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In a classroom setting teachers tend to do the majority of the talking thus it is no surprise to see many education programs emphasizing the importance of effective communication. Nevertheless, it can be difficult to keep in mind those long university lectures when faced with a class of students that have varying communication and learning styles. In this post, learn some of our favourite ways of encouraging students’ efforts without attributing successes to notions of natural talent. Various studies falling under the umbrella of the behaviourist school of thought confirm that praising effort as opposed to natural talent is more beneficial for the student in the long run. The rationale behind these findings indicates that students are more likely to put forth effort when praised for the action of doing so in the past, as opposed to relying on a notion of predetermined natural ability. Saying things like “you’re so smart” for a job well done sets a standard that may be hard to reach, but praising effort is limitless. Students of any age attribute importance to honest, authentic messages from adults that are perceived to have credibility and educators play an important part in the process.

Encouraging things to tell your students:

  1. You are really persisting on this, good work!
  2. Fantastic problem solving!
  3. Thank you for trying something new.
  4. I know that this is a new topic and may be a bit difficult, I think that you can do it.
  5. Excellent try!
  6. Keep up the great effort.
  7. You worked really hard on that!
  8. Great thinking!
  9. You really used your imagination on [insert project]
  10. I like how you communicated that.

Are there any particular tips and tricks you use for encouraging positive reinforcement in your classroom? Let us know in the comment section!