Praise & Preparation

Part of the series Teaching with Bayley

  Screen capture from Praise & Preparation


Behaviour expert John Bayley interviews a teacher who has independently developed her own style of behaviour management. John believes he can learn from their approach, and vice versa.

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John visits the classroom of a science teacher who with remarkable effect has adapted her own experiences of teaching in a small Australian town to an inner-city classroom. Amy Alexander now teaches at Pimlico School in central London.

She says, 'These kids respond so well to praise. At home, some of them are being told how terrible they are and they just switch off immediately. If you can calm that down and tell them how wonderful they are, that's all any kid needs.'

Amy's pedagogical techniques include a system of praise, which means that for every 10 stars a pupil wins they get a postcard sent to their home, while those with 50 stars get invited on a school trip. She also advocates constant praise, saying, 'I'm using less energy by focusing on the positive'. Thirdly, she uses colour-coded lesson plans: key words are marked in green; sentences that pupils must write down are in black; instructions and things to do are in blue; and other information is in red (homework, for example).


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Extra materials (1)

Advice about common mistakes that teachers make in the classroom and alternative ways to approach the situation

Related links (4)

Comments (14)

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    • Power of Praise
      5 August 2010 - 00:15

      Wow - what a great teacher Amy is (Go Maroons! - I'm a Queenslander too!)

      Being raised in a house of praise where we were not allowed to speak negatively, makes me wonder why more teachers and families don't make full use of the power of positive rewards. As a single parent, it can be hard to stay positive, but I do my best, and always tell my children something positive.

      As a trainee teacher, I am trying to also make lots of use of praise in the classrooms.

      Why can't universities give us a course on how to be positive and give praise, instead of making us study dead philosophers from 3000 years ago? Bring our studies into the current day, and see current students change.

    • Amazed but...
      14 February 2009 - 00:03

      A great video. BUT, I am amazed that teaching is soooooo prehistoric still that such (great) ideas are seen as innovation. Teacher's aren't learning. What are they doing!?

      How can teaching be a decades old profession yet still not know how to handle a class of kids. Thankfully there are inspirational teachers like Amy.

      We expect so much of pupils, it's time teachers were scored each and every year in exams of their profession too I think.


      Teaching is a transfer of energy

    • Showing the way to pupils
      3 September 2008 - 20:22

      I really like this emphasis on positive encouragement of desired behaviour, 'catching them being good', as one former colleague said to me. I've tried to use this a lot in outdoor ed./residential situations and have found it helped, also when working as a Learning Support Assistant with some challenging pupils.
      Now I've just embarked on PGCE and will be informing others on the course of this resource in due course. It reinforces the need for good planning and preparation, of course, no short cuts there, but the dividends are clear. Thank you, good viewing.

    • Great programme!
      21 August 2008 - 10:04

      I am a primary NQT taking on my first class this September and feeling very nervous at that. This was such an inspiration to see how well the children were already moving into the routine and so well behaved. The colour coding sounds like a fantastic way to structure the lessons. I regularly use the IWB to show the objective and outcomes but will now try the colour coding to show the structure of the lesson too. Such a great idea. Also, the postcard idea is fantastic. I have a top heavy group of boys and know that behaviour is going to be an issue. The use of praise and postive atomosphere is definately the way to go. These ideas will be very useful.