The topic of this blog is encouragement and praise in the classroom. It’s a well-known fact that people perform better when they feel appreciated. Often, however, teachers are too busy to provide the level of recognition needed for students to excel. To overcome this challenge, parents and educators alike need to know how best to motivate children through positive reinforcement. This article will explore methods of encouragement and praise as well as give examples from various sources where these techniques have been successful.
Differences Between Encouragement and Praise
Praise and encouragement are both positive statements used to promote growth in others. However, when it comes to making a difference in the lives of students, praise (shouldn’t be given) in place of encouragement. Why? That’s because praise does not have the same impact on self-esteem as encouragement. Here is a list of 10 major differences between encouragement and praise.
1. Encouragement is related to the growth mindset while praise is related to the fixed mindset. The growth mindset allows people to see failures as opportunities for learning, whereas the fixed mindset makes people believe their abilities are set in stone and any failure means they lack inherent talent or ability. For example, encouraging a student who failed an assignment by saying, “I know you can do this. Look at all the effort you put into it!” is more productive than simply telling them they are smart and intelligent.
2. Encouragement builds self-confidence, while praise makes people question their abilities. When someone feels confident in themselves, they are less likely to doubt their abilities and more likely to step outside of their comfort zones. For example, when a student gets an A on an exam by simply studying hard and using effective test-taking strategies, rather than telling them they are smart or intelligent [and thus increasing the likelihood that the student might believe they only succeeded because of some innate ability], it would be better to encourage them by saying, “I’m so proud of the hard work and effort you put forth this semester. You did it. Your success was not based on luck.”
3. Encouragement encourages and motivates others, whereas praise makes people feel good about themselves (but won’t necessarily motivate them). Telling a student they are smart or they are good at something may make them feel happy or proud of themselves for a moment, but it does not encourage them to work harder in the future. For example, telling someone who failed an assignment that they are smart will not help motivate them to study more before the next exam. However, encouraging them by saying, “You did your best on this assignment. Keep studying hard for the next one so you can improve” is far more likely to inspire them to work harder in the future.
4. Encouragement makes people feel capable of overcoming obstacles, whereas praise leaves students unprepared to handle difficult situations. When someone is encouraged by their friends or family members, they are more likely to have the internal motivation to face challenges they might not be able to handle on their own. For example, telling a student who is struggling in math class “You are so smart at these types of subjects” will not help them feel capable of hitting the books and studying harder until they understand the material better. However, encouraging that same student by saying, “I know this is hard for you. But if you keep studying and practicing instead of giving up, I know you can succeed” might give them the motivation they need to work harder until they understand what is being taught in class.
5. Encouragement builds trust between peers while praise might break that bond. When someone trusts another person, they are more likely to be open and honest with them. For example, encouraging a student who failed an assignment by saying, “I believe in you. You can do this” shows the student you trust their ability to succeed. However, telling them they are smart might make them fearful of letting you down in the future.
6. Encouragement makes people feel empowered while praise leaves them feeling helpless. When someone feels empowered, they are better equipped to make decisions and navigate difficult situations. For example, encouraging a student who is having trouble in math class by saying, “I don’t know the answer, but I do know you can figure it out if you keep working hard” makes the student feel empowered because they know you believe in them. However, telling that same student “I don’t know why this is difficult for you” by essentially telling them it is their fault (even though it isn’t) may make them feel helpless and like there is nothing they can do to improve their situation.
7. Encouragement is a more positive way of saying the same thing as praise. For example, “You did a great job!” and “I think you did an awesome job” both convey positive messages to a person. However, by using encouragement, that person will feel empowered rather than helpless or ashamed of themselves for not doing well enough.
8. Encouragement makes the person feel like they are in control, whereas praise may make them feel underqualified to handle their responsibilities. For example, encouraging a student who failed an assignment by saying “This was not your best work. But I know if you keep studying hard, you’ll do better on future tests” acknowledges that the student did everything they could on this assignment and gives them hope that they can succeed if they just keep trying. However, telling the student “I know you’ll do better next time” implies that it is their responsibility to do well and hints at a lack of confidence in their ability to accomplish the task at hand.
9. Encouragement focuses more on building up the person for future success, whereas praise focuses more on making them feel good about what they did in the past.
10. Encouragement is a way to show you care and that you believe in someone’s ability to succeed while also acknowledging their current challenges, whereas praise might make people feel embarrassed or ashamed of themselves for not doing well enough when they try their hardest.
Encouragement vs Praise: Which is Better?
Do you ever wonder which is better? Encouragement or praise? Today, I would like to explore the differences between the two and discuss when it may be appropriate to use each.
Praise tends to be used in public while encouragement tends to be used in private. When using praise, one must be careful not to be too complimentary for fear of getting voted off the island. At times, it may seem easier to throw out praise than encouragement because it is so much simpler to give.
