Growth Mindset Feedback

Today’s feed focuses on making our feedback more meaningful while working towards a school standard of promoting a growth mindset without creating more work.

We recognise the shift in language is subtle and we can often get stuck for how to phrase feedback for those tricky pupils. We have provided a few useful phrases adapted from Mindset Works EducatorKit.

When they struggle despite strong effort

  • What did you do to prepare for this? Is there anything you could do to prepare differently next time?
  • You might be struggling but you are making progress. I can see you have improved (in these places)
  • Here is an exemplar to look at.

When they struggle and need help with strategies

  • Just try – we can fix mistakes once I see where you are getting held up.
  • Here are some strategies to figure this out. (some subjects more appropriate to use “ Here is an exemplar to look at”)

When they are making progress

  • I can see a difference in this work compared to ___.
  • You were working for a while on this and didn’t quit.

When they succeed with strong effort

  • I’m so proud of the effort you put to/in/with ____.
  • All that hard work and effort paid off!

When they succeed easily without effort

  • What skill would you like to work on next?
  • To challenge yourself your next stage is ____.

When they made no effort and show no attempt to try

  • I see you are stuck, what attempts have you made to work through this? It’s important I see all attempts so I can help you.
  • Is this your best effort? Have you used every learning resource/skill available?


Here are some general dos and don’ts about feedback from Mindset Works:


  • Notice students' good efforts and strategies and praise them.
  • Be specific about the praised behaviours and reinforce this behaviour with your feedback.
  • Use praise to link the outcomes of an assignment to students' efforts.
  • Talk explicitly and in detail about the strategies a student has used. Comment on which strategies were helpful, and which were not.
  • Ask a student to explain his or her work to you.


  • Don't offer praise for trivial accomplishments or weak efforts.
  • Don't inflate praise, particularly for students with low self-esteem.
  • Don't let a student feel ashamed of learning difficulties. Instead, treat each challenge as an opportunity for learning.
  • Don't ever say, "You are so smart." in response to good work. Instead, praise the work a student has done (e.g., "Your argument is very clear" or "Your homework is very accurate").
  • Don't comfort students following a failure by telling them that not everyone can be good at everything.

The Marking Policy Review Group's report on "Eliminating unnecessary workload around marking” highlighted that teachers can provide unnecessary extensive feedback. We hope you find these comments useful as well as short and sweet.