TPT #1: Praise the Process, Not the Outcome

Students need to know HOW they got the right answer and not just that their answer was right. This way they develop critical thinking and not just memorize content. This also encourages them to keep trying despite initial failure. They know that the effort and hard work is just as important as the outcome. Research shows that praise for effort leads to increased persistence, self-evaluation, intrinsic motivation and resilience when students encounter obstacles and setbacks.


  • Be specific about the praised behaviors and reinforce this behavior with your feedback.
  • Use praise to link the outcomes of an assignment to students’ efforts.
  • Comment on which strategies were helpful, and which were not.


  • Don’t offer praise for trivial accomplishments or weak efforts.
  • Don’t let a student feel ashamed of learning difficulties. Instead, treat each challenge as an opportunity for learning.
  • Don’t ever say, “You are so smart.” in response to good work. Instead, praise the work a student has done (e.g., “Your argument is very clear” or “Your homework is very accurate”).

Sources: Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House. Carol Dwyer, PhD, Educational Testing Service, Carol Dweck, PhD, Stanford Universitywith Heather Carlson-Jaquez, MM, Virginia Commonwealth University. (n.d.). Using Praise to Enhance Student Resilience and Learning Outcomes. Retrieved November 14, 2016, from

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