Why we should celebrate student success
Studies have shown that celebrating success can help build resilience and encourage students to continue in their studies.
The key is to praise hard work and effort, rather than ability, to help success appear achievable to all students, and not unintentionally demotivate them if they do not feel they have the ability to achieve something. This helps to show other students the effort that was required for achievement. Showing that ‘successful’ people face setbacks can also normalise facing challenges for others.
How to celebrate student success
- Praise the effort, not the person. Celebrate hard work rather than talent. Use language such as ‘you’ve worked hard’ rather than ‘you’re great’ or ‘you’re so talented/smart’.
- Make challenges appear normal and an obstacle that can be overcome. Show students a range of challenges their peers have faced and how they can tackle them. For example, sharing accounts of how students have bounced back from a grade they were disappointed with.
- Show that success if possible for all students. Gather interview/case studies from students and alumni from a range of backgrounds, to share with students through departmental newsletters, social media, prospectuses, etc. Try to capture challenges that were faced, and how they overcame them.
- Show students how to get involved. Sometimes students want to get involved, but are not sure how. Research has shown those that are more actively engaged are more likely to succeed within their studies. Make sure examples are clearly accessible; for example, becoming a peer mentor, course rep, getting involved in societies, etc.