, or who wrote a thoughtful report on a child. A positive atmosphere breeds success, as well as day-to-day sanity.

Jess Bowdler teaches English and drama at Warwick Academy, Bermuda. Have you any tips for new teachers?We pay pound;50 for all tips published.


Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today