Praising Effort Instead of Intelligence

Last Updated: September 14, 2021 |
Published On: September 29, 2020 |
Categories: Home Learning, HomeCoach |

Praising Effort Instead of Intelligence

Research shows that when we praise intelligence, people gain the mindset that you either are born smart or you’re not. When we praise students for their effort rather than their intelligence, we help them understand that their intelligence can change and grow. We help them realize that with the right actions and behaviors, they can master new skills.

Instead of saying…

“You are so smart”


“You are so creative”

Try offering effort or process praise.

Praise the strategy

  • You found a really good way to do it!”
  • “You tried another way to solve the problem!”

Praise with specificity

  • “This time you remembered to start your sentence with a capital!”

Praise effort

  • “You stayed in your learning space, and kept your concentration!”
  • “You never gave up trying to solve that problem!”

Observe comment

  • Boy you used a lot of blue today!
  • Wow, you wrote 10 sentences today.