The month of December: a time for reflection and celebration. This is a time of year that unites us as community. From Diwali to Hanukkah to Christmas, light takes priority, no matter your faith, religion or beliefs. Together, we light a candle as a symbol of joy and hope.
As teachers, the hope we instil in our learners is not just seasonal but is instead a continuous process. It is often achieved through praise – in recognition of any, or all, contributions made by students. But how necessary and productive are a teacher’s everyday ‘praise phrases’? Is a teacher a constant cheerleader, or should there be more emphasis on quantity and quality?
In the classroom, these fixed mindset ‘praise phrases’ might include ‘thank you, clever girl.’
Teachers’ praise is an efficient tool to motivate learners, instilling both a feeling of comfort and confidence. It is almost a reflex action, but what is the teacher thanking the student for? More importantly, is a student really clever just because they provided that particular answer?
Here at Teach 2030, we believe that teachers need to consider the effectiveness of a student’s answer and instead praise skill, so learners understand exactly what – and how – they are achieving. In other words, praising ability shows a fixed mindset, whilst praising attainment shows a growth mindset.
Here is a list of praise phrases that reflect a growth mindset:
- “Well done on using the appropriate formula.” (Maths)
- ” It is good that you have used an adjective in this descriptive sentence.” (English)
- “You have correctly identified the countries.” (Geography)
On November 30th, we hosted a workshop that focused on the importance of teachers’ language to encourage growth with our Teach2030 Cameroon Ambassador, Njilefac Atem. In it, we discussed how our responses can motivate – or demotivate – a student. We, as teachers, have the power to change our learners’ attitudes in our classrooms, depending on whether we present to them a growth or a fixed mindset. To rewatch the workshop, click here.
Our Growth Mindset course delves more deeply into this topic, outlining the scientific support behind the theory. Changing habits can be challenging, but our high quality and contextualised professional development courses encourage teachers to model the continuous learning and growth expected in their own classrooms.
Our Teach2030 community are all presenting a growth mindset outlook by choosing to upskill themselves for the benefit of their communities. We are proud of all that you are continuing to achieve, and we want to shine a light on, and celebrate, you all. It takes hard work and commitment to improve your classroom skills, and we will be here to support you with your teacher professional development in 2023.
Help us to celebrate your achievements further by sharing your professional development stories and successes with us on our Facebook and Instagram pages.