In March 2020, schools around the world were closed due to the risk of a novel virus, COVID-19. However, a generation of young people still had a right to access education. Schools up and down the country used a variety of tools to provide this education online. There were many hurdles to overcome, such as access to digital equipment, digitising lessons, and digital literacy (for students and teachers alike).
But once they have the equipment and know how to use it, how can class teachers inspire learners to log on and put the effort into online learning? During a second period of online learning at the beginning of 2021, it was even more important to ensure continuity of education as learners missed even more face-to-face learning. Scottish education policy is underpinned by a child-centred approach where attainment is intrinsically linked with the theory of a Growth Mindset; that is, the belief that one’s skills and abilities are not innately set but can be developed through effort and hard work. The theory behind Fixed and Growth Mindsets state that a Growth Mindset can be cultivated in all learners. I believe that a Growth Mindset is crucial to self-motivation, and this can be harnessed to increase learner-engagement throughout online learning.
Carol Dweck (1999) suggests that the key to cultivating a Growth Mindset is praise. Therefore, this enquiry is inspired by the theory of Growth Mindsets, and the need to create a positive learning environment that motivates learners to engage during periods of online learning. To do this, I wanted to investigate how the “Praise” function in MS affected learner engagement and, by consequence, attainment.
The aim of this enquiry was to understand how using the “Praise” function in MS Teams to award public praise badges would impact on learner engagement and attainment. We hypothesised that by regularly praising students for effort and engagement, that we would see an increase in attendance for online calls, engagement with posts (by way of reactions or replies), submission of assignments, and an increase in the quality of work submitted.