Praising Students: Is it Necessary for ESL Settings?
I am a teacher in a training center for young learners in China, Beijing. Our school has a praise system, to be more precise our school has its own money that students can use to buy some toys from our school’s shop. To get this money students should listen to the teacher, do their homework, and pass the tests. The teachers can give them money even for each lesson if they want. And it is really useful to maintain discipline in the classroom. It’s the first reason why we should praise the students. The second reason is that if you praise the students it increases their self-esteem and they are more likely to enjoy their course and be motivated during it.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Kelly P. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Speaking from my experience, I praise the students in several ways:
In the classroom – praising with praise phrases, such as “well done”, “good job”, “superb”, “awesome” and so on. In the classroom – giving them “the money” if they listen to me carefully and if they do what I ask from them, or if they finish the activity and so on. You can find a lot of reasons to praise them. In our group chat with parents after checking their homework – I use the same praise phrases (not only these but more). And, of course, if they make mistakes, I correct them in our group chat also. Not strictly, but just asking them to say the word or the sentence one more time after me.
And also I have 2 more methods to praise my students:
First – Stickers. I have a lot of stickers that I use to maintain the discipline in the classroom and praise my students. They love it. And they do what you want from them if you show them the stickers and ask “Do you want some of these?”. I use 2 different markers to explain the rules. First I show them a red marker with stickers in my left hand and ask: “This?”, and after I show a black marker and ask: “or this?”. They never said “yes” to the black marker. And to get the sticker, for example, they need to come to the board and pronounce all the words and the sentences from it. The students love this thing and I love it too.
Second – stars and stamps. Like in the previous method I use 2 markers here too. Blue and black. One black star on the stars chart of the board means that they are going to get 1 stamp on their diaries and 1 blue stamp means that they are going to get 2 stamps on their diaries. As I mentioned about previous methods, this one helps to maintain the discipline and increase their self-esteem as well.
Reasons to praise the students:
- Increase their self-esteem
- Maintain the discipline in the classroom using praising methods
- To let the kids know if they are behaving “appropriately” or not
- To let the kids change their behavior
- To let the kids know what is right and what is wrong
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