What’s better than praise?

Coaching a Growth Mindset is key in unleashing a student’s potential and motivating them to believe in themselves, and that they can achieve anything. According to Dweck, a better way to praise is through process praise rather than person praise. The latter focuses on inherent qualities and traits like intelligence which pupils generally think is inborn, and not necessarily to do with effort. Process praise is about effort, and the strategies and actions that contributed to the success of the task. So, instead of saying, ‘you’re brilliant at this’, you could say, ‘I like how you used different strategies to figure out the problems’.

But what’s better than praise? Dweck maintains that teachers and parents overpraise anyway, and a better way of coaching a Growth Mindset is not to praise after the work has been done, but to interact with the pupil as the work is being done. She says, ‘Appreciate it. Ask questions. If we see that a child is using interesting strategies we can ask about them. Talk to them about their thought processes, how they learn from their mistakes.’

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