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How Can We Promote Reinforcing Language?

Throughout my years of teaching, I always thought of the term "Reinforcing Language" as an educational one. It was used to teach teachers how to speak positively to their students. However, through my experience as a mom and now full-time Executive Function Coach, I realize that "Reinforcing Language" could and should be used by anyone in direct contact with children. This is for parents, coaches, doctors, psychologists, and yes, definitely teachers!

1 - Stay focused on progress and effort!


Help students concentrate on the process of learning. They need to learn that if they persist in working hard, they will create work they can be proud of without focusing on the "grade."


2 - Help them to form positive visions of themselves.


Inspire children to see their true capabilities by hearing your reinforcing feedback.


This can help them concentrate on the process of learning, showing them how to persist and create work they can be proud of.


3 - Focus on their strengths.


When we focus on strengths, we help students to build a positive internal dialogue and use this as an asset to tackle new challenges.


Teach students that success is more about persistence, attitude, and and hard work rather than "being smart."

4 - Help Children to become more self-motivated.


Reinforcing language helps students to reflect on their actions, think about their learning process and name for themselves what they did well and where they need to keep trying. Self-reflection can motivate them

to take ownership which can help lead to

growth and independence.


It is important to note that Reinforcing Language does much deeper than, "Good Job" or "Nice Work." If you have children or teach them, you may have learned that students with ADHD and other learning differences respond MUCH better when given intentional, specific praise. You must work hard to let them know specifically what they did well. See some examples below.


In the Classroom:

Instead of this:

Try This:

"Let's try harder."

"Let's see if we can figure out a way for you to get excited about this assignment."

"Nice work writing that paragraph."

"I could see how hard you worked writing, you really added a lot of detail here."

"Good answers."

"I really liked how you backed up this answer with specific evidence from the reading."

At home:

"Thanks for doing your chores."

"Johnny, I am really proud of the effort you showed while emptying the dishwasher. I could see you worked hard to organize the glasses in this cabinet better too. Thanks so much!"

"Good job getting your homework done today."

"I am happy to see that you prioritized your science work after school. I know it's hard after a long day at school to get started sometimes, but I am really proud of your for not getting distracted with other things!"


If you'd like more information on specific ways to use #ReinforcingLanguage in your #classroom and at home please check out the below links!



Link to Responsive Classroom resource



Link to defining Reinforcing Language and ways to use in your classroom.

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