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Positive Peer Review Teaches Children to Support Good Behavior

Let "Tootling" Replace "Tattling."


Positive Peer Review (PPR) is a way to encourage children to support positive behavior rather than just reporting bad behavior.

Children quickly learn to report bad behavior: we call it tattling. How hard would it be to encourage children to turn the same reporting behavior into "Tootling" where children learn to report positive behavior? By learning to "blow someone else's horn" they are "tootling," a strategy shared in Best Practices for the Inclusive Classroom by Richard T. Boon and Vicky G. Spencer.

"Tootling" is premised on an understanding that students with problem behaviors, who are often ostracized by their more appropriate peers, still have acquired some positive, "pro-social" behavior. It encourages peers to report the positive behaviors by rewarding students for reporting the desired behavior from struggling peers. It helps the teacher recognize the struggling student.

At the same time, by rewarding typical peers for reporting positive behavior, it teaches them to recognize the behavior and praise positive, prosocial behavior in a struggling peer. It usually also increases the number of positive interactions that occur spontaneously in the classroom.

Step by Step Procedure for Teaching Tootling

  • Introduce and define positive peer reporting. Be sure that students understand that "tootling" is the opposite of "tattling." Make it clear that students will earn points,tokens or extra activities for reporting positive behavior.
  • Explain the procedure:
    1. A drawing will be conducted and a child's name will be chosen for the first "star of the week."(target.)
    2. Students will be told to report positive behavior exhibited by the star of the week at the appropriate,specified time during the day.
    3. A card will be taped on each student's desk each morning for them to record specific "tootles." They should be encouraged to begin with specific behaviors, but that can be expanded as the year goes on. No reason to discourage creativity when it comes to being positive!
    4. Decide ahead of time if you will use an individual reinforcement system or a group reinfocement. For an individual reinforcement system, you reward each child for each tootle. For a group reinforcement system, set a goal and count the cumulative number of tootles: award the group with a special activity (movie day, pizza party, game day.)
    5. Increase the requirements for acceptable tootles as your students acquire skill at recognizing appropriate behavior.
    6. Pick a new student by lot each week.
  • Monitor the effects of the intervention on the quality of peer interactions by coding interactions and recording them on a time/interval chart. Examples: positive, negative or neutral. Monitor the effects of the intervention on social status for children with social deficits with peer ratings and nominations. It would be okay to check in with the target students specifically, to ask about friends, how they feel about school, etc.

Unintended Positive Consequences

The initial purpose of a Positive Peer Review program is to reinforce positive behavior in one or two students who really need to build pro-social behavior. As these children, and their more typical peers, focus on being positive about their neighbor's behavior, it will help make the whole classroom environment improve.

Reinforcing your students as they learn to recognize positive behavior will help you,as a teacher, ramp up your praise of appropriate and on task behavior. Positive is always best!!

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