Are You Giving the Right Feedback and Praise?

Over the last couple of blogs, we introduced growth mindset as the foundation of Finland Math (and Finnish education in general) and then, how to foster a safe environment for mistakes.

In this blog, we’ll focus on feedback and praise. If applied correctly, it can be a magic touch that can influence our students, relationships and even our parenting.

But first, some wise words by the guru of growth mindset, Carol Dweck:

What we’ve found in study after study is that ability-praise backfires. Emphasising effort gives a child a variable that they can control. They come to see themselves as in control of their success. Emphasising natural intelligence takes it out of the child’s control, and it provides no good recipe for responding to a failure.

There are two main types of praise. Person and process praise. Person praise usually involves critiquing the person. It might sound like this.

You’re so clever!

You have natural talent.

You don’t have a math mind.

Process praise is when we direct our praise at the effort and strategies that went into the process. It might sound like this:

Great job on that test — you must have worked really hard.

That wasn’t your best performance — what do you think we can do better next time?

In a growth mindset classroom, the goal is to lean towards process praise. Look at the chart below to see some concrete examples.

Source: mindsetkit.org

To integrate this style of praise start practicing on your kids today. If you already feel like a process praise expert, how about encouraging your students to critique each other’s work? Consider allowing your children to give feedback to each other, following the cues below:

  • One great thing about your work is …
  • I really like the way that you …
  • My favourite part of this is …
  • I noticed that …

Praise can be sculpted to suit many audiences and situations. How can you use the examples above to make it as practical as possible right away?

Eduten is Finland’s number #1 digital learning platform. Using Eduten helps children learn from their mistakes without stress and also delivers praise and feedback in fun and practical ways. Sign up for a free four-week trial of Eduten today.

Hey, did you know that we also have a podcast about Finnish Education Perspectives? All of our guests are the best experts in Finnish education. Listen to it through your preferred podcast channel here.

You can contact Melissa at melissa@eduten.com
You can contact Erkki at erkki@eduten.com

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Writing about edtech by night, developing our own digital learning platform by day. We are Eduten, a spin-off of University of Turku, a top 1% university.