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“I am sure you’ll succeed”: When a teacher’s verbal encouragement of success increases children’s academic performance

Abstract : Research has reported the positive effect of verbal encouragement/reinforcement on participants’ performance. However, most of the time, verbal encouragement/reinforcement was given several times during the task, and the encouragement used was often a personal trait (“You’re good, “you’re clever”, etc.). In the first study, 3–5 year-old children were asked to find an image which was not included in a group of images that had been presented several minutes before. The instructor told half of the children “You are a clever boy/girl. You can succeed” (verbal encouragement condition), while she said nothing to the other half of the children (control condition). It was reported that 77% of the children responded correctly in the verbal encouragement condition while only 30% responded correctly in the control condition. In the second study, 8–9 year-old children were asked to do an alphabetical order task using the names of 7 well-known fruits printed on a paper. After the children viewed the words and were given the instructions, the teacher told half of the children “I am sure you’ll succeed” (verbal encouragement condition) while she said nothing to the other half of the children (control condition). Results showed that more children succeeded in the verbal encouragement condition (82%) than in the control condition (47%). The importance of verbal reinforcement for teachers is discussed.
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https://hal.univ-rennes2.fr/hal-01999848
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Submitted on : Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - 11:31:58 AM
Last modification on : Saturday, May 4, 2019 - 4:44:02 PM

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  • HAL Id : hal-01999848, version 1

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Nicolas Guéguen, Angélique Martin, Castano Rio Andrea. “I am sure you’ll succeed”: When a teacher’s verbal encouragement of success increases children’s academic performance. Learning and Motivation, Elsevier, 2015, 52, pp.54-59. ⟨hal-01999848⟩

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