Celebrating Effort and Success
Our students regularly set goals, both short term and long term, using a variety of strategies and then reflect upon these goals to determine how much effort they put into achieving them and how successful they were along the way. Our students need to understand that working towards a goal is just as important as reaching the goal and that it requires a sustained effort and focus.
Often our students experience setbacks on the way to achieving their short or long term goals, they may need to try several different strategies or they may need to fail in order to move forward (often referred to as ‘failing forward’). The conversations that teachers have with their students and parents with their sons around goal setting and effort is important and these conversations should centre around the effort that has been made along the way and not just the achievement at the end.
As parents you need to always look for opportunities to compliment the way your son is approaching a task rather than placing all your emphasis on the end result, which may not turn out how he had hoped. Effort-based praise lets you tell your son you value not only him, but also his willingness to take risks and his determination to work toward his goals.
For example, let’s say your son’s goal is to get to school on time. There are smaller steps along the way: waking up, brushing his teeth, getting dressed and having his backpack ready. By recognizing the steps your son does well, you can help him see that he is capable of reaching the overall goal. You can also show him he can achieve it through effort and planning.
Key Components of Effort-Based Praise – (understood.org)
Effort-based praise can be a great way to motivate your child. To maximise its effectiveness, be sure to include these components:
Sincerity: “Thank you for all of the time you put into making this cake” is better than “This is the most delicious cake I’ve ever tasted!” Insincere praise can make your child wonder if you think he’s not capable of doing any better. Overpraising can also make him wonder if you don’t know what really good cake tastes like.
Specificity: “I like how you double-checked all your math problems” is better than “Good job on your homework.” Good, descriptive praise takes the guesswork out of what you’re praising. This can help reinforce the positive behaviour you want your child to repeat.
Realistic standards: “Your watercolour technique is really coming along nicely—did you use any new techniques in this painting?” is better than “This is such a fantastic painting. Some day you’ll have your own art gallery!” Try to praise your child’s efforts in a way that emphasises growth and learning from mistakes. This can help avoid putting too much pressure on him to succeed the next time.
By recognising the efforts of our students and your son we can create resilient students who understand that mistakes are opportunities to learn and whose self-esteem is strong and healthy, allowing them to successfully interact with their peers and the adults in their lives.
Pascal Czerwenka – Deputy Head – Lindfield