Monday, December 12, 2011

It's About Positive Reinforcement Stupid! #EdChat #Education

My students have been working very hard on their projects the past couple of weeks and I am very proud of their work. I walk around and look at what they have completed and I have been very impressed. I make it a point to talk to every student in a group and ask them what they are working on and pass along a positive comment. The comments do not need to be life changing, but sometimes, just sometimes, the smallest compliment can mean the world to a students.

I once had a student that was working on a project with a group of students. This student was in charge of drawing a symbol for their group. This person was not a terrible artist, but they were not going to win an art award any time soon. I walked around and was talking to groups when I notices the picture this student was working on. I asked them what the picture meant and told them I really admired their drawing because I can barely draw a stick figure correctly. They chuckled and went back to work.

Months later, students were working on another project and this student was drawing for their group. I noticed the picture was significantly better than the last one. I commented on how great the picture looked and how I jealous of them I was they could draw like that. They smiled again and went back to work. At the end of the day, the student stopped by to show me their sketchbook and I was blown away at the artwork. It was months of drawings. Some were rough, but others were beautiful. I told them I was impressed and asked them how did they get to be so good. The student said I encouraged them to.

The student said my compliment months before was the motivation for them to dedicate their spare time to drawing to get better. They loved to draw, but wanted to be better and my compliment was the first time outside of their family someone said their work was good.

This happened years ago and I have no idea what this student is doing now and if it involves art. I hadn't thought of this student in a long time, but something another student was working on sparked the memory. Sometimes I forget the power our words can have on students. A simple compliment provided the motivation for a student to pursue their passion. How many students are waiting for that one compliment from their teacher? When was the last time you sat down with a student and compliment their work?

Sometimes a little conversation can go a long way. Remember that the next time you are walking around your classroom and see a student working.

Positive Attitude
by DuneChaser


  1. Great post Nick. A wonderful reminder that a little positivity can go a long way and make a huge difference in the life of a student!

  2. This is a wonderful message. My rabbi just reminded me of this message recently when I shared with him a comment my daughter - who has reading difficulties - share with me that her teacher told her. This is not "old news". Our words are powerful. Our tone is powerful. Our messages are powerful. We never the impact we make.


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