Students From Harlem To Harare Are More Likely To Focus When Teachers Highlight Good Behavior

March 21, 2021

While many teachers struggle with getting their students to focus throughout the school day, a new study found one such way to keep kids engaged during lessons.

According to the researchers, students are more likely to stay focused and respond positively when teachers highlight good behavior, whereas calling out bad behavior doesn’t yield the same effect.

“Everyone values being praised and recognized for their endeavors — it is a huge part of nurturing children’s self-esteem and confidence,” said researcher Dr. Paul Caldarella. “Also from a behavioral perspective, behavior that is reinforced tends to increase — so if teachers are praising students for good behavior — such as attending to the teacher, asking for help appropriately, etc. — it stands to reason that this behavior will increase, and learning will improve.”

Better classroom behavior

To assess students’ classroom behavior and their teachers’ interventions, the researchers observed over 2,500 students for three years, ranging in age from kindergarten through sixth grade.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Harlem World Magazine, 2521 1/2 west 42nd street, Los Angeles, CA, 90008, https://www.harlemworldmagazine.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

The students and teachers involved in the study spanned 151 different classrooms. While half of the teachers went about their lessons and behavior management skills as usual, the other half implemented a program that instructed students on appropriate classroom behavior. The students who received that instruction were also rewarded for good behavior.

The researchers found that the more teachers yelled at students for exhibiting bad behavior in the classroom, the more difficult it became to hold the students’ attention and carry on as usual with their lessons and activities.

However, when teachers took the opposite approach, praising students for a job well done, that good behavior was more consistent.

Moreover, teachers were able to get through more of their lessons with high levels of student engagement and focus.

Though highlighting good behavior proved to be an effective classroom management strategy, the researchers explained that it isn’t always as easy as just praising students; teachers also need to use their best judgment when trying to maintain control of the classroom and their students’ attention reports Consumer Affairs.

“Unfortunately, previous research has shown that teachers often tend to reprimand students for problem behavior as much or more than they praise pupils for appropriate behavior, which can often have a negative effect on classrooms and student behavior,” said Dr. Caldarella. “Praise is a form of teacher feedback, and students need that feedback to understand what behavior is expected of them, and what behavior is valued by teachers.”

We're your source for local coverage, we count on your support. SPONSOR US!
Your support is crucial in maintaining a healthy democracy and quality journalism. With your contribution, we can continue to provide engaging news and free access to all.
accepted credit cards

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related Articles


AARP Local