Specific Praise essay

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The use of targeted praise

The use of targeted praise is one of the best tactics in the first scenario. This strategy entails providing the learner with pertinent feedback regarding the fulfillment of specific tasks by identifying the achievement in question and suitably applauding it. For instance, praising Doug specifically for completing certain activities on his own could be one strategy to promote independence. The learner can distinguish between proper and inappropriate answers, behaviors, and actions by employing this technique. According to Rhodes (2014), research results show that the use of specific praise through the provision of explicit attention for proper classroom behavior is sufficient to improve on-task responses in over 90% of students. As such, this strategy is based on directing praise to an individual student while at the same time pointing out the specific aspect being praised. It, therefore, promotes desired behaviors and improves the student's self-esteem.


Carrying out this approach requires skill and efficiency in a manner that allows the students to understand what is being praised. It is crucial to note that specific praise is not only used to make the student know that they have done the right thing but also to see exactly what is being praised. In this case, the student has difficulty taking part in individual assignments and a few examples of specific praise may include something like "Nice job defining the meaning of behavior, Doug" or "Doug, I really like how you solved that question on your own" and so on. It is equally important to make eye contact, with the student, move closer and also smile to show the student how much you appreciate his achievements. For praise to further develop the desired behavior in the student, the conduct should be described with specific conduct for example "That was hard, but I like your endurance and creativity in this work." During the application of this approach, it is important to praise with sincerity and enthusiasm and also offer the praise immediately (Villeda, Shuster, Magill, & Carter, 2016).


While specific approval is an efficient tool in improving student behavior, several aspects must be considered during its implementation. First of all, the instructor must be cautious and avoid combining praise with criticism. Doing so tends to water down the significance and effects of the praise. It is recommended that the criticism should be separated from praise by avoiding the use of the word "but" immediately following the compliment. Secondly, the specific praise should fade slowly with respect to the maintenance of student's success (Villeda, Shuster, Magill, & Carter, 2016).

Case 2: Group Contingency

Ellie's case, on the other hand, can be resolved with the utilization of group contingency strategy. Contingency plans are recognized as some of the best ways of reducing problematic behaviors, strengthening healthy habits and instilling necessary skills to the respective students. Additionally, they involve the provision of reinforcements and rewards to more than one person hence encouraging cooperation among members of the group. In this case, the age of the student plays a vital role in the selection of the method. Group contingency is divided into dependent, independent and interdependent components. The dependent group contingency involves the provision of rewards to a group based on the behavior of one or more members. The independent group contingency rewards only the members who meet a particular criterion. On the other hand, the interdependent model rewards the whole team provided that they all meet the stipulated criteria (Monfore, 2012).


Considering the fact that Ellie is having problems participating in group work, the dependent group contingency can be initialized so that the team members can assist and encourage her. While rewards may be the driving force, the ultimate impacts include promotion of positive group interactions and increased self-esteem and participation when considered a "hero" for winning awards for the team. Later on, the independent and interdependent contingency models can be applied once the student has developed increased participation in class discussions and efficient interaction with peers is established. Moving from one program to another is important since each contingency has its role, for instance, the independent group contingency will motivate the student to maintain the current interactions with the group. Similarly, the interdependent approach encourages cohesiveness when working together towards a common goal since it exploits the effects of peer influence since members can help one another to earn the reward. Essentially, these three group contingencies have to be applied based on the students' progress towards participation in group work. An example of implementing the group contingency is the good behavior game where a team receives a point or strike for unwanted behavior and finally, the group with the lowest points or strikes receives the reward (Ennis, 2014).


While group contingency is a superb methodology to deal with students' behavior problems. Implementing the strategy requires the teachers, parents or tutors to consider the possibility of negative outcomes. Particularly, peer pressure can have adverse implications for some students (Lai, 2016). However, if the program is initiated, managed and monitored correctly, it is a safe, efficient and economical approach for behavior change in the classroom since it encourages solidarity, promotes healthy competition and most of all improve student participation in teams.


Ennis, C. (2014). An Evaluation of Group ContingencyInterventions: The Role of Teacher Preference. Tampa: University of South Florida Scholar Commons.

Lai, C. C. (2016). The Effect of Group Contingencies on Students’Behavioral Problems in a Classroom. Culminating Projects in Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy, 2-63.

Monfore, M. (2012). Group–oriented Contingency Management . Richmond: Virginia Department of Education.

Rhodes, E. (2014). The Use of Behavior Specific Praise and the Caught Being Good Game to Improve Class-Wide Behavior. Florida: University of South Florida Scholar Commons.

Villeda, S. T., Shuster, B. C., Magill, L., & Carter, E. W. (2016). Behavior-Specific Praise in the Classroom. Nashville: Tennessee Behavior Supports Project at Vanderbilt University .

March 17, 2023

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