Positive phrases to praise students

Positive Phrases to Praise Students

Positive compliments for students (from teachers)

Today we’re talking about how to praise students, and the importance of positive compliments for adult learners (from teachers like us!). 

We’ve prepared 65 appreciation messages for students.

Positive praise is important in any educational setting, including a business English class, which is our case here at Nativos Language Consultants.

We’ve seen first-hand the importance of continuously encouraging our clients in class.

👉 Correcting is great, but as a rule of thumb, for every correction you make, you should “catch” the student doing something RIGHT the tripple amount of time.

But in the daily grind, it’s easy to return your standard catchphrases.

Perhaps you feel like a parrot-teacher, always repeating the same words?

We know the feeling!

This came up in one of our staff meetings the other day, and we decided to prepare a list of our mostly used positive praise words for students.

Positive praise for students. Why is it SO important?

In our opinion, positive praise is a shortcut to building positive relationships between teachers and students.

Here’s why it’s so important:

  • Encourages learning: Positive praise encourages students to participate actively in the learning process, which is crucial for a business English class. Students who feel their efforts are recognised and appreciated are more likely to continue learning and practise their language skills in their day to day routine.
  • Motivates students: Positive feedback is an effective motivator for students. This is particularly true in a business English class, where the language skills they learn are directly related to their future professional success. When we praise students for their progress and achievements, they are more likely to continue working hard to improve their language skills.
  • Builds confidence: Many students doubt themselves, or feel embarrased while speaking English. But confidence is a critical component of success in a business environment. Positive praise helps build confidence and helps them feel more confident in their ability to communicate effectively in a professional setting. 

It’s also FUN to shower someone with positive energy and see how they grow!

praise words for students
What can your student do today that they couldn't do a year ago?

7 Tips for giving feedback and reinforcement:

There are different strategies to give positive feedback and reinforcement.

Remember that we’re all different and we all have our own teaching styles. Something that works for you, might not work for the next educator.

However, there are some general ideas that most of our teachers seem to follow.

7 tips: 👉

  1. Be specific: Instead of saying “good job,” be specific about what your student did well. For example, “Your pronunciation of that word was perfect,” or “You did an excellent job of explaining your point of view in a short time.”

  2. Use positive language: Focus on what your student did well instead of what they did wrong. Instead of saying “You didn’t make any mistakes,” say “You did an excellent job on that task.”

  3. Reinforce effort: It’s important to acknowledge the effort the student put in, not just the outcome. For example, “You worked hard on that sales presentation, and it shows in your writing.”

  4. Timing: ⌚️ Provide positive feedback and reinforcement as soon as possible after your student has demonstrated the behaviour or skill you want to reinforce. This reinforces the connection between the behaviour and the positive feedback.

  5. Personalize your feedback: Make the feedback relevant to the student’s goals and interests. For example, “Your English-speaking skills have improved so much that I’m confident you’ll be able to have a conversation with your English colleagues soon.”

  6. Use a variety of methods: Use different types of positive feedback and reinforcement, such as verbal praise and written comments, to keep your student motivated and engaged.

  7. Make it proportional: It’s not the same to congratulate an adult learner on nailing a pronunciation after battling for 6 months, to praise someone who didn’t misspell a word. Celebrate accordingly 😜.

positive praises for students

Positive praises for students: 65 phrases you can use as a teacher

So how do you give positive feedback to students?

Our list of phrases is based on our experience as Business English teachers, but they can easily be adapted to your needs.

Affirmation is powerful!

Here are 65 phrases to praise students and give feedback in class 💯.

