This practitioner enquiry is embedded in Carol Dweck’s work regarding “growth mindset” as well as a sentence from Alan McLean (2003) “the most powerful motivation for learning comes from inside” and the Scottish Government drive to close the attainment gap. How, as teachers, can we motivate pupils to achieve their full potential?
In the Modern Languages classroom, pupils can lack motivation or engagement as they navigate out of the comfort zone of their mother tongue(s). Some learners choose to stop their effort at the first obstacle they encounter. Praising their effort instead of their achievement can help pupils develop a “growth mindset” rather than a “fixed mindset” (Dweck), therefore enabling them to become more “confident individuals” which is one of the aims set out by the Curriculum for Excellence. Dweck (2007) writes that: “The wrong kind of praise creates self-defeating behaviour. The right kind motivates students to learn.”
It has been suggested that developing a growth mindset can help promote self-esteem, push confidence, create a nurturing classroom environment and boost pupils’ motivation (Dweck, 2010).
The aim of this enquiry is to identify what happens when teachers celebrate effort in the classroom. The aim is to determine whether praising effort has some effects on S1 pupils’ motivation and engagement in the French classroom.