A Study of Praise, Motivation, and Self-Esteem of Low-Achieving Students in Mentoring Groups


The study attempts to examine the effects of evidence-based praise strategies on the learning motivation and self-esteem in low-achieving students in mentoring groups and study the processes that influence the corresponding changes. Participants in the study were students from two secondary schools in Hong Kong. Thirty-two students participated in one of the four weekly mentoring groups, each of which was facilitated by a school-based mentor. Data triangulation and methodological triangulation were employed in the study; data were collected from student questionnaires, observational field notes, and interviews with mentees and mentors before and after the intervention program. Two major findings arose from the investigation: first, the implementation of praise strategies, which promoted adaptive attribution patterns, was effective in the enhancement of students' learning motivation and academic aspect of self-esteem while no significant change was noticeable on their global self-esteem. Second, it was found that the corresponding change processes should be understood from the interacting forces of the environment, student personal factors, and student behavior. In particular, mentor-mentee relationships and social climate in learning environments emerged as key contextual factors which mediated the outcomes of praise administration. In conclusion, when bestowed strategically, praise can be conducive to learning motivation and self-esteem of low-achieving students. More research is needed to cover more diversified populations and understand the long-term consequences of research-informed praise strategies.

Author Information
Chun Kin Chung, Caritas Fanling Chan Chun Ha Secondary School, Hong Kong
Peter Lai, Teach Unlimited Foundation, Hong Kong
Roger Ng, Teach Unlimited Foundation, Hong Kong

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2018
Stream: Learning Experiences, Student Learning & Learner Diversity

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