Learning the best way to praise a student's efforts

On Thursday 26 January 2017, Baleares International College, in Majorca, which is part of Orbital Education, is organising a series of events to present the latest research about ‘Growth Mindset’, led by the international expert Tricia Taylor (Founder and Director of TailoredPractice). Growth Mindset is an approach to learning, whereby young people learn to see effort as something positive and will persevere when faced with challenges.

The workshop will be attended by BIC staff from its two campuses at San Porrassa and Sant Agusti, along with colleagues from other schools that are members of the National Association of British Schools in Spain. A separate event will be held for parents, because the research shows that parents can play a crucial role in developing their child’s attitude to learning by using particular words and phrases to praise their child. 

The research on ‘Growth Mindset’ is largely the work of Carol S. Dweck, who is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, a leading researcher in the area of student motivation and the author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Professor Dweck summarises the approach as follows: “As educators, we want all of the students we teach to profit from our efforts. A ‘Growth Mindset’ – ours and theirs – helps students to seek learning, to love learning, and to learn effectively.” 

Dweck’s research has been useful in developing intervention strategies with ‘at risk’ students, particularly in challenging subject areas, as well as high achieving students who limit themselves because of the fear of failure. She has demonstrated that praising a student’s effort, rather than complimenting their innate ability, can foster a Growth Mindset and positively impact students’ motivation levels. 

The events arranged by BIC will enable teachers and parents to understand the psychology behind learning and how students have different attitudes to learning. At BIC, the focus is on continual improvement, so strategies such as Growth Mindset can be highly effective in supporting all students, but particularly those whose progress needs a boost.

Lowri Millar is the Principal of BIC Sant Agusti and commented, “Growth Mindset shows that the language we use to respond to young people when they learn has a significant impact on developing a mindset that values effort, challenge and perseverance. At BIC, we want all of our students to be engaged and happy learners. We hope that this workshop and the inclusion of parents will help us all to understand how to support our students in their learning. Having worked with Tricia before, I can say that she is an excellent speaker who takes the most current research and creates practical applications for the classroom and everyday life. I am confident that both events will be very successful".