The power of authentic praise in learning

Father giving daughter a 'high five'
Primary school 4-12 years

Your child thrives on praise from you. When you recognise the effort your child has put into their school work it boosts their self-confidence, which can result in better academic performance.

Here’s how to do it…

Try to make some time to regularly talk to your child about their schoolwork. Look for areas they have put effort into and let them know what you like about their work.

Praise the process not the person

Instead of giving your child praise that is about them as a person, such as ‘You are so clever!’ try praising the process they have been through – focus your praise on:

  • the strategy your child used, such as “You used some great descriptive words in that story!
  • the effort they put into their work, such as “I can tell you tried really hard to make your writing neat in your workbook.

Be specific

When giving your child authentic praise, one of the most important things to remember is to be specific. Try to pinpoint exactly what your child has done that you like rather than making general statements. So instead of saying, “What a great picture!” you could say something like “It was clever of you to make the koala have fluffy ears in this picture.”

Be genuine

Authentic praise means being genuine and sincere about what you are praising your child for. Try not to praise your child when you don’t mean it, or give your child praise that is over-the-top, like “That’s the best writing I’ve ever seen!” Instead, try to offer your child authentic praise for real achievements, for example, “I like how you wrote the letter B, you’ve stayed on the line and you’ve written the letter in the right direction.

Be immediate

Praise is most effective when it is given immediately – but try not to interrupt your child when they are concentrating on an activity, as that can make them lose their focus and reduce their motivation to continue on with what they were doing. Instead, wait until they are finished and praise them for their effort when they are done, for example, “Gosh, I could see you were really concentrating on your maths homework this afternoon. Well done.”

 Recognising your child’s efforts through authentic praise will help with your child’s self-esteem and help them to achieve the best possible learning outcomes.

Last modified on Friday 28 April 2017 [1856|11271]

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