VIGNETTES SERIES 14: BUILDING POSITIVES FOR STUDENTS
It is the little things that help when it comes to entrenching positive characteristics and qualities.
REWARDING THE EFFORT
Children owe it to themselves to do their best work in class. Sometimes they may think their work being done for teachers and parents. There are ways of helping children realise teachers and parents are supports, with the work being done ultimately for their benefit.
While ownership of work is vested in children, applauding their efforts helps when it comes to building pride in product and learning outcomes. It is discouraging for children who are trying their best, to be minimally recognised by teachers. Handwritten comments of praise, stamps, stars and stickers mean a lot. They are small tangibles that go a long way toward building justified pride in the hearts of children who have done their best. These small tokens of recognition are boosting for children. They love sharing their successes with parents, relations and friends.
Recognition of work and effort through merit certificates awarded at class or school assemblies is boosting for children. Classroom wall charts which track star awards are constant reminders of student success. Mention in school newsletters might be an option. Letting parents know about the efforts of their children by work of mouth, phone call or note might be an option. Rewards policies are often established by particular schools but a great deal of praising opportunity is left to the discretion of teachers.
Don’t overlook recognising effort by encouragement awards. It is nice to let children know their efforts at improvement are not going unnoticed.
Some schools allow teachers to purchase stickers and other reward tangibles from classroom allowances. If not, purchases of teaching aids and requisites are tax deductible. It is wise to keep receipts.
Recognising and rewarding the efforts of children, goes toward creating a positively happy classroom. Children are made to feel good about work outcomes while praising is uplifting for teachers.
CORRECTING FOR POLITENESS SAKE
These days, manners are not practised by habit. Many children (and adults) are poorly mannered. It seems that a big percentage have never been taught the rudiments of good manners at home. Child care programs may try but their prime focus is on minding, not on teaching.
All too frequently children overlook ‘excuse me’, ‘please’, ‘thank you’. ‘i beg your pardon’ and so on. Although it gets monotonous, correcting students who overlook these essences of politeness and good manners is important. Commenting in a praising context to children who do remember to use these words and expressions can offer positive reinforcement.
One of the most frequent oversights occurs when children butt into conversations being held by teachers with another student or students. That impetuosity certainly needs correction. Children need to appreciate the need to wait their turn when dealing with teachers.
Manners can be broached through appropriately constructed lessons. To involve students in situational role play where manners need to be practised can help. Periodic classroom discussions about manners and politeness might be useful.
The subject could be broached through a Socratic Discussion session.
Strategies to reinforce the need for good manners including reinforcement through daily classroom interaction should be part of teaching and learning strategy.