Is Usage of Praise able to Enhance the Motivation and Performance of School-Age Children?

Based on the results of five studies, praise has different effects on elementary school children's performance and motivation, and is influenced by the type of praise, the gender of the child, and the child's original internal motivation.

Based on the findings of the studies, the suggestions are:

Only praise a child for his/her effort and process; don’t praise for intelligence or make social comparisons. Praise for intelligence shows that the parent cares more about performance goals than learning goals. If the child fails, he/she is likely to display less task persistence, less task enjoyment, more low-ability attributions, and worse task performance than children who are praised for their effort. In addition, one study indicated that praise for person can dampen upper elementary girls' motivation, whereas it can enhance upper elementary boys' motivation.

Whether or not to give praise depends on the child's original mental status. For children who believe that they are responsible for their own outcomes, praise can enhance their motivation, but for children who believe that external forces such as luck determine the outcome, praise can dampen their motivation.

For children with behavior and academic difficulties, the use of praise alone was found to lead to an initial increase followed by a dramatic decline in on-task performance, resulting in no change in the average rate of on-task behavior relative to the use of no praise.

Created on November 21 2015 at 08: 00 AM


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Details of Scientific Answers: Click on each bullet to Read References

References:

1: "A Cognitive-Developmental Approach To The Effects Of Rewards On Intrinsic Motivation," Child Development, 1981, by FW Danner, E Lonky. (Citations: 150).

2 experiments were conducted to examine the relationships between cognitive level, intrinsic motivation, and responses to extrinsic rewards and praise. In experiment 1, 90 4-10-year-old children were divided into 3 cognitive ability groups on the basis of their performance on a battery of classification tasks. When allowed to choose among learning centers which differed in the level of understanding of classification required, all 3 cognitive ability groups spent the most time in the centers which were just beyond their initial ability levels, and they rated these centers as most interesting and moderately difficult. In experiment 2, the children received either rewards, praise, or no rewards for working in a learning center which was either at, above, or below their predicted levels of classification interest. Rewards had little effect on intrinsic motivation among children whose motivation was initially low and decreased it among children whose motivation was initially high. Praise also had mixed effects-highly motivated children with an internal locus of control increased in intrinsic motivation following praise, while highly motivated children with an external locus of control decreased in intrinsic motivation following praise. The implications of these results for the understanding of intrinsic motivation and for educational practice were discussed.


References:

1: "A Cognitive-Developmental Approach To The Effects Of Rewards On Intrinsic Motivation," Child Development, 1981, by FW Danner, E Lonky. (Citations: 150).

2 experiments were conducted to examine the relationships between cognitive level, intrinsic motivation, and responses to extrinsic rewards and praise. In experiment 1, 90 4-10-year-old children were divided into 3 cognitive ability groups on the basis of their performance on a battery of classification tasks. When allowed to choose among learning centers which differed in the level of understanding of classification required, all 3 cognitive ability groups spent the most time in the centers which were just beyond their initial ability levels, and they rated these centers as most interesting and moderately difficult. In experiment 2, the children received either rewards, praise, or no rewards for working in a learning center which was either at, above, or below their predicted levels of classification interest. Rewards had little effect on intrinsic motivation among children whose motivation was initially low and decreased it among children whose motivation was initially high. Praise also had mixed effects-highly motivated children with an internal locus of control increased in intrinsic motivation following praise, while highly motivated children with an external locus of control decreased in intrinsic motivation following praise. The implications of these results for the understanding of intrinsic motivation and for educational practice were discussed.


References:

1: "Effects Of Reprimands And Praise On Appropriate Behavior In The Classroom," Journal Of Abnormal Child Psychology, 1987, by MM Acker, SG O'Leary. (Citations: 63).

Abstract The effects of positive consequences on appropriate behavior at the beginning of a classroom experience were examined during an academic program for students with behavioral and academic difficulties. The results showed that the use of reprimands alone ...


References:

1: "Praise For Intelligence Can Undermine Children'S Motivation And Performance.," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 1998, by CM Mueller, CS Dweck. (Citations: 986).

Abstract 1. Praise for ability is commonly considered to have beneficial effects on motivation. Contrary to this popular belief, six studies demonstrated that praise for intelligence had more negative consequences for students' achievement motivation than praise for effort. Fifth ...


2: "The Effects Of Praise On Children'S Intrinsic Motivation: A Review And Synthesis.," Psychological Bulletin, 2002, by J Henderlong, MR Lepper. (Citations: 353).

Abstract 1. The authors argue against a purely behavioral definition of praise as verbal reinforcement in favor of the view that praise may serve to undermine, enhance, or have no effect on children's intrinsic motivation, depending on a set of conceptual variables. ...


3: "The Effects Of Person Versus Performance Praise On Children'S Motivation: Gender And Age As Moderating Factors," Educational Psychology, 2007, by J Henderlong Corpus, MR Lepper. (Citations: 53).

Two studies were conducted to determine how gender and age moderate the longterm and postfailure motivational consequences of person versus performance praise. In Study 1, fourthand fifthgrade students (n= 93) engaged in a puzzle task while receiving either no ...



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Is Usage of Praise able to Enhance the Motivation and Performance of School-Age Children?

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