Praise with Substance

Randall was always told he was "smart." In math class, his teachers celebrated his correct answers, and he grew to expect this type of success. Then, in 4th grade, Randall started to encounter math problems that he couldn't figure out. He was angry. He felt foolish. His teacher said "You tried hard - that's okay." But it wasn't okay. Randall put down his pencil and closed his book. Randall gave up. Wait... How and what we praise matters. In a growth mindset approach, we want our students to know that effort is important. But effort must be supported by practices that encourage learning and growth. As Carol Dweck says, "Students need to try new strategies and seek input from others when they'

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