Praise: How Scientific Studies Reveal about the Effects on Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Kindergartners

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

In terms of performance: Based on the findings of the studies, the suggestions are: Praise along with parents’ presence and modeling is always good for toddlers and is able to enhance their performance. For children above age 4, praise along with parents’ presence is able to enhance their performance.

In terms of motivation: However, whether praise can promote the motivation of children aged 4-10 or not 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. For children who believe that external forces such as luck determine the outcome, praise can dampen their motivation.

The type of praise depends on the age of the child: For younger children including preschoolers (aged 3-4), any type of praise (either praise for person, or process, or product) is able to enhance motivation.  For older kids like kindergarteners (aged 5-6), praise for process and product can enhance motivation, whereas praise for person can dampen it. 

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: "Good Job, You'Re So Smart: The Effects Of Inconsistency Of Praise Type On Young Children'S Motivation," Journal Of Experimental Child Psychology, 2010, by SR Zentall, BJ Morris. (Citations: 40).

Previous research has demonstrated that generic praise (good drawer) is related to children giving up after failure because failure implies the lack of a critical trait (eg, drawing ability). Conversely, nongeneric praise (good job drawing) is related to mastery ...


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 An Adult'S Presence And Praise On Young Children'S Performance," Journal Of Experimental Child Psychology, 1971, by TD Meddock, JA Parsons, KT Hill. (Citations: 29).

Abstract The separate effects of praise from an adult and the presence of that adult on preschool children's performance rate change at a simple motor task were studied for 32 4-year-old children of each sex. Following a base-line minute during which the experimenter ...


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 An Adult'S Presence And Praise On Young Children'S Performance," Journal Of Experimental Child Psychology, 1971, by TD Meddock, JA Parsons, KT Hill. (Citations: 29).

Abstract The separate effects of praise from an adult and the presence of that adult on preschool children's performance rate change at a simple motor task were studied for 32 4-year-old children of each sex. Following a base-line minute during which the experimenter ...


References:

1: "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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Praise: How Scientific Studies Reveal about the Effects on Toddlers, Preschoolers, and Kindergartners

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