Stop Praising Students

There’s a good article in the latest Educational Leadership: “The Perils and Promise of Praise”. It’s by Carol Dweck.

The wrong kind of praise creates self-defeating behavior. The right kind motivates students to learn.

We often hear these days that we’ve produced a generation of young people who can’t get through the day without an award. They expect success because they’re special, not because they’ve worked hard.

Is this true? Have we inadvertently done something to hold back our students?

I think educators commonly hold two beliefs that do just that. Many believe that (1) praising students’ intelligence builds their confidence and motivation to learn, and (2) students’ inherent intelligence is the major cause of their achievement in school. Our research has shown that the first belief is false and that the second can be harmful—even for the most competent students.

As a psychologist, I have studied student motivation for more than 35 years. My graduate students and I have looked at thousands of children, asking why some enjoy learning, even when it’s hard, and why they are resilient in the face of obstacles. We have learned a great deal. Research shows us how to praise students in ways that yield motivation and resilience. In addition, specific interventions can reverse a student’s slide into failure during the vulnerable period of adolescence

Read more at the link and more anon.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymouse:

    Anonymous said…
    Alfie Kohn has some of the same ideas. He writes about how we rob kids of their love of learning by offering them rewards for what they actually are already motivated to do.

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