Talk-Up Teaching

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Hanna Beech

Hanna Beech has been teaching for ten years and has a range of experience across Key Stages 1 and 2 in a large Primary School in Kent. She is a phase leader for Years 3 and 4, and also leads on teaching and learning for...
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Receiving recognition feels great – why not be the one to give this great gift to your colleagues?

Giving recognition can become an alien action in schools – we are, because of the nature of our roles, used to giving constructive feedback and working towards ‘next steps’ all the time.

Take the time to ‘talk-up’ a colleague.

The gift of recognition

  • When a colleague does something great, despite how small the deed or action, think about what made it so successful.
  • Then, it’s simple. Choose a way to recognise it, such as:
    – by sending a congratulatory email
    – writing praise on the staff noticeboards
    – approaching and telling your colleague directly
    – leaving them a post-it note
    – talking about the impact of what they taught you or shared with you, letting them know it worked and why
    – talking-up the person to other colleagues
    – giving a social media ‘shout-out’ and share your praise on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, tagging your colleague

Why is it a good strategy?

  • Although it might sound very simple, recognising a colleague’s efforts is a great way to boost wellbeing and to let people know their idea or action is appreciated and valued.
  • How often do people talk each other down at your setting? Showing recognition through ‘talking-up’ spreads positive vibes.
  • Let’s be honest, being kind to others feels good for you too!


Respond with gratitude and praise as soon as possible, this will likely have the best impact as the event will be fresh in everyone’s minds.

2 thoughts on “Talk-Up Teaching

  1. Great idea Hanna. I would suggest however making it part of the structure of professional development. Meaningful, responsive, intuitive and genuine reflection leads to all sorts of spin-offs not just well being. The art of becoming focussed on strengths rather than deficits lies at the heart of a strategy employed by my old team in a large PRU. We provided the descriptors and staff selected the ones that had a best fit – all strengths. Following this, every member of staff received feedback from others on descriptors that could be used to identify specific examples of their good practice and why it was appreciated. It’s a terrific way of working and feeding back but has to be done regularly and in a solution focussed manner. We used triads as it fitted the time available but any coaching model could work depending on circumstances.

    Beware, the noise can become deafening when teachers and colleagues start to reflect positively and proactively! Get some biscuits in too 🙂

  2. Well said, Hannah. In the hurly-burly of school and the enormous workload everyone is under, we can forget to tell people how good we think they are. Every time we do, it makes both them and us feel great!

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