What we praise our children for will determine what they focus on. While we can all agree that it is important to praise our students, we must be mindful of our attention.
Dr. Carol Dweck shares how praise impacted students she worked with. When students were praised for their effort and hard work, they continued to learn and grow. When students were praised for being "smart," they developed a fear of failure and losing that title of “smart,” and their learning was stifled.
Students love to be praised and will continue to perform the action that earned the initial praise. If we say “An ‘A’? Wow, you worked so hard on this!” our students will continue to work hard so they receive praise. If we say “An ‘A’? Wow, you are so smart!” students focus on the outcome and the identity associated with it (being "smart") instead of the effort they had to put into earning that score.
In the classroom, let our motto be “Praise the process, not the person.”
In addition to the type of praise we give our students, feedback has an impact on our students' mindsets. Please take the time to view this Growth Mindset Feedback form (Word) from Mindset Works for examples of different types of feedback we can provide.