Amanda Young

Business Education

Taylor High

  • Growth Mindset

What Happens When we use Positive Language in the Classroom?


Traditionally, our mindset was seen as fixed. In a fixed mindset, learners believe their basic abilities, their intelligence and their talents are fixed traits which cannot be grown and developed (Dweck, 2000). This is still seen in learners in school today and can cause barriers to raising attainment if learners believe they cannot achieve. The Scottish Government National Attainment Challenge is a priority in increasing the level of numeracy, literacy and health and wellbeing for Scotland’s young people. Therefore, it is a fundamental role for teachers in the classroom to get learners to think more positively. Carol Dweck’s growth mindset theory outlines that when learners believe they can get smarter by putting in extra time and effort this leads to higher achievement. Research shows that we can indeed change a person’s mindset from fixed to growth, and when we do, it leads to increased motivation and achievement. One way in which Dweck’s research highlights how we can change learner’s mindset is by praise. The focus of this classroom-based Practitioner Enquiry is based upon identifying what positive language is more effective and the impact it has on learners.


The aims of this enquiry were to:

  • Identify what positive language teachers use in the classroom to motivate students
  • Evaluate what happens when positive written and verbal language is used in the classroom
Download Practitioner Enquiry