This research project takes a critical look at a system of praise in an elementary school setting. Research says that praising students is not a necessity in creating a learning environment. It is recognized, however, that praise is very commonly used with students of all ages. For this reason it is important that praise be used effectively and positively. Research on praise offers specific advise on how praise can be implemented by teachers and other adults in an elementary school environment. The literature on praise suggests that it should be specific, sincere, emphasize student improvement, avoid competition, and be a private, intrinsically valued-reward for students. After eight weeks in an elementary school, it became clear that praise plays a major role in adult/student interactions. Some of the praise observed was extremely casual and did not fit the criteria of effective praise offered by research. However, in a school-wide, carefully designed system, praise became an effective way to encourage students both behaviorally, and academically.
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