The Importance of Positive Reinforcement

The Importance of Positive Reinforcement

Positive Reinforcement is an act of encouragement or reward in order to establish a pattern of desirable behaviour and is most effective when coming from the direction of a significant figure, such as a parent or teacher. For primary school children, this might mean adding a star to a sticker chart which will motivate them to continue working hard. As for secondary school students, it is less about physical rewards and more about motivation, the act of such builds upon confidence, which is as much of a key factor as knowledge is when sitting exams. It might seem annoyingly obvious but it is actually quite shocking just how much positive reinforcement isn’t exercised and is instead replaced with comparison to other students and their successes.

As discussed in previous blog posts, stress is a significant factor which continuously discourages students from trying their hardest. Stress tends to stem from a feeling of being overwhelmed or incapable to cope, a simple way to reverse this negativity is through continuous positive reinforcement. A simple ‘well done on this work’ or appreciation of the effort put into the work closes a loop of effort into reward and satisfies the cost of working hard. Think about it simply, if a child’s environment is positive then it will reflect their work ethic also. It is saddening to see that so many students, especially those outside of primary education, cannot talk to their parents about how they are doing in school for fear of being compared to other students who is seemingly doing ‘better’. It seems to be a natural response from some parents to immediately bring up the progress of others or how they used to do in school rather than focussing on their own child. 

This is not only damaging to the students’ self-esteem but will also be reflected within their grades. Not to mention that parents and carers have the role of being the backbone and constant support of their children no matter what, so when the most important people in a child’s life is not there for them, the impact is much greater than when a friend is being discouraging.

So if you are a parent or carer reading this blog post and have noticed that your child has been feelings down recently or hasn’t been completely vocal or honest with you regarding their school work then perhaps consider giving them some simple words of encouragement as a way to build up a stronger bond and through this, you will be able to understand what type of positive reinforcement works for your child.

And as always, if there is anything that you would like to speak to our staff about regarding this blog post, such as how you can get started encouraging your child, then you can email us at [email protected] or talk to our staff to understand how we maintain positive environments throughout our educational centers.