  1. Yes! Good structure in that sentence

  2. I like the way you used the word “…” in that sentence

  3. I like the way you changed the sentence midway

  4. I like the way you used…

  5. I’m so happy you’re using the right past tense now!

  6. That was such an excellent presentation

  7. Good going! You’ll be ready for that new position in no time!

  8. Yes! You nailed that sentence!

  9. Yes! Fantastic that you remembered that it’s AN apple

  10. You pronounced that perfectly this time

  11. That’s the third time in a row you pronounce it correctly

  12. Keep it up, you don’t sound nervous anymore!

  13. I told you that you would improve your grammar 😍

  14. Fantastic! You just used three different…

  15. Do you remember when you couldn’t speak using the past tense? You’ve come a long way

  16. You sound more confident when speaking

  17. Your past tense is coming along nicely

  18. Your English accent has really improved

  19. Well done! You just…

  20. Way to go! That phrase was…

  21. You have started improving bit by bit

  22. Outstanding, congrats on…

  23. You are very good at…

  24. Much better, try to also say…

  25. That came out with flying colours

  26. Wonderful! Your writing skills…

  27. You must have been studying “X” because…

  28. Thanks for being a brilliant student

  29. I’m proud to be your teacher

  30. That presentation was a lot better than the last!

  31. I am happy you have come this far

  32. I like your passion, keep it up

  33. Nice progress

  34. That sounds a lot better

  35. I couldn’t have said it better myself

  36. I am not surprised you did well at yesterday’s business meeting!

  37. You just made my day by using last week’s vocabulary 👌

  38. Not bad! You’re nailing the X…

  39. Congratulations, you’re finally mastering…

  40. You just about have it, that phrase was…

  41. Your use of grammar and punctuation is getting better every day

  42. Good thinking, you managed to use…

  43. Good attempt, I like it that you’re trying to use the new vocabulary we looked at last week

  44. You promised to study outside of class, and I can tell you have!

  45. Your hard work is paying off

  46. You’re unstoppable, you remembered to say X again!

  47. I was happily surprised to see X. Do you remember when you found it hard to Y?

  48. I was surprised at how much your pronunciation has improved

  49. Amazing work, you seem confident speaking in past terms

  50. You make it easy being a teacher

  51. Thank you for asking so many questions. It’s always fun to teach you!

  52. That’s an amazing result

  53. I’m happy you have reached this milestone

  54. Classes are always fun with you

  55. Your accent speaks volumes ✌️

  56. There is no doubt that you will do great at tomorrow’s meeting 

  57. You’re starting to become such a fast learner

  58. I can see that you are putting in a lot of effort and it is really paying off in your progress

  59. Your writing has greatly improved

  60. You’re communicating like a professional

  61. You grasped the concept really quickly

  62. I notice your improvement between classes

  63. I tried to look for mistakes but didn’t find any!

  64. You sound more fluent

  65. Your use of business vocabulary and phrases is excellent

Body language as you praise students

It’s not just what you say, it’s HOW you say it.

Your students will read and interprete your body language so pay attention to what message you’re sending when giving feedback.

A positive body language while communicating can greatly impact how the recipient perceives your message.

Virtual settings are different from Zoom or Teams meetings, so make sure you adapt to a clear message during online classes.

  1. Maintain an open posture: Keep your body language open and welcoming. Avoid crossing your arms or legs, as this can signal defensiveness or disinterest.
  2. Eye contact: Look the person in the eye when giving feedback, as it shows that you are engaged and attentive 👀.
  3. Use facial expressions: Smile or use other positive facial expressions when giving feedback to convey that you are approachable and supportive.
  4. Tone of voice: Speak in a calm and respectful tone, and avoid using a disengaged tone. You should sound encouraging!
  5. Use hand gestures: Works great to emphasise your points, but be careful not to overdo it or use gestures that may be interpreted as aggressive or dismissive.
  6. Show empathy: If the general progress is slow, pick small positive compliments and praise more often. Show empathy and understanding, and offer support to help the person improve.

A well-timed head nod goes a long way

Much of our body language in communication happens without us paying attention. What would a secret recording reveal about your non-verbal skills?

Other effective ways to show encouragement and praise students is to nod your head approvingly, or to give a quick encouraging smile when he or she pronounces something correctly.

Show that you’re focused and interested in their progress.

Overall, the goal is to communicate your feedback in a way that is constructive and supportive, and your body language should reflect that intention.

Praising students

Ready to spread some nice vibes in class?

How do YOU compliment a student in the classroom? What are your favourite words or phrases?

Remember, the goal of positive feedback and reinforcement is to encourage and motivate your student. So be genuine, generous, and specific in your praise, and celebrate their progress and achievements along the way.

Virtual presents, visualise words they couldn’t pronounce before, positive notes, tea and biscuits, funny messages, public praise and encouragement… there are a lot of creative ways to celebrate the small wins.

Have fun praising students 😀.

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