Do's and don'ts of praise

Try to pay attention to how you praise your students. If you’re using person praise, can you modify your language to focus on the process instead? Below are a few examples of common person praise utterances and suggestions for ways to use process praise instead.

Instead of This (Person-Praise) Try This (Process-Praise)
Great job! You must be smart at this. Great job! You must have worked really hard.
See, you are good at English. You got an A on your last test. You really studied for your English test and your improvement shows it.
You got it! I told you that you were smart. I like the way you tried all kinds of strategies on that math problem until you finally got it.
You are such a good student! I love the way you stayed at your desk, you kept your concentration, and you kept on working. That’s great!
Sources: Mueller, C. M., & Dweck, C. S. (1998). Praise for intelligence can undermine children’s motivation and performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(1), 33–52. Gunderson, E.A., Gripshover, S.J., Romero, C., Dweck, C.S., Goldin-Meadon, S., & Levine, S.C. (2013). Parent Praise to 1- to 3-Year-Olds Predicts Children's Motivational Frameworks 5 Years Later. Child Development, 84, 1526-1541.
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