Teachers' Use of Praise and Reprimands to Boys and Girls

Frank Merrett*, Kevin Wheldall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Samples of 32 primary and 38 secondary teachers were each observed on three occasions interacting with mixed classes. The observation schedule employed differentiated teacher responses to male and female pupils. The findings were analysed in terms of teacher positive and negative responses (praise and reprimand) per child per hour. Analyses of data from the primary sample revealed no significant differences between responses to boys and girls nor were any significant differences apparent when the data for male and female teachers were analysed separately. For the sample of secondary teachers, however, there was evidence for major significant differences in rates of responding to boys and girls, boys receiving more responses overall (both positive and negative) from teachers. When these data were analysed separately for male and female teachers it was found that female teachers used significantly more negative responses to boys' social behaviour whereas male teachers used significantly more positive responses to boys' academic behaviour. In both samples and for classes taught by male and female teachers separately, levels of on-task behaviour were very similar for boys and girls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-79
Number of pages7
JournalEducational Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1992
Externally publishedYes


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