Praise in the EFL Classroom

A Growth Mindset Perspective


This study investigates how praising students’ success in tasks affects the performance of other students who were not successful. Possible and impossible crossword puzzles were used as an experiment to engender fixed mindsets in half of the sample. The average time to complete a crossword puzzle at the pretest was compared to the average time to complete the same puzzle at the posttest. The results showed that students given possible crossword puzzles were able to make significant improvements in the speed with which they could complete the puzzle at the posttest stage. However, such improvements in performance were not seen among the students who had been temporarily primed into a fixed mindset during the experiment through the use of the impossible crossword puzzles. Reasons behind these results as well as pedagogical implications related to effective ways of giving praise and other feedback will be discussed.


growth mindset, failure, feedback, university students, praise

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Published : 2021-07-09

LeisA. (2021). Praise in the EFL Classroom. Theory and Practice of Second Language Acquisition, 7(2), 37-59.

Adrian Leis
Miyagi University of Education  Japan

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