Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Power of Descriptive Praise: how to reduce impulsive behavior

A friend who recently began volunteering in her five year old son's classroom told me this success story about using Descriptive Praise in the classroom.

She was helping with an art project with a small group of kids. She had noticed that one of the boys in the class had poor impulse control and always seemed to find himself in trouble. Before they could begin the art project, the children had to wait until she finished giving them the instructions. She could see how fidgety this little boy was, and as he reached out to grab the paint brush she said to him, "You really wanted to start painting, but you're waiting patiently while I finish giving you the instructions. You're remembering the rule. It's so hard to wait, and that took a lot of self-control." He slowly drew his hand back, looked at her and smiled. At the end of the class, this little boy came up to her and actually gave her a hug.

My friend was shocked by the power of Descriptive Praise, but this is a result we often see when this technique is used consistently at home and at school.

Laura Runnels Fleming (view profile below)
Pasadena, CA