Positive Reinforcement

Activities and strategies for creating confident learners

By: Peter Clutterbuck


Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 297mm x 210mm
Pages : 192
ISBN : 9781845901417
Format: PaperbackCDROM
Published: April 2010

Designed for schools that want to build on the SEAL programme for primary schools and really focus on positive reinforcement, this book supplements the Primary SEAL resources and covers a huge range of issues which affect self-esteem and self-worth. Each topic has an introduction, an activity page and full instructions for carrying out the activity.

The first part of this book deals with the child’s self-image and contains activities to build self-worth and self-esteem. It explores feelings in the context of the child as an individual, developing self-awareness and helping the child to realise that it really is ‘Good to be me’. The 50 activities help children understand how and why feelings lead them to behave the way they do - particularly the feelings of being excited, proud, surprised, hopeful, disappointed, worried and anxious.

Building effective relationships with others has a huge impact on self-confidence and the skills needed are developed in the second part in the same activity-based way. Many of the activities concentrate on building community within the school, concentrating on caring for others and teamwork.

All the supplementary materials are supplied on the included CD-ROM for ease of reproduction.

Picture for author Peter Clutterbuck

Peter Clutterbuck

Peter Clutterbuck was a prolific author of educational texts for many years. As a practising and wholly committed classroom teacher, he was able to collect tried and tested activities and create and trial interesting new exercises that have proved to be not only educationally successful but also eagerly anticipated and enjoyed by both students and teachers. Peter's books are practical and user-friendly. The activities challenge students and generate an enthusiastic desire for learning.


  1. Enhancement of self-concept is arguably the greatest gift a teacher can give to any pupil. The focus of this book chimes with the emphasis on personal development and well-being that runs through the new primary curriculum and OFSTED framework. It provides a multitude of straight forward activities - use them `straight from the tin` or as a launch-pad for further activities or discussion. There`s something for teachers new to the profession and those just looking for new ideas. Use them as starter activities, or main course - or as a `filler snack` when you feel the need!`
  2. This comprehensive book provides you with a broad selection of activities aimed at creating confident learners by developing pupils` self-image and self-esteem, which helps to achieve the four capacities of the Curriculum for Excellence. Key outcomes of the Health and Wellbeing curriculum are addressed, and as it is the responsibility of all practitioners to meet these outcomes, this is a practical resource for teachers.
  3. In recent years primary school teachers have welcomed the introduction of programmes which develop children`s understanding of themselves. It has become apparent that childrens` emotional intelligence must be nurtured in order for children to learn at their best. Through programmes such as SEAL and Values based Education children are developing a philosophy to understand themselves and their relationships. Peter Clutterback has provided a wide range of material in his book `Positive Reinforcement`, for educators to use which will help children not only understand themselves but also teach them how to forge positive relationships with people who they interact with in their everyday lives. The activities are stimulating and can be adapted in an open-ended way to suit the needs of the new primary curriculum. This book is an essential tool for any adult who is working within a 21st century primary school classroom.
  4. Peter Clutterbuck`s newest title is a welcome addition to the field. As someone who works closely with schools in promoting mental health it is heartening to see resources which are easily accessible to busy teachers and particularly in the field of personal and social education. The development of Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) in schools is to be encouraged as the emotional well-being of children is everybody`s concern, not just that of health professionals. However, for busy teachers whose main concern is the planning and delivery of teaching and learning, it can feel daunting to venture into an area which can become a bit of a minefield if not approached within a supportive school structure which allows time for reflective and thoughtful planning.

    Positive Reinforcement is basically a series of class based lessons, divided into two sections. The first is concerned with developing children`s awareness of self and each lesson begins with an introductory activity or sometimes a story or quotation. This leads to group discussion and Clutterbuck offers guidance for managing this in the form of specific questions the teacher can ask. There is then a worksheet based activity which encourages the pupil to reflect on his or her own personal experiences, thoughts and feelings around the theme. The second section follows the same format with the focus on developing awareness of others and leads pupils toward developing a concept of community and what it means.

    This is a very practical book and includes a CD containing the worksheets. It appears to be aimed at the mainstream classroom teacher and the introduction makes it clear that it is designed to complement the SEAL programme. Its prime intention is to help children build skills toward developing resilience - the ability to cope with negative feelings and experiences - and as such has to be welcomed as a useful tool in helping young people cope with the pressures of life in the twenty first century.
  5. Can there ever have been be a more important time than this to teach about tolerance, empathy, social skills, community values and personal responsibility? This book is easy to read and offers teachers a very accessible set of ideas for helping pupils to develop self-awareness. 

    The thought-provoking activities give teachers and pupils useful tools to explore some important social and emotional aspects of learning. Underpinning the activities are the messages that all people are unique and worthy and that self-confidence is borne out of respect for yourself and others.

    Learning how to be reflective is an important part of the approach offered in this book and this, along with an emphasis on gaining control over emotions, resonates well with current ideas about learning dispositions. Recent changes to the primary curriculum suggest teachers will increasingly be encouraged to ensure their lessons promote independence, self-control and self-management and the ability to reflect on learning experiences effectively.

    Above all, the big idea of this book just makes sense. We all know how important real self-confidence is to success. It helps us take risks and persevere, it helps us to be effective problem solvers, to make informed judgements and be self-motivated. Promoting real self-confidence is a good way to promote good life-long learning habits.
  6. Nurturing children`s sense of self-worth and confidence in their ability to succeed is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of teachers` work.

    It`s quite amazing that despite our understanding of the importance of these issues, too many children seem to lose their confidence and self- esteem by the time they are 8!

    `Positive Reinforcement` should become every teacher`s trusted companion. Full of useful activities and practical suggestions, it will be a truly helpful tool-kit for busy teachers who appreciate the value of this kind of work and are willing to give children the support they need and deserve.
  7. A truly excellent resource for teachers and all involved in children`s services. The activities engage children and young people in reflection on their personal and social skills to handle issues and situations. The activities promote self confidence, self management, and self worth, all key issues linked to facing up to bullying, emotional issues, personal relationship breakdowns, etc. This is an important resource to extend skills in promoting social and emotional aspects of learning, safeguarding, and the key issues of Every Child Matters. Well Done Peter Clutterbuck this is a brilliant resource, a must for all schools, youth work teams and social workers.
  8. The subtitle of this book states `Activities and Strategies for Creating Confident Learners` - which is a great goal and certainly a wonderful philosophy to have in an age when children just want to be pop idols, pop stars or a celebrity and our world is overfilled to flowing over with emotional immaturity and we`re all reaping the rewards of that mind-set. So to have a primary book about developing emotional intelligence and using some basic psychotherapy tools for exploring the deep question `who am I?` and learning to evaluate yourself clearly through self-analysis and through the reflection of others is a wonderful move forward in the development of mankind. I would say that three generations from now with a foundation like this will mean we will be `forced` to look at issues more deeply and our role in creating them. I am sure those primary educators who wish to be a real force for change in the world will get great value out of this book because it really assists emotional maturation of the student (and quite likely the educator too).
  9. A very useful addition to any teachers` toolkit for PSHE.

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