What are the key components of positive behavior feedback?

When teachers provide positive feedback, the most important thing is for it to be behavior specific. We want students to know exactly why they are receiving positive feedback. When we name the behaviors we want to see, it increases the likelihood that students will engage in those positive behaviors again.

Could you provide a couple examples of what this sounds like?

Of course! For teachers of younger students, behavior specific positive feedback could sound something like this: I love how you used a quiet hand and waited for me to call on you before you shared your answer, Ariana! Great job. 

For teachers of middle and high school students, a teacher might say: I appreciate how Mikayla and Brandon started their bell ringer as soon as they walked in the classroom.

As long as your praise is behavior specific and delivered in a way that’s authentic for you and your students, you are doing it right!

What does the research show about that type of feedback?

Research shows that when teachers deliver frequent, behavior specific positive feedback, students are more engaged and less disruptive. This means students spend less time off-task and more time learning from your great teaching. Increasing the amount and quality of positive feedback you provide is a great way to quickly improve engagement in your classroom.


A lot of times teachers will provide positive feedback to groups of students all at once. What’s the best way to do that?

That’s a great question. Giving praise to groups of students is efficient and effective – just be sure to follow the same guideline of being behavior-specific with your praise. 

Here are a couple examples of how you could deliver high quality positive feedback to a group of students: 

Everyone at Table 3 is showing me they’re ready for the next question by looking at the smartboard. Can we all follow their great example?

Every student in my classroom is following directions and working silently on their lab write up. I’m so impressed!

Last question - if a team is using LiveSchool to document behavior corrections, what are the best practices?

A lot of times, students are disruptive or off-task because they want attention from their teacher or their peers. If we provide students with attention when they are not meeting our expectations, it often reinforces their bad behavior. 

The first step is to reinforce the expectation. For example, if a student yells out an answer instead of raising their hand you could say, “I’m so glad you want to share your thoughts with us! It’s important for us to raise our hands before we share our answer to make sure we aren’t talking over our classmates or teacher. That’s how we show each other respect. Can you try again?”

If an issue is persisting, your school might document those incidents in LiveSchool. When documenting negative behavior, it’s best practice to include a comment with a few details about what occurred. Your team can use this data to troubleshoot behaviors and reteach expectations. Whenever possible, try to delay telling the student until you can do it in a personal and more private way, like leaning over at their desk or pulling them aside before transitioning classes.