An even more important conclusion to draw from Dweck's research is that we have to be very careful about how we praise young people. Dweck quotes research in the USA which shows that 85 per cent of parents think that praise is very important for children's performance and confidence. She warns that this type of praise could undermine intrinsic motivatiion.
Here are some tips on how to give praise:
Don't praise unless it is warranted.
Praise for effort, concentration and good strategies - not for talent, ability or intelligence.
Be specific - well-judged praise helps young people to learn what they are doing well and what they can build on.
Don't go over the top with praise - it can lead a young person to feel anxious that they may disappoint you in the future.
Teachers and others working with children often give praise, as they want to appear positive and motivating. However, praise that is unwarranted is counterproductive. It is better to use encouragement instead.
For example: Show you feel positive about the young person by being interested in them and their work, for example rather than saying 'what a wonderful drawing' it is better to say 'tell me about this person' or 'why did you use this colour of blue?'
Recognise the effort the youngster is putting in.
Ask them questions about how they think they are doing, what help they may need, what obstacles they may face and how they can get round them.
Use a growth mindset and tell them how they are capable of learning with enough effort, concentration and better strategies.
Encourage them to be optimistic about being able to improve.
Copyright: Centre for Confidence and Well-being