ERIC Number: ED202054
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
To Praise or Not to Praise: Factors to Consider before Utilizing Praise as a Reinforcing Device in the Classroom Communication Process.
Stringer, Bobbi Rhe; Hurt, H. Thomas
For praise to have a positive effect on a child's achievement, teachers must be aware of some important research findings. Varying results of early studies on the benefits of praise still indicate one generalization: either praise or criticism is more effective in reinforcing student achievement than is ignoring achievement. Research in the past two decades has indicated more consistently that positive verbal reinforcement leads to improved achievement. Some educators, however, still hold that praise can be a threat for a child rather than a reward. For example, praise that does not fit a child's self-image can trigger a negative goal-setting process. Praise results in improved achievement only when it is congruent with student needs. Researchers are examining the relationship between praise and behavior, with studies indicating that praise reinforces appropriate classroom behavior and inappropriate behavior can best be controlled by ignoring it rather than punishing it. A study of motivation and praise suggests that students are intrinsically motivated when they engage in behavior because the behavior itself is rewarding. Adding extrinsic reinforcement to an already interesting task does not increase motivation but may instead cause a student to lose interest. However, praise may not be detrimental to intrinsic motivation if it is used to invite a response from the child. (HTH)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Speech Communication Association (Austin, TX, April 8-10, 1981).