Sabiha Shams

Primary Teacher

Kildrum Primary

  • Growth Mindset

What happens when I use positive reinforcement in the classroom?


In order to maintain a positive ethos and address the issue of keeping children engaged, the use of positive reinforcement in the classroom was considered for this enquiry. Positive reinforcement is an important aspect of The General Teaching Council for Scotland’s, Standards for Full Registration, as it states all teachers should ; ‘Develop positive relationships and positive behaviour strategies’. 2012 (GTCS), Standard 3.2.2.

A number of children in my class need constant reminders to focus on their work and get easily distracted. Using positive reinforcement helps to create a positive ethos in class by creating a peaceful and positive learning environment, providing more opportunities for children to be engaged and motivated.

Positive reinforcement has long been linked with what psychologists call ‘behaviourism’, and in particular operant conditioning, concerned with how an action may be controlled by a stimulus that comes after it, such as a reward, rather than before (Woolfolket al, 2013).


The aim of this enquiry was to determine what effect, if any, using positive reinforcement during literacy lessons has on pupil engagement. Different types of reinforcement were studied to determine if any were more effective than others.

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