Needs Focused Teaching

Three Creative Positive Reinforcement (PR) Strategies You Might Not Have Thought Of


Positive reinforcement isn’t just about praise and encouragement; it helps if there is some variety in the way you acknowledge appropriate student behaviours. With that in mind, here are a couple of ‘creative’ ideas for marking the moment.

 1: The victory dance

Teach students to develop their own, personalised ten-second ‘victory dance’. Whenever you want to offer special praise to a student, clear a space at the front of the room (or install a podium if you have spare budget), pump up the bass and allow then to take their ten seconds of fame.

2: Silent cheers

Teach students to reward fellow class-members for good work and good behaviour with a silent cheer. Offer spot prizes for the most dramatic and convincing exhibition of silent applause.

This is particularly useful during exam periods or when the teacher in the neighbouring classroom has expressed concern about the amount of fun your classes seem to have.

3: The staffroom praise board

This is a whole-school approach to building a positive working environment as well as helping develop positive relationships between all staff and students. It is based on the principle that individual students’ efforts often get overlooked – particularly in a large setting. The strategy ensures that even the smallest improvements made by a student are noticed and acknowledged, potentially by EVERY member of staff.


  1. Assign an area of the wall in the staffroom for the praise board. There should be room for five to ten A4 sheets and it should be an area that staff will see whenever they enter the staffroom.
  2. Each week, students are nominated for a place on the praise board (they aren’t told about this). Staff put forward a student and give reasons for their nomination. After a vote, a photo of each chosen student is put on the board together with a brief summary of why they have been chosen.
  3. The idea is that every member of staff will see this board regularly throughout the course of the week. When they next see one of the students from the board – either in the classroom, the dinner queue or out in the yard – they can mention how impressed they are with the students’ achievement. Over the space of a week, a student will receive a huge amount of positive, and often much-needed, reinforcement with several members of staff acknowledging the same achievement.

“Hey Jonny, I hear you were very good in Maths this week, Well done mate, keep it up!”

“Great work today Jonny! A little bird told me you managed to get through a whole day without getting sent out of a single lesson. Brilliant! Isn’t it better when you’re not getting detention every day?”

Want to learn more?

If you want more useful classroom management tools and strategies then check out my FREE resources HERE. 

In addition, if you prefer to have all your tips and strategies in one place, be sure to check out my books on Amazon. Just search for any of the following titles:

Take Control of the Noisy Class

Motivate the Unmotivated

Attention-Grabbing Starters & Plenaries

Classroom Management Success in 7 Days or Less

The Active Learning Tool Kit

The Fun Teacher’s Tool Kit

Connect With Your Students

The Behaviour Tool Kit