Supported by research

The Positive Teaching approach is based on the extensive research of Emeritus Professor Kevin Wheldall AM and Dr Robyn Wheldall (Beaman) of Macquarie University and on the earlier research of Emeritus Professor Kevin Wheldall and Dr Frank Merrett at the Centre for Child Study, University of Birmingham.

Research areas included:

This research forms the basis of the classroom behaviour management system presented in our first PD Workshop, Positive Teaching for Effective Classroom Behaviour Management.

Tackling troublesome behaviour

In a survey of NSW primary school teachers, we found that:

This research showed that although the most troublesome behaviours are not particularly serious, they are timewasting, irritating, stressful and ultimately exhausting for teachers.

By using the techniques to shape behaviour outlined in the Positive Teaching approach, teachers will spend less time dealing with these distractions, and instead create a calm and positive environment more conducive to effective instruction.

Using praise most effectively

Most teachers are well aware of the importance of using praise and positive reinforcement strategies in their classrooms to manage classroom behaviour. But our research found that most teacher praise is largely focused on academic performance, with very little praise for desirable classroom behaviour. Moreover, teachers used over three times as much disapproval as approval when commenting on students’ classroom behaviour.

The Positive Teaching approach shows how teachers can use contingent praise related to classroom social behaviour to increase the time students spend on-task, leading to improved academic performance. With teachers expected to deliver an ever-expanding curriculum, more time spent on-task means more opportunity to fast-track through the required material.