Rachel Bennett

Primary Teacher

Allanton Primary

  • Growth Mindset

What happens when pupils use peer encouragement in the classroom?


It is evident in educational literature that engagement in school can be categorised into three terms; ‘Behavioural’, ‘Emotional and ‘Cognitive’. Focussing on the emotional aspect, it is noted in the work of (Fredricks, Blumenfeld and Paris 2004: 60) “Emotional engagement encompasses positive and negative reactions to teachers, classmates, academics, and school and is presumed to create ties to an institution and influence willingness to do the work”. Therefore, encouraging a positive relationship between peers can be a factor in effort made and success in a pupil’s learning. Part of learning is accepting mistakes will be made. It is these mistakes which shape or understanding and development (Growth Mindset: 2015). If pupils are afraid of making mistakes, they can miss opportunities to be praised for their efforts in their learning. These opportunities may give the pupils the confidence to try new creative approaches, if they are solely concerned with reaching the correct final answer, rather than considering the journey they have taken to reach their conclusion (Tugend: 2012).

To fulfil the GTCS standard 1.4.2 (GTCS: 2012) an enquiry was carried out introducing peer praise into a classroom.


The aim of the study was to investigate if regular use of peer praise would influence pupil’s effort. Within my classroom, some pupils require an increased level of encouragement to feel confident in their learning. While I provide praise for effort, I questioned if training the class to spot effort and provide positive comments would encourage those less confident to try tasks which they would normally be hesitant to attempt. I also questioned if this would support an individual who can struggle to integrate socially with others; as they would be actively encouraged to observe others and in turn be observed and commented on in a positive way.

Download Practitioner Enquiry