On the other hand, encouraging someone can take a lot more time and effort than praising them because you want to make sure they really do understand how deserving they are of encouragement.
When using praise, it can be very easy to slip into a pattern where you fall into the habit of only offering praise when someone has done something great or worthy of great credit. It is also very easy for students to subconsciously expect to receive only praise whenever they do what is expected of them.
For example, if a student knows they are great at science, all they have to do is to study for the next test and they receive praise. This becomes problematic when students expect to always receive praise but never encouragement because it creates a false sense of entitlement.
On the other hand, encouragement must be offered not only when someone has done something worthy of credit, but also when someone has done something that is not worthy of credit. For example, if a student struggles with math but manages to study for the next test and pass, they should receive encouragement as well as praise because this is worth congratulating them on.
Encouragement builds relationships while praise can break them. If you are too quick to offer praise without understanding the struggles of those you are praising, you risk alienating them. They may start to perceive that their efforts do not matter because all they ever hear from you is that they are great and never struggle or face any adversity.
On the other hand, it is equally as harmful to only offer encouragement without praise when someone should be praised for a job well done.
People also tend to be more receptive to encouragement than they are praised. A student will probably appreciate it more if you encourage them on their success, even if they have not done something truly worthy of great credit, rather than just throwing out praise all the time without taking the time to get to know them and really focus on what they do well.
Praise is the better option when someone has done something worthy of great credit and encouragement is the better option when someone has done something not worthy of great credit. Using both in combination can be equal parts encouraging and praising, such as when a student does something that is neither truly worthy of great credit nor deserving of condemnation; they simply did a good job.
Why is Encouragement Necessary in Classroom Management?
There are many reasons why it is important to be encouraging in the classroom. There may not seem like there’s a lot of encouragement needed when you first begin teaching, but as time goes on it can become more challenging.
It becomes vital to recognize that students need praise; however, not every student responds well to positive reinforcement or feels that it is deserved.
Sometimes you also need to encourage when something goes wrong or a mistake is made, this helps guide students through their mistakes and make them feel like they can do better next time.
It’s important to recognize that all teachers have been in a position where encouragement was needed from someone else, so it should be reciprocated to students who are learning and working hard every day. Here are ten reasons why it is important to provide encouragement in the classroom.
1. Students need praise, not every student responds well to positive reinforcement or feels that it is deserved.
2. Sometimes you also need to encourage when something goes wrong or a mistake is made, this helps guide students through their mistakes and make them feel like they can do better next time.
3. It’s important to recognize that all teachers have been in a position where encouragement was needed from someone else, so it should be reciprocated to students who are learning and working hard every day.
4. Dejected students will not want to learn and may stop coming to school. Encouragement can motivate them to continue trying and learning.
5. Encouragement boosts the morale of the teacher as well as that of students.
6. One reason why encouragement is important in the classroom is that it will provide a good example for your students by showing them how to handle success and failure with dignity, grace, and enthusiasm
7. Encouragement helps students see their value and it opens a door for them to take more risks, explore new ideas or simply try harder.
8. By encouraging your students you encourage yourself as well; seeing someone work hard can inspire you to work harder as well.
9. Students should learn that making mistakes is part of the learning process, you don’t learn if you’re not making mistakes.
10. Teachers need to be encouraging with both praise and constructive criticism to help students grow and develop into confident individuals.
How to Use Encouragement in the classroom?
Use encouragement in the classroom to make your students feel good about themselves. This is a technique that will help you motivate your students and improve their performance. It is a very simple yet highly effective strategy, but it needs to be done consistently for the best effect.
Encouragement can take many forms; it may be as simple as saying “Nice job!” or as complicated as creating a whole motivational system. If you want to know how to use encouragement in the classroom, just follow these steps.
1) Say Yes
One of the best ways to use encouragement is to always say yes. This may sound easy but it actually takes quite a bit of effort if you are trying not to let your frustration show. Let’s say that one of your students has been struggling with a certain concept for days. Instead of saying “no” every time she asks, try to always say yes to help her learn it.
If you can’t figure out how to do something, simply ask the student what they think the result would be or if they have any ideas. Saying yes does take much more effort than simply saying no, but to use encouragement in the classroom, you need to say yes as often as possible to help your students learn and feel good about themselves.
If you do this every day, they will see just how much you care and how willing you are to help them reach their potential.
2) Give Praise
Everyone likes being praised for a job well done. If you want to use encouragement in the classroom, then you must praise your students often. The best way to do this is simply by telling them how pleased you are with their hard work and effort.
It is easy to get lazy and stop using words like “great” or “fantastic,” so always try to come up with new adjectives to describe your students’ work. You can also use nonverbal means of encouragement, such as giving a thumbs up, a high five, or even a hug.
3) Always Give Choices
Another way you can use encouragement in the classroom is to let your students make some decisions. Instead of asking them what they want for lunch, simply give them a couple of choices and ask them to vote on the one they like best.
