Positive Feedback

Positive FeedbackPositive feedback can take on a creative aspect. Reh (2012) states “don’t ever underestimate the power of positive feedback. We are quick to point out to someone when they make a mistake. Sometimes we forget to acknowledge them when they do something right. Giving positive feedback can be a powerful tool for employee motivation” (p 1). He continues on to give several suggestions for effective positive feedback.

  1. First, positive feedback should be given immediately before it is forgotten or the moment has passed.
  2. Second, it should be given publicly in a large group but ine needs to keep in mind that all negative feedback is given privately.
  3. Third, make the feedback specific. Instead of simply saying ‘good job’ try saying ‘You did a good job remembering the specific needs of that student.’
  4. Fourth, periodically make a big deal out of some things.
  5. Fifth, always remember the receiver. Some people simply would not like a big deal made out of them in front of a large group .
  6. Sixth, do it often and evenly. Remember frequency and never consistently acknowledge one individual over another.
  7. Lastly, remember sincerity. Don’t give praise simply to give it. Be sure to make it a sincere positive feedback.

Additional Positive Feedback Ideas:

    • Use fun shaped Post-It notes and place them on the corner of the desk, inside a notebook or somewhere unexpected to be found later. Be creative! I’ve left notes inside of student lunches!
    • Write messages on edges of the assignments.
    • Be excited -showing physical and exaggerated movements. In our home, we do the dance of joy which is simply a movement of wildly sprawling arms and legs!
    • Make physical contact. This can be as simple as touching someone’s arm.
    • Acknowledge progress and not simply reaching a goal.
    • Make the feedback in front of the class and also in private.
    • Make feedback diverse. Don’t make it only to a particular group of people or within a specific subject.
    • Never connect a positive comment with a negative one. The recipient will quickly learn that a positive comment will be followed by a ‘but’ and the excitement of the event will be nullified.
    • Invite others into your positive comments. Other students will swiftly join in if invited.
    • Always refer to a skill, experience or an accomplishment.
    • Make sure that all compliments are genuine.
    • Keep a communication journal. This is simply a small notebook where your student can write you a note and you respond to them. This increases communication and provides a private place for students to be more candid.
    • Invite students to provide feedback of you!

Tracking Positive Feedback:

One of the most difficult aspects of feedback is the frequency and ensuring that the feedback is given to all of the students. It is easy to remember the smart students, those that volunteer, etc. I have found it essential at times to track who and what I am complimenting. I created a simple form to pull out periodically to check myself. I don’t use it all of the time -just occasionally.



Reh, F. (2012). How to give positive feedback. Retrieved from management.about.com/cs/peoplemanagement/ht/positivefb.htm 


By Tracy Atkinson

Tracy Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the Midwest with her husband and spirited long-haired miniature dachshunds. She is a teacher, having taught elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education and a master’s in higher education. Her passion is researching, studying and investigating the attributes related to self-directed learners and learning styles. She has published several titles, including MBTI Learning Styles: A Practical Approach, The Art of Learning Journals, Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Lemosa: The Annals of the Hidden, Book Two, Rachel’s 8 and Securing Your Tent. She is currently working on a non-fiction text exploring the attributes of self-directed learners: The Five Characteristics of Self-directed Learners.

Tracy Harrington-Atkinson

Tracy Harrington-Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the mid-west with her husband. She loved storytelling and sharing her stories with her children. As they grew, she started writing her stories down for them. She is a teacher, having taught from elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education, masters in higher education and continued on to a PhD in curriculum design. Her husband, Kerry and Tracy breed miniature dachshunds and love to spend time with their growing family. She has published several books including Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Rachel's 8 and Securing Your Tent.

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