Graduate Program

School Psychology

Degree Name

Specialist in School Psychology

Semester of Degree Completion

Spring 2019

Thesis Director

Margaret T. Floress

Thesis Committee Member

Caridad F. Brito

Thesis Committee Member

Tasha Banks


The benefits of increasing teacher praise and decreasing teacher reprimand (for both students and teachers) is well-established in the literature. The purpose of this study was to expand the literature on teachers' natural use of praise and reprimand, specifically in terms of how teachers deliver praise and reprimand. Sixty-six middle (sixth through eighth grade) and high school (ninth through twelfth grade) teachers' delivery of praise and reprimand to individual (one student), small clusters (two to six students), and large groups (seven or more students) during a 20-minute observation were examined. Teachers delivered significantly more general praise to individual students, rather than small clusters of students or large groups of students. However, there was no difference in teachers' delivery of behavior-specific praise to individual students, small clusters of students, or large groups of students. Teachers delivered significantly more mild reprimands to individual students compared to small student clusters; however, no differences were found between mild reprimand delivery to individual students and large groups of students. No significant correlations were found between praise delivery type and reprimand delivery type. Implications and suggestions for future research are offered.