Gordon Reid

Primary Teacher

Mossend Primary

  • Growth Mindset

What Happens When I Use Praise For Effort In The Classroom?


There has been a lot of recent discussion about the notion of growth mindset, underpinned by psychological, neuroscience and educational research and this practitioner enquiry embeds this research to focus on the aspect of praise and the effect this has on effort in the classroom.

Dweck (2007) proclaims that; “commending students for the processes they use … fosters motivation, increased effort, willingness to take on new challenges, greater self-confidence, and a higher level of success” however, on the other hand McLean (2003) through his work with Scottish teachers and schools challenges the ‘woolly thinking’ on issues such as self-esteem and motivation to learn, highlighting that the actual impact of praise for effort in the classroom is not quite as clear-cut.

With North Lanarkshire’s overarching strategy of ‘Raising Achievement for All’ (Scottish Government, 2014) to ensure that all young people leave education feeling motivated and determined to succeed, this is an enquiry issue that is inextricably bound to closing the attainment gap.


This is a small-scale enquiry where I aim to determine the impact of issuing praise during maths lessons to the effort observed in a group of 30 pupils of primary 6. It is worth noting that this research does not intend to measure correct answers or responses but will instead focus on pupil’s motivation to complete the activities and the effort they put into the tasks.

Download Practitioner Enquiry