29 Strategies to Help Students Who Respond Inappropriately to Praise

Are you looking for strategies to help students who respond inappropriately to praise? If so, keep reading.

1. Embody appropriate ways to respond to interactions with other students or teachers.

2. Recognize and praise the learner when they will most likely be able to demonstrate an appropriate response (e.g., when the learner is not being singled out in a group).

3. Recognize and praise the learner in private. The public aspect of praise or recognition is often the cause of the unacceptable response.

4. Give the learner many chances for social and academic success so they may learn how to respond appropriately.

5. Assess the appropriateness of the social situation concerning the learner’s capacity and ability to function successfully.

6. Distribute praise and recognition equally to all members of the class.

7. Give praise or recognition for smaller increments of success so that the learner may slowly become accustomed to the recognition.

8. Give praise and recognition as a natural consequence for appropriate behavior.

9. Attempt several groupings to ascertain the situation in which the learner is most comfortable.

10. Make sure that reinforcement is not provided for unacceptable behavior(e.g., paying attention to the learner only when they respond improperly to praise or recognition).

11. Utilize alternative forms of praise or recognition that are not menacing to the learner (e.g., written notes, telephone calls to parents, display of work done well, etc.).

12. Show praise with a matter-of-fact delivery and avoid exaggerated exclamations of success.

13. Utilize feedback related to performance (e.g., test scores, grades, etc.) in place of praise or recognition. As the learner becomes more capable of accepting praise and recognition, slowly deliver oral praise and recognition.

14. Instead of emphasizing winning or “beating” other students in competition, urge individual success or progress that may be enjoyed privately rather than publicly.

15. Always treat the learner with the utmost respect. Talk objectively at all times.

16. Maintain trust and confidentiality with the learner at all times.

17. Make sure that other teachers and school staff members who work with the learner know that the learner does not respond properly to praise and recognition.

18. Praise those students in the classroom who respond properly to praise or recognition.

19. Teach the learner acceptable ways to express displeasure, anger, frustration, etc.

20. Praise the learner for responding properly to praise or recognition: (a) give the learner a concrete reward (e.g., privileges such as leading the line, handing out learning materials, 10 minutes of free time, etc.) or (b) give the learner an informal reward (e.g., praise, handshake, smile, etc.).

21. Draft an agreement with the learner stipulating what behavior is required (e.g., saying “thank you” when given praise or recognition) and which reinforcement will be implemented when the agreement has been met

22. Praise the learner for responding properly to praise or recognition based on the number of times the learner can be successful. As the learner shows success, slowly increase the number of times required for reinforcement.

23. Talk with the learner to explain(a) what the learner is doing wrong (e .g., behaving improperly when recognized by others) and (b) what the learner should be doing (e.g., saying “thank you,” smiling, etc.).

24. Convey your feelings in a socially acceptable way.

25. Connect with the parents to disseminate information about the learner’s progress. The parents may reinforce the learner at home for responding properly to praise or recognition at school.

26. Consider using a classroom management app. Click here to view a list of apps that we recommend.

27. Consider using an adaptive behavior management app. Click here to view a list of apps that we recommend.

28. Consider using Alexa to help the student learn to behave appropriately. Click here to read an article that we wrote on the subject.

29. Click here to learn about six bonus strategies for challenging problem behaviors and mastering classroom management.

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