Process vs Outcome

I was reading Eleisha’s blog Learn Anything and it reminded me of an article that I read on Mind Shift by Katrina Schwartz titled Giving good praise to girls: what messages stick. Basically the article discusses the idea of praising the intelligence verses praising the process.

By praising the process not the intelligence of the student we are encouraging them to seek and develop a variety of ways of doing things, we “emphasise that all skills are learned through a process of engagement” (Schwartz, 2013). It is also suggested that a small amount failure is good.

This got me thinking my parents were actually quite cleaver when I was growing up and you know how you think “I’m never going to say that to my kids” well I find myself saying the exact thing to my kids as my parents said to me and that was ” it doesn’t matter if you can do it/get the highest mark/win the game as long as you try your best and are involved” In their own way they were praising the process not the outcome, this however got me thinking further as it makes sense to me with kids but I work in adult education so as a teacher should I be praising the process of learning more? and if that is the case then how do I structure a formal course to encourage the messiness, challenges and process of learning? How do I provide feedback that encourages the process when I still have to provide grades that support and encourage intelligence?

Do adult learners even need feedback on the process? My gut instinct is yes but is that because that is what works for me because of the way I grew up , could the type of praise/ encouragement required be different for someone else? From my exploration there doesn’t seem to be alot of research in this area but perhaps I haven’t looked in the right spot yet.



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