Teaching Strategies: The Best Way to Praise

The words we use to praise students go a long way toward helping them grow. Ideally, when we teachers use teaching strategies to praise the work and abilities of students, that praise should be directed toward the entire process they put into the work rather than the innate qualities of the students themselves: Say, “Good job studying the notes you took yesterday” rather than, “You’re smart.”

To exemplify this theory, today on TeachHUB.com, frequent contributing writer Jordan Catapano, himself a seasoned English teacher in the western suburbs of Chicago, takes a look at why we should use teaching strategies like those when praising students, in a wide-ranging, well-researched think piece.

Jordan spells out three ways to praise students:

  • Praise what’s praiseworthy.
  • Praise the behavior, not the child
  • Choose non-generic phrases rather than generic phrases


He also gives specific examples of how to praise kids using those methods.

In summation, Jordan says: “Praising in this way takes practice, to be honest. Our default seems to want to jump straight to the adjectives and it takes work to accurately and specifically praise someone’s process. But that practice is worth it. As students grow and develop, it’s important to make sure that we use our words to teach them the best self-concept possible. And that self-concept is one that reinforces how every student can enjoy success when they apply the right behaviors and processes.”

How do you praise your students in ways that reinforce a growth mindset?


Original Valentine's Day Lessons for All Grades

Although it’s tempting to treat Valentine’s Day like Halloween and simply throw a party and call it a day, there are some ways that you can gear your lesson plans toward Feb. 14.

Recently we ran a piece on how to do just that – so you don’t have to give up valuable learning time to just throw a class party. Our ideas included:


  Create Valentines with a Curriculum Twist
  Reading & Writing Love Stories, Poems, Sonnets or Songs
  Cupid & Love in Mythology
  And More!


What are your go-to classroom activities for Valentine's Day?