Precise Praise is a positive reinforcement practice that allows teachers to reinforce the behavior(s) they would like students to consistently use in the classroom. Precise Praise brings a high degree of strategy and intentionality to positive reinforcement. "It is one of the most powerful tools available to teachers in the classroom," (Lemov, 2010). When used, Precise Praise should:
- Give plenty of acknowledgment in response to students’ meeting your expectations and saving praise when students have exceeded those expectations.
- Use praise to reinforce both behavioral and academic skills.
- Use praise to reinforce actions, as specifically as possible, especially behaviors and actions that students can choose.
- Differentiate acknowledgment from praise.
- Acknowledge a student when he/she meets an expectation by describing simply what a student has done, often with explicit thanks and positivity, but without value judgment and exaggeration.
- Praise a student when he/she has exceeded an expectation.
- Create a realistic system by which you can recognize and track your pattern of praise.
- Make your classroom as productive as possible by deciding what you want to reinforce the most. Identify the behaviors you want met or exceeded during certain parts of your lesson or day. Script the language you could use to critique or reinforce by acknowledgment or Precise Praise.
- Praise and acknowledge students openly when meeting and/or exceeding the classroom expectations to motivate others to strive for a similar behavior while giving the recipient attention.
- Praise and acknowledge actions, not traits. Focus on behaviors and actions that students can choose to do and give praise.
- Balance praise and acknowledgment with honest, helpful, specific feedback.