Rhianna Brennan


Dalziel High

  • Growth Mindset

What Happens When we use Positive Language in the Classroom?


It is a common misconception that praising a student’s intelligence is the motivation for them to learn. However, it has been shown that praising a student for their intelligence will make learners fearful of consequences and less likely to relish in the challenge of learning a new skill, these children are more likely to give up when things get too difficult (Dweck, 2007). Dweck holds the opinion that praising a learner for what they are good at (i.e. a talent in sports or mathematics) rather than recognising their efforts in all aspects of learning, they are more likely to have a fear of failure and are less likely to attempt more challenging tasks in subjects they feel they are lacking in (Dweck, 1999).

Emphasising pupil’s effort, rather than their achievement, can allow them to enjoy the process of learning a new skill and is linked to their continued motivation in classes. Praising effort has also shown to assist learners in building a resilience against setbacks. The use of praise for effort also allows learners to attribute their failures to lack of effort, rather than poor intelligence (Mueller and Dweck, 1998).


The aim of this enquiry was to find is using positive language in the classroom had an influence on the self-esteem and confidence of learners.

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