Positive reinforcement is a tool that teachers often use to encourage a desired behaviour. For example we may praise students or give rewards when they pick up rubbish. Sometimes positive reinforcement is naturally occurring, like enjoying learning and making good progress when they try their best in class. It is important to provide this stimulus while or immediately after the desired behaviour.By adding stimulus that the students enjoy, we can work together to increase the likelihood of useful behaviour happening again. But did you know that positive reinforcement can encourage negative behaviour too? If a child didn’t get to sit where they wanted to and cries about it, do you let the child have their way? This is a difficult decision that teachers make all the time; the answer can be yes or no depending on the situation. If we allow them to sit where they want, they will stop crying which solves problems in the short term. But in the long term, we are encouraging their misbehaviour because they may learn to cry every time they want something. It can seem cruel to ignore or distract an upset child, but sometimes that is what’s best for them.

Year KK Ms Kuestler