Uncovering innovative ways to motivate pupils is an ongoing conversation in education. And so, in an unfamiliar period of online learning, pupil engagement was an unavoidable challenge. While pupils were working from home, I was striving to keep them motivated so their learning did not suffer and so using Dweck’s (2007) theory of praising effort to motivate and raise achievement seemed even more appropriate than ever before.
Dweck’s (1999) theory is based around the idea of learners having a fixed or growth mind set. It is argued those with a growth mind set, in which they believe their intelligence and skill can be continuously improved, often outperform those who believe that intelligence is fixed. She also discusses how praising effort helps pupils to achieve this growth mind set and so being more confident and motivated. Blackburn (2014) also argues that when we praise pupils for intelligence only, they start to put forth less effort.
As a group, we knew that motivating pupils from home would be difficult and we wanted to investigate whether praising effort rather than quality and ability would have an impact on motivation and engagement.
The aim of this enquiry was to assess how praising effort in the online classroom impacted pupils’ motivation and engagement.