Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Positive reinforcement in the classroom

Many of us were asked when we were little, what do you want to be when you grow up? We heard answers such as doctor, postman, footballer, teacher, farmer… Well mine always was and will always be: Teacher!!!
I am not shy from the fact that in my teaching carer I am sure I will have to learn to deal with difficult classes and deviant children….. So I am keen to know the tools to keep my class motivated and stop difficult kids from acting up.  

Positive reinforcement is a technique that appeals to me as a future teacher. It is used to modify a child’s/children’s behaviour by reinforcing their desired behaviour. It appeals to be because it is not a technique in which a teacher intimidates, yells, humiliates of shames a child in order to change their behaviour.  It focuses on the emotional well-being of the child, as well as creating positive growth in the relationship with the child and creating positive reinforcement in the child’s behaviour in the classroom. Grossman (2004) showed that students are more likely to do things they will be rewarded than punished for. Morgan (2006) also said that appropriate positive reinforcement and behaviour modification are important for success in the classroom. Frequent reprimands and infrequent praise often results in students showing challenging behaviour.

The use of positive reinforcement is an effective, high-impact strategy for improving student’s behaviours and is supported by vast research. Diedrich (2010) conducted a study on 13 sixth and seventh grade students, who had behavioural or cognitive deficits. The study used positive reinforcement and rewards to see if it would make students more motivated to display appropriate social skills when verbally interacting with adults and peers .After study all students’ manners improved, and prompts for appropriate manners decreased by 47% after the reward system was conducted. The study displays that the students problematic and inappropriate behaviour can be controlled or eliminated through behavioural interventions using positive reinforcement.

So in the future when I have children running loops round me in the classroom I am going to keep in mind that yelling at them and embarrassing them in front of their friend is not the way forward but to implement POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT!!!


Diedrich, J. L. (2010). Motivating Students Using Positive Reinforcement.

Grossman, H. (2003). Classroom behavior management for diverse and inclusive schools. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Morgan, P. L. (2006). Increasing Task Engagement Using Preference or Choice-Making Some Behavioral and Methodological Factors Affecting Their Efficacy as Classroom Interventions. Remedial and Special Education, 27(3), 176-187.

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