Praise and compliments can go a long way in any aspect of life, but especially in the classroom. Happy and enthusiastic students mean a more manageable classroom and a better learning environment.
However, just saying “good” or “good job” is not enough anymore. Common phrases such as these are repeated without thought and become monotonous. Children need to hear their name, be given an example of what they did well, or have their behavior or work be used as an example for the classroom.
One-Word Synonyms to Say “Good”
Try picking up a synonym book and choose a word in it, use a different word each day. Children will start to notice a pattern and will wonder which word you will be using the next day and may even adjust their behaviors in order to be the recipient of the word.
Some one-word synonyms to use: wow, terrific, beautiful, brilliant, marvelous, sharp, wonderful, splendid, super, superior, clever, congrats, smashing, sensational, great, tremendous, remarkable, stunning, outstanding, exceptional, amazing, fantastic, spectacular, excellent, fabulous, superb, breath-taking, astonishing, grand, impressive, astounding, magnificent, incredible, significant, noteworthy, notable, extraordinary, stupendous, dazzling.
Using a Child’s Name
Use sentences that place a child’s name into it. This points them out specifically and shows that the teacher is paying attention to who is doing good work and not just saying “good job” randomly. Basically any sentence can include a child’s name such as “good job, Tom.” But some examples of really good sentences to use are:
I like the way you’re working, Tom.
That’s quite an improvement, Mary.
Susan, it’s a pleasure to teach when you work like this.
Bill, you really outdid yourself today.
Lucy is waiting quietly.
John got right to work.
Ann is paying attention.
Sherrie is really going to town!
I like the way Bill has settled down.
Very good, why don’t you show the class what you did, Richard.
Complimenting the entire classroom as a whole will bring about a feeling of teamwork and unity. Try sentences such as these:
Everyone’s working so hard.
I’m very proud of the way the class is working today.
I appreciate everyone’s help.
Thank you for (sitting down, being quiet, getting right to work, etc.)
It’s a pleasure to teach when the class works like this.
Examples of Work Done Well
Children need to have their work or behavior pointed out to them so that they will be likely to want to repeat the performance. Tossing in a reference to what they did well will help to encourage them, as well as show that the teacher is paying attention and not uttering random or meaningless compliments. Something as simple as “good oral report” will suffice. The examples below are generically filled in with “report” or “behavior” but when you use these sentences state the specific thing that is being complimented such as: sculpture, painting, report, term paper, behavior, etc. Here are a few examples:
This kind of work pleases me very much.
Congratulations! You only missed (state number) on this test.
I bet your family would be proud to see the job you did on this project.
That’s an “A” report.
What an impressive project.
That looks like it’s going to be a great report!
That’s a very good observation!
That’s an interesting point of view.
Wow, you’ve figured out the answer!
It looks like you put a lot of work into this project.
Some More Ways to Say “Good Job”
Here are just a few more ways to say “good job” that are creative and meaningful:
That’s really nice
Thank you very much
Keep up the good work
What neat work
You’re on the right track now
That’s an interesting way of looking at it
That’s the right answer
Now you’ve got the hang of it
That’s a good point
That is certainly one way of looking at it
You’ve got it now
Out of sight
That’s coming along nicely
Use Current Lingo
The use of current lingo will always go over well with students. However, make sure that the lingo is current and correct. The last thing an educator wants to do when trying to sound “hip” is to use the wrong word and end up sounding like a “drip.” Some lingo that has seemed to test true over the decades are: cool, the bomb,super, kickin’, totally, hot and awesome.
The number of ways to say “Good Job” are not excluded to just the ones mentioned here. But the basic idea is to keep it fresh and keep it meaningful. Even one of these phrases can become monotonous and meaningless if over-used. Show a genuine interest in what the student is doing and compliment that. And always remember to use manners. Often we teach manners but forget to use them ourselves. Children deserve the respect of an apology, a thank-you, or a please.
Instilling a feeling of self-worth in a child is one of the most important things an educator can do for the child and the classroom environment. A feeling of self-worth will help a child to produce better results in the classroom and cut down on behaviors or inattentiveness. Self-worth will stay with a child and help them to be an effective and successful adult. So often educators are focusing on the ABC’s and 123’s of academics and forget that there are life lessons that need to be learned and taught as well. A child starts learning when they are an infant and never stop. With just a little extra conscious effort compliments and praise will start to come second nature and are something that will last with a child a lot longer then remembering what year Columbus discovered America.