top of page

Positive Talk Promotes Positive Student Behavior

Let's talk about positive feedback and talk in the classroom and why it's important.

The assumption is you have thoroughly established routines and procedures. And by this I don't mean that you read your procedures, routines, and rules from a poster in your classroom or handed kids your rules and read them aloud.

What I mean is you spent the first week of school teaching, modeling, and having kids practice the desired behaviors for success in your classroom. If I walked into your classroom, I would see students who understand and follow procedures for every type of behavior and activity in your learning environment. If this isn't happening, you need to go back and start over with the process of establishing classroom community. It's not too late.

I use this community-building resource at the beginning of the year. I also get to know my students with these free student information cards.

Back to using positive talk to promote positive student behavior. Here is an example: As students are entering the room, I notice Sara, Jason, and Chloe sat at their desk, took out the bell ringer journal and began work. As I observe this behavior, I will call out..."Great job, Sara, Jason, and Chloe for getting your bell ringer going! Love that! Thank you." As you see other students fall into expected behavior, call them out with positive talk and feedback. Kids notice and want to be recognized.

Or let's say you've assigned independent work and you notice a student or two using their notes particularly well. You might not call out loudly, but loud enough for several others to hear..."Super job on using your notes, Madi. I love the way you're using your reference page, Tim." Other students are listening and want your recognition, so you will see them sitting up straighter and working harder. The more positive talk you can give, the more students will work for it.

For groups, the same idea applies. Once you see one group beginning work and on task, call out..." I see group ___ is working well and getting the job done. Way to go group _____." Watch how quickly the other groups get on track with expected behavior. There is no reward other than the satisfaction of being praised and recognized.

The benefits of using positive talk in the classroom are well worth your effort. Not only does it reinforce desired behaviors, but it also helps kids who aren't on track self correct and shows that you will be recognizing positive behaviors. It lets kids know that positive behavior is what gets attention in your classroom. This will help deter negative behavior. It doesn't mean that there won't be negative behaviors ever again, but it goes a long way in setting up your kids for success.

How have you used positive talk in your classroom to encourage desired learning behaviors? What are your thoughts on positive talk?

Happy Teaching,


84 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment

Shelley Bullard
Shelley Bullard
Mar 14, 2020

I started with procedures, have had them in other years, but decided this year it was a lot of unnecessary work and most things are pretty self explanatory, or could be. However, now, in some ways class is t going as smoothly as I’d like, I think I’m too soft. Is it too late to change?

bottom of page