Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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Given the general chaos in CTE classrooms it is hard to catch my students being good. Since frequent praise may be more effective if it is specific, any tips on how I can become a better 'good behavior catcher'?
Offering genuine praise when students engage in desired behaviors can be a highly effective strategy for sustaining behavior improvements. The key is to ensure that the behavior you’re focusing warrants praise eyes of the student. Otherwise, your feedback may be perceived as insincere and become ineffective. One strategy is target behaviors that are improving rather than focusing only on those behaviors the student has demonstrated are easy for her to consistently achieve.
Also, many adolescents may value your praise more if it is delivered to them personally, rather than announced to the entire class. For example, announcing “Good job!” in response to a student’s homework submission may be less effective than pulling her aside and saying, “You have made a concerted effort to keep up with your homework in class this semester and I appreciate it. This is exactly the type of responsible behavior that future employers will be looking for.”
Finally, you need not wait for perfection when a student exhibits improvement in an area where he has typically not been successful. This is an opportunity to improve behavior via praise that is frequently overlooked. Watch closely for behaviors that may not be outstanding, but reflect positive change in an area where a student has not been successful. For example, if a student never submits any of his homework and one day submits an assignment that is partially complete, you might pull the student aside and comment, “Thank you for today’s homework submission. I know it wasn’t 100% complete, but you made an effort and that will be reflected in your improved grade. Keep attempting your homework and these assignments will become easier to finish.”