Monday, October 22, 2012

Is no praise a good praise?

I have been reading some literature and thinking about praising yesterday. As a teacher for young learners, I realize I tend to praise them unnecessarily and frequently without considering so much about the pitfall of praising.

Some researches show that children can detect insincerity in teacher or parent's praise and that leads to hopelessness in them. In other words, insincere praise damages children's self-efficacy. These findings scared hell out of me because that is not what I intend to do at all. But it is true some of grown-ups tend to use a praise as a motivator without fully aware of the danger. Such a false praise may also damage the relationship you have build with the kid. On top of that, it can make your kid addictive to easy-rewards. Once your kids become a praise junky, he/she won't do anything without it and this tendency might take away autonomy in learning and discovering his/ her own live. False praises also create helplessness in children at the face of setback. Those children who have been getting too much meaningless praises tend to give up challenges easily. One of the research paper says, at the face of setback, neutral and nonjudgemental feedback is the best to give. 

What I have discovered so far is that no praise on their efforts is not an answer to avoid making your child or student a praise junky but being aware of the pitfall of praising and use it appropriately and wisely might be able to facilitate more motivating environment for children's personal development. We as parents or educators ultimately want our kids/ students to be independent life-time learners with full of curiosity, don't we? At least, facilitating assuring environment for children to develop steadfast self-efficacy and perseverance in order to flourish in their own ways is my way to feel flourished as a person. 

Don't get me wrong I am not one of those selfless saints on earth. I just want to see my kids flourishing with their own strength in their own unique ways for very very self-centered and selfish reason. I feel happiest when I see the proud smiles of children and hear the genuine laughters of them because that is the only time when I see something glorious in spite of all absurdity in humanity including myself. 
Does it make me a junky of their smiles? Then, so be it! 

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