If companies and presidents can do this by soliciting opinions from their employees or citizens instead of just making all the decisions themselves, then you should be able to give your students a say in what they learn and how they learn it.
4) Make Them Feel Comfortable
One of the best ways to use encouragement is to make your students feel comfortable by asking them about their lives outside of school. This will allow you to get to know them better and show that you genuinely care for them as people, not just as students.
If you can get to know your students well, then they will be more likely to open up and feel comfortable asking for help when they need it, which is especially important in math class where many kids struggle with fear of failure.
5) Keep Your Cool
When dealing with any human being, there are bound to be some stressful situations. If you want to use encouragement in the classroom, then it is important to try not to lose your temper when things get tough.
If your students are struggling with something, it may be frustrating, but take a deep breath and think about how you can best help them before responding or reacting.
6) Celebrate Successes
If you want to use encouragement in the classroom, then it is important to always celebrate successes and recognize hard work and effort. There will be times when your best-laid plans go awry and sometimes there won’t be a clear path to success or an easy answer.
If this happens, simply acknowledge that it’s difficult and try using encouragement as much as possible to help your students through these hard times.
7) Lead By Example
You need to make sure that you are using encouragement in the classroom as often as possible yourself. If you only say nice things about other people and their work when they aren’t around or if you rarely acknowledge your student’s efforts or handouts, then it will be very clear that you are just saying these things to make them happy.
If you want to encourage your students, then you need to do so through your words and actions every day of the school year.
8) Be Consistent
When you use encouragement in the classroom, it is important to be consistent with your words and actions. If you constantly criticize and chastise your students, then they will begin to tune out and lose any sense of motivation or willingness to try hard. Instead, show them that you genuinely care about their success by using words of praise whenever possible.
9) Be These Things
Towards your students, it is important to be encouraging in the classroom. You should be kind, caring, and supportive. Not only will these characteristics allow you to gain trust from your students, but they will also help them feel comfortable enough to discuss any struggles they may have with math.
10) Praise the Achiever
When you are encouraging in the classroom, it is important to praise kids for their achievements. This will provide them with a sense of motivation and accomplishment that will carry over into their future learning experiences.
It’s great to encourage kids when they are struggling, but always make sure you recognize all of their hard work along the way, so they don’t lose sight of their progress.
11) Build Kids Up
Encouragement in the classroom is a necessary part of teaching. It can be tough to find things to say when times are rough, but these phrases will help you encourage students during difficult classes, so they feel valued and respected throughout the year.
12) Treat Everyone the Same
When you use encouragement in the classroom, it is important to remember that everyone is different. While some students are self-starters who are excited about learning new things, others may need more direction and handholding.
Try not to get frustrated by the amount of work certain kids can produce individually but do encourage them all equally with kind words and actions.
13) Give Everybody a Chance
Since everyone learns differently, you must try to show encouragement in the classroom to all of your students. This can be tough when some are clearly struggling more than others, but don’t forget that everyone’s path to success is different.
If you want to use encouragement in the classroom, then be sure to give everybody a chance, even if it isn’t in your plan.
14) Praise the Process
When you use encouragement in the classroom, it is important to focus on the process rather than just the product. Even though students may have completed an assignment or solved a problem correctly, they won’t feel encouraged unless praise is based on their work ethic and effort rather than just the outcome.
15) Make Time
If you want to use encouragement in the classroom, then you need to make time for it. This doesn’t mean that your lesson plans should be made up of compliments and praise, but during transitions or downtimes, try using encouraging phrases with your students so they feel valued and appreciated.
16) Change Up Your Vocabulary
When you use encouragement in the classroom, it’s important to not constantly tell students that they are “smart.” While this may be a nice sentiment, it won’t truly motivate anybody and could make students feel like they don’t have to work hard because they’ve already been given such high praise.
Instead, use more empowering and encouraging phrases like “You did great!” or “I’m proud of your effort.”
17) Find Something to Praise
Using encouragement in the classroom doesn’t mean that you need to go out of your way to find things to compliment or praise. Instead, make it a natural part of your day by finding something to appreciate about each student that you work with. This could be anything from their improved effort to the simple fact that they are trying so hard.
18) Make Them Feel Special
When encouraging students in the classroom, it’s important to make them feel special and valued because of their individual differences. If your goal is to use encouragement in the classroom, then make students feel appreciated for their natural gifts and talents.
19) Be Gentle
Using encouragement in the classroom doesn’t mean that you need to become a softy or take it easy on your students. You can still get your point across while being gentle with your words – even when you are correcting mistakes or pointing out errors.
20) Take Notes
If you want to use encouragement in the classroom, then be sure to take notes. Whether these are about your students’ work ethics and progress or their personality and character traits, this information will help you support them as individuals if they need some extra help.