Background: Teachers can deliver feedback using person ('you are clever') or process terms ('you worked hard'). Person feedback can lead to negative academic outcomes, but there is little experimental research examining the impact of feedback on children's perceptions of the student-teacher relationship.
Aim: We examined the effects of person, process, and no feedback on children's perceptions of their relationship with a (fictional) teacher following success and failure.
Samples: Participants were British children (145 aged 9-11 in experiment 1 and 98 aged 7-11 in experiment 2).
Method: In experiment 1, participants read three scenarios where they succeeded and received one of two types of praise (person or process) or no praise. Participants then read two scenarios where they failed. In experiment 2, participants read that they had failed in three tasks and received one of two types of criticism (person or process) or no criticism. Participants then read two scenarios where they succeeded. They rated how much they liked the teacher and how much they felt that the teacher liked them.
Results: Children felt more positive about the student-teacher relationship following success than failure. Type of praise did not influence perceptions of the student-teacher relationship following success or failure. However, person criticism led children to view the student-teacher relationship more negatively following failure and maintain this negative view following the first success.
Conclusions: Success appears to be important for developing positive student-teacher relationships. In response to failure, teachers could avoid person criticism which may negatively influence the student-teacher relationship.
Keywords: criticism; feedback; praise; student-teacher relationship.
© 2015 The British Psychological Society.