Promoting teacher and instructional assistant behavior specific praise

Positive reinforcement, in the form of praise, is one of the most powerful tools used in effective programming by classroom staff for all types of educational environments. It is not only important for staff to use praise but to also specify the behavior for which the praise is being given. Increasing behavior specific praise in different educational settings was the aim of this current study. Two settings were observed in which a MotivAider tactile prompting device was worn. This device prompted the teacher and one instructional assistant to provide behavior specific praise once every minute during a 10 minute session. The researcher recorded the frequency of behavior specific praise, non-behavior specific praise and corrective statements delivered to students by each participant. It was discovered that using the MotivAider increased the amount of behavior specific praise delivered by all staff members whilst they were receiving the prompt themselves. It was also demonstrated that some participants reacted to the other participant’s increased frequency of praise, in that setting, when they themselves were not receiving the tactile prompt. A third finding was that an increase in the frequency of praise statements did not result in a decrease in the frequency of corrective statements.