Girls need praise just as much as boys in the classroom. Here’s why

Following the article we covered yesterday suggesting teachers should stop praising girls to help boys, the Telegraph has a follow up from Kevin Stannard of the Girls’ Day School Trust offering an alternative perspective… 

…There has been a lot of research in recent years – most notably by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck – which suggests that commending children for being smart or talented can actually hinder their development, rather than help it…

So if we want our children to learn and make progress, what can we do instead?

Let’s praise effort, praise having a go, praise taking a risk. This can support the development of a ‘growth mindset’, the belief that your innate abilities are only the starting point, and that if you keep trying and learning, you can achieve more than you think…

But, regardless of whether we celebrate ability or effort, there is no doubt that young girls and boys in the same classrooms are often praised for different behaviour. And for girls in particular, we need to consider whether such early praise can lead to unhelpful outcomes.

Oxford High School has pointed out the pitfalls of unhelpful perfectionism in girls – which too often means teenagers are afraid to try something new if they don’t think they will be good at it.

In my view there is a slippery slope towards such perfectionism that starts at a young age when girls earn praise for neat handwriting, tidy presentation or faultless spelling…

By encouraging both girls and boys to take risks with their learning and not to fear failure, we can inspire their creativity, support innovation and enterprise, and help them grow into well-balanced young people.

In short, we’ll be setting them up for a life well lived…

More at: Girls need praise just as much as boys in the classroom. Here’s why

 

Some interesting points raised by Dr Stannard – your reactions and feedback? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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Comments

  1. monty back

    Praise to any child must be precise. This way they know what to repeat and why. They value the praise because it is specific and plausible not bland or insincere

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