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The Power of Praising Effort: What I learned As A Preschool Teacher and Homeschooler


What I learned As A Preschool Teacher and Homeschooler


As an educator with more than two decades of experience, I have watched the my students grow from Kindergarteners to High schoolers to College students to raising their own families and I have witnessed the transformative impact of praising effort over intelligence in shaping the mindset and resilience of our young learners. In a world where success is often equated with innate intelligence, it's crucial to recognize the profound influence that our words can have on a child's development.


Renowned psychologist Carol Dweck emphasizes the importance of fostering a growth mindset, stating, "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer." This encapsulates the essence of praising effort over fixed intelligence. When we celebrate persistence, determination, and resilience, we empower children to embrace challenges and view mistakes as opportunities for growth.


Consider the words of Stanford University's Dr. Jo Boaler, "We now know that the brain is like a muscle; it changes and grows in response to challenge." By praising effort, we encourage children to exercise and strengthen their intellectual muscles, fostering a love for learning that goes beyond mere grades or test scores.


One notable example of the power of grit is Thomas Edison, who famously said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Edison's relentless pursuit of innovation and his ability to persevere in the face of setbacks are emblematic of the mindset we aim to cultivate in our students.


In the classroom, praising effort should be specific and timely.

In the classroom, praising effort should be specific and timely. Instead of saying, "You're so smart," try acknowledging their hard work, saying, "I appreciate the time and effort you put into understanding this concept." This reinforces the connection between effort and achievement.

Parents and educators, let's remember the story of Michael Jordan, who once remarked, "I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." Jordan's journey reflects the resilience and tenacity that come from valuing effort over immediate success.


mom praising the effort of her child


So, as we guide the next generation, let's be intentional in our praise. Encourage them to embrace challenges, applaud their perseverance, and celebrate the process, not just the outcome. Let's create an environment where mistakes are seen as stepping stones to mastery.


In addition to fostering a culture of effort-based praise in our interactions with children, I'm excited to offer a practical tool to support parents and educators in this journey. I've created a free printable, akin to a cheat sheet, featuring these empowering phrases for encouraging effort in children. Whether you're in the classroom, homeschooling, or parenting, this resource serves as a gentle reminder of the power of our words in shaping the mindset and resilience of young learners. You can download it from the FREE Parent & Educator Resources Collection and start incorporating these affirmations into your daily interactions with children today.



Empowering phrases

In closing, I encourage parents and educators alike to reflect on the impact of our words. The power to shape resilient, lifelong learners lies in our ability to praise effort, instilling in children the belief that their potential is not fixed but can grow with dedication and perseverance. Together, let's build a future where every child thrives, not because of innate intelligence but because of the effort they invest in becoming the best versions of themselves.


Moreover, if you're interested in delving deeper into strategies for cultivating a growth mindset and promoting resilience in children, I invite you to explore the other resources available on the blog. From articles on fostering grit to practical tips for nurturing a love for learning, there's a wealth of insights waiting to support you on your journey as a parent or educator. Together, let's empower the next generation to thrive, one encouraging word at a time.



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