Damian Bariexca, coming from a school psych perspective, makes an important distinction between praise and positive reinforcement:
Praise is a pretty standard entity framed from the perspective of the giver – the person praising is expressing approval or admiration of something someone else did or said. Positive reinforcement, on the other hand, is framed from the perspective of the receiver.
Then, he proceeds to further elaborate on reinforcers:
What I find reinforcing, you may not. For example: I love dark chocolate, so you may tell me that for every 3 psychological reports I write, I’ll get a big chunk of dark chocolate. Because I really want that dark chocolate, I will be more likely to complete more reports; however, if I make the same deal with you, but you hate the taste of dark chocolate, that will not be a reinforcer for you.
The implications for me as a school counselor come when it’s time to work with students who have difficulties with challenging behaviors. Sometimes we have to keep digging to find the right carrot for them to work for. And sometimes their carrot changes just when we’ve found the right one.