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January 12, 2016 Motivating Student Learning Through Praise By Kriscia Cabral
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    One of the things I value most about my time at school is working towards a close-knit classroom community and creating a nurturing environment. For instance, I cringe when students say, "It was easy because s/he is smart!" because I know that for someone in the room, it’s not easy and then they believe that they are not smart. I work hard to create a positive climate through a unified approach to how we give affirmation to each other. Keep reading to see how I turn the way we praise each other in my room into a morale booster for all students.

    Since the beginning of the year, students have been learning about their brain and how it is a muscle that grows. 

    We spent a lot of time discussing growth mindset and the power of “not yet.” We come back in January sharing our mindset moments which I wrote about in "Mindset Moments: Showcasing Student Growth." Now I want to steer the conversation towards the idea of praise.

    Through our growth mindset talks, we learn about what it means to try and persevere through a task. We discuss why there is more to a task than just being “smart” enough to figure out the answer. After we talk about praising comments that students hear from each other, parents, and teachers, we talk about how valuable those statements are. I then introduce to students new ways that they can motivate each other to continue to use the growth mindset when they are learning. Here is a list of steps I used when introducing this idea to students:

    • Go over the idea of praise

    • Discuss why we give praise

    • Share common terms of praise

    • Brainstorm what we might hear that would help us feel good about the work we do

    With the help of Carol Dweck’s article, "The Perils and Promises of Praise" we create a class poster of Better Ways to Praise. I keep this displayed in the classroom as a reference for students when they are interacting with each other and more importantly, for myself. (My students' brains are like sponges, ready to soak up new ways of learning. I, on the other hand, need a visual reminder of what I should say that would be the most beneficial to their learning.)

    In her article, Dweck tells us that "when giving students praise, keep in mind that it should be specific to the task and boost the motivation, resilience, and effort for learning." Students should be able to grow and ensure their confidence by hearing these types of things from all learners in the room. Students need to see that what they are doing is essentially for their own self-worth, and everyone (including the teacher) has noticed how hard they are working to bolster it.

    How do you motivate student learning in your classroom?

    I’d love to hear from you!

    Thank you for reading.

     

    Smiles,

    Kriscia

    Follow me on Twitter!

    One of the things I value most about my time at school is working towards a close-knit classroom community and creating a nurturing environment. For instance, I cringe when students say, "It was easy because s/he is smart!" because I know that for someone in the room, it’s not easy and then they believe that they are not smart. I work hard to create a positive climate through a unified approach to how we give affirmation to each other. Keep reading to see how I turn the way we praise each other in my room into a morale booster for all students.

    Since the beginning of the year, students have been learning about their brain and how it is a muscle that grows. 

    We spent a lot of time discussing growth mindset and the power of “not yet.” We come back in January sharing our mindset moments which I wrote about in "Mindset Moments: Showcasing Student Growth." Now I want to steer the conversation towards the idea of praise.

    Through our growth mindset talks, we learn about what it means to try and persevere through a task. We discuss why there is more to a task than just being “smart” enough to figure out the answer. After we talk about praising comments that students hear from each other, parents, and teachers, we talk about how valuable those statements are. I then introduce to students new ways that they can motivate each other to continue to use the growth mindset when they are learning. Here is a list of steps I used when introducing this idea to students:

    • Go over the idea of praise

    • Discuss why we give praise

    • Share common terms of praise

    • Brainstorm what we might hear that would help us feel good about the work we do

    With the help of Carol Dweck’s article, "The Perils and Promises of Praise" we create a class poster of Better Ways to Praise. I keep this displayed in the classroom as a reference for students when they are interacting with each other and more importantly, for myself. (My students' brains are like sponges, ready to soak up new ways of learning. I, on the other hand, need a visual reminder of what I should say that would be the most beneficial to their learning.)

    In her article, Dweck tells us that "when giving students praise, keep in mind that it should be specific to the task and boost the motivation, resilience, and effort for learning." Students should be able to grow and ensure their confidence by hearing these types of things from all learners in the room. Students need to see that what they are doing is essentially for their own self-worth, and everyone (including the teacher) has noticed how hard they are working to bolster it.

    How do you motivate student learning in your classroom?

    I’d love to hear from you!

    Thank you for reading.

     

    Smiles,

    Kriscia

    Follow me on Twitter!

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