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'positive reinforncement to teach is to praise positive actions, ignore negative ones

The best way to teach-whether as an educator, employer, or parent-is to praise positive actions and ignore negative ones.

The argument attempts to state that the best way of teaching is through the praising of positive actions. The underlying assumption that is therefore needed for the putting forward of my following reasons is that to measure the definition of best, it has to be quantified through an improvement in performance or a revelation of any of that sort. I fundamentally tend to agree with the speaker's assertion primarily based on a few cogent reasons as stated below.

The power of positive reinforncement has been psychologically proven through case studies. There was a psychology test that was done in the UK in the 1970s, results previously published in the Lancet, a renowned scientific journal. The experiment went like this: two groups of students of almost equal distribution of intellectual and learning capacity were separated into two classes which were provided with resources as equal as possible - equally qualified teachers and equally capacious classrooms, every variable factor was tuned to be as equal as possible except for one thing : One class was designated as Class A and the other Class B. Throughout the entire year, Class A students were praised by their parents for their high performance since they were placed in the putative better of classes while Class B students went through an entire year or chastising and berating (on the assumption that they were not as good). The results of the two classes were obtained at the end of the year were astonishing. Class A students, who were assumed to be the far superior lot for the entire lot, had far superior performance than the Class B's, despite the fact that a year before their performances were at equal standings. This speaks volume of the importance of positive reinforncement in the education sector, whereby following the same argument of the experiment, teachers who praise positive actions are able to increase students' performance. This phenomenon can be explained psychologically since the students feel cared for, happy and are willing to learn.

This sets the foundation for one of my other supporting reasons. Teaching that emphasizes on praising positive actions and ignoring negative ones are able to engender an atmosphere that is conducive to learning. One of the reasons that inhibit learning curves of students stems from the fear of teachers, who forcefully shove information down students throat through threat of punishment. An educator who constantly praises positive actions can garner respect from his/her students since the barrier between the two has been eliminated. The sharing of information, rather than the forceful spoonfeeding of information as such, is able to flow more smoothly to better results.

Apart from that, analyzing the current work sector we would come to the realization that praising of positive actions is constantly being carried out as well. CEOs and employees of companies are promised bonuses at the end of the year if they were able to hit a performance target. The working ethos of companies plays heavily on the influence of positive reinforcement of actions since they know that promising a reward for positive actions would yield to a better performing company as opposed to striking fear in their hearts. This is a great way of teaching or coaching employees to increase their level of productivity.

Some cynists would smirk at the fatal consequences if we were to simply ignore negative traits of people. That streak would ultimately grow into a tumor which would plague the society. In light of this argument, I would love to provide a counter-example that occurred in the political arena in the 1980s. Apart from showing that positive reinforncement would work, it showed how through the practice of positive reinforcement, the ruler of the country was able to teach kindness to his people through a simple act. Thailand was deep in the throes of communism warfare and guerilla-style fighting in the 1980s. The ruler then, through a series of failed efforts to try and contain the conflagration, issues an edict that was boggling at that time: communists who were willing to put down their weapons would be granted full immunity and co-opted into the government. The decree at that time generated a groundswell of opposition but tracing down the line 20 years from that incident, previous communists who joined the government did not, even through a single instance, was involved in a bloodshed or coup-de-tat. One of the ex-communists was even promoted to a senior officer. Through a simple act of praising positive actions (that of recognizing the common good of mankind), the wise king brought about a change which shook the principles of people for years to come.

Teaching is an intricate task which covers the dissemination of knowledge but beyond that, entails the imparting of life's lessons to any single individual. Threat and punishment might work within a short time frame, but in the long run, only positive reaffirmation through the praising of positive actions would have long-lasting results.


I am not very sure of my points since I'm mostly talking about positive reinforcement. The topic question demanded 'praise positive actions AND ignore negative ones' Not sure if I covered the 'ignore negative part' adequately.

Please comment. Thanks

Hi there,
you have written a very beautiful essay... the case studies, examples and all other facts u have stated certainly show ur clarity on the above topic.

The intro-main body-conclusion- all hold pretty good arguments as stated by you. However, I would say that u need to emphasize the fact that "ignoring " the negative traits is not a good thing. We all r like a deformed stone, but it is the worldly experience, professional teachings, n the constant focus on us for the improvement of our negative traits that will make us a good human being and a good professional. For example if an individual becomes the greatest athlete in the world, but lacks social manners or indulges in bad acts-then it will eventually result in his/her downfall...

--> I would say that teaching should be based on amplifying the positive traits n totally curbing the negative ones.

hope it helps...

Good luck n cheers.

"Never tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon "

- Unknown
The underlying assumption that is therefore needed for the putting forward of my following reasons is that to measure the definition of best, it has to be quantified through an improvement in performance or a revelation of any of that sort.---I only had to cross out those 2 words. Other than that the sentence is correct. Your idea is wise, too. However, I think anyone who can write such a complex sentence also must have the ability to write shorter sentences that will pack a harder punch.

It is best to write in short sentences when you can. Your ideas hit with a heavier punch.

Some cynists would smirk at the fatal consequences if we were to simply ignore negative traits of people.

Again, too complicated. Also, if you call them cynics you are saying they are cynical, but it is not reasonable to say someone is cynical if they disagree with you. So, "cynics" is not the best word to use.

It is not possible to argue that it is ALWAYS okay to ignore undesirable behaviors, but it is possible to argue that sometimes you should ignore them. James Mitose said, "Never acknowledge stupidity."

  Closed ✓

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