Behavior Specific Praise: a Positive Reinforcement Strategy and Its Impact on Classroom Disruptions


Author/Creator ORCID





Masters of Education

Citation of Original Publication


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This research explores how the use of a positive reinforcement strategy, behavior specific praise, influences student behavior and, how behavior specific praise in the classroom affects the frequency of disruptive and proactive behaviors among ten seventh grade students in a suburban middle school. Over a three-week period, this study used a pre-experimental design that incorporated one group pretest-posttest. The intervention prompted the teacher to use behavior specific praise by using an interval application on the teacher’s cell phone. A non-independent samples t-test revealed that the mean number of disruptive behaviors was significantly lower during the intervention (Mean = 21.90, SD = 11.14) than during the weighted baseline (Mean = 35.80, SD = 11.53) [t (9) = 4.00, p = .003]. The mean number of proactive behaviors conducive to learning was significantly higher during the intervention (Mean = 38.70, SD = 9.64) than during the weighted baseline (Mean = 24.20, SD = 11.53) [t (9) = 4.63, p = .001]. Consequently, the null hypothesis that there will be no statistically significant difference in the frequency of student disruptive behaviors and student proactive behaviors conducive to learning in the classroom, as measured through partial interval recording, during a baseline period and a behavior specific praise intervention period was rejected. Implications, limitations, and ideas for future research are discussed.