The Marzano Research Laboratory (MRL) conducted a study to evaluate the relationship between student learning and effective teacher pedagogical practices in online learning. The study specifically looked at Edmentum’s online solutions in three instructional settings—pure virtual, blended, and classroom/lab—across four purposes: original credit, credit recovery, intervention, and Advanced Placement®.
Previously, we have taken an in-depth look at tips #1 through #3. Today, we will be looking at best practices when implementing tip #4 into your classroom or school.
Tip #4: Offering encouragement and positive feedback to students
Too many times, students come to school without much positivity in their outside lives. Compliments and encouragement might be hard to come by. The same sort of experience at school can really serve to shut down a learner from the whole educational experience.
By using positive feedback, teachers can be the oasis in the desert for their class. Even if you maintain high standards for your students (and you should), when they meet those standards, you should make a big deal out of it. It could quite possibly be the highlight of their day.
What are the best ways to offer encouragement and positive feedback?
The best part about encouragement and positive feedback is that they need not take a lot of class time. Be effusive with your verbal praise. The goal is five positive comments for every negative statement per learner. Quick notes on assignment feedback can also go a long way.
For a more time-consuming strategy, don’t be afraid to direct the positivity somewhere other than the student, such as to the parents or guardians. Not only will a good call or email home improve relations on the home front, but also it will be more appreciated by the student than a note or comment directed at them.
When is the ideal time to be offering encouragement and positive feedback?
Anytime! Right after the student experiences a success is preferable, but anytime is appreciated. You can even have a time set aside at the end of every lesson to recognize learners who made big progress or a breakthrough during the lesson. However, some students can be shy about receiving praise in front of everyone. Make sure you know the students and whether they would appreciate being singled out. You might do more harm than good. Regular communication can be used in place of set-aside classroom time. Technology makes sending messages and emails quicker and easier than ever before.
What might be a stumbling block to success?
Frankly, remembering to be positive at a 5:1 ratio can be difficult. Teaching is hard, and it’s easy to be negative on particular days. Just remember that as much good as some positivity can do for the student, it can also help pull you out of a bad day (or week … or grading period).
Want to see more of the instructional strategies the Marzano Research Laboratory determined in the study? See all 13 Marzano best practices in online learning here.
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