Despite this challenging year, it is time to celebrate. From Diwali to Hanukkah to Christmas, this is the season, no matter your faith, religion or beliefs. Even with differences, these festivities are united in their focus on light, either symbolically through the use of candles, or metaphorically through ideas of hope.
As teachers, the hope we instil in our learners is not about the seasons but is 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 ‘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. 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.
Meet Emmanuel Anya, one of our Teach 2030 ambassadors based in Nigeria.
He has implemented skills learnt from our Growth Mindset course by adapting his praise strategies:
‘I used the growth mindset strategy of praising the effort rather than intelligence of my students. This is to change the fixed mindset that giving the correct answer in class makes one intelligent. I always asked my students to give reason/show evidence why the answer they gave was correct.’
Emmanuel later describes the positive impact that these simple adjustments have had in his classroom:
‘This also built their critical thinking skills, and…encouraged hard work and team spirit among my students. My students’ mindset has changed. They now know it’s not just enough to get the correct answer but to also show evidence why the answer is correct. My class is now participatory and my students creative.’
These benefits of professional development teacher strategies, like praising effectively, means Emmanuel can celebrate learning in a way that floods his students with both hope and light. 2020 has been a year dominated by the Covid pandemic-19, so this impact seems more important and significant than ever.
Let us celebrate your achievements by sharing your professional development stories and successes with us on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
For more information on our ‘Growth Mindset’ course, visit our Teach2030 course home page.