School-Based Intervention Idea from


Give Praise That is Specific and Does Not Embarrass the Student  (Sprick, Borgmeier, & Nolet, 2002)

Defiant students can respond well to adult praise but only when it is sincere and specific, and is not embarrassing.

Ideally, the teacher should deliver praise as soon as possible after the positive behavior. Praise should be specific and descriptiveóbecause vague, general praise can sound fake and does not give the student any useful information about how their behavior meets or exceeds the teacherís expectations. For older students who tend to dislike being praised in a highly public manner, the teacher can use a more indirect or low-key approach (e.g., writing a note of praise on the studentís graded assignment, praising the student in a private conversation, calling the studentís parent to praise the student).


Sprick, R. S., Borgmeier, C., & Nolet, V. (2002). Prevention and management of behavior problems in secondary schools. In M. A. Shinn, H. M. Walker & G. Stoner (Eds.), Interventions for academic and behavior problems II: Preventive and remedial approaches (pp.373-401). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

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