Margaret Smith

Primary Teacher

Condorrat Primary

  • Growth Mindset

What happens when I use positive reinforcement in the classroom?


According to Witzel and Mercer, 2003, “The area of behaviour interventions in classrooms receives more attention than many other aspects of schooling” (p. 89). Many teaching programmes and schools provide strategies for managing behaviour (Yost and Mosca, 2002). In modern day classrooms, discipline can sometimes be seen as more important than the actual learning, where valuable time is spent dealing with students and their behaviour (Witzel and Mercer, 2003). To insure good behaviour is continuous, positive reinforcement is needed. (Miltenberger, 2008).

In relation to current Scottish policy, the two main policies supporting positive reinforcement in the classroom is that of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC). Both highlight the need for developing good relationships and positive behaviour in the classroom to promote the right environment for effective learning and teaching. Children need to feel included, respected, safe and secure in the classroom where their achievements and contributions are valued, meaning they are more likely to develop resilience and positive self-esteem.

During this enquiry I will look at children’s use of Gaelic and their level of fluency. The intention is that by the end of this enquiry period the children will be using Gaelic continually in the classroom without need of reinforcement and that their level of fluency in the language will have developed, and be at a higher level than before.


This enquiry explored behaviour modification by using rewards and positive reinforcement to encourage positive, observable behaviour in the pupils. By using positive reinforcement to develop, increase and encourage the use of their Gaelic skills within the classroom.

Download Practitioner Enquiry