Sunday, November 24, 2013

Praise or Reflective Questioning?

I read a tweet this morning and can't recall who posted it, but it was something about the most important thing you can say to a child is that you are proud of them. Yes, I do believe in giving positive feedback, especially since some kids hear far too many negative comments in the course of a day.

On the other hand, I believe that it's critical that kids actually believe in themselves and take pride in their own growth. I want them to be able to stop in their tracks and bask in the afterglow of conquering a difficult challenge.

Maybe instead of saying, "I'm so proud of you," we can ask, "How do you feel after working so hard?" "Do you realize what a big accomplishment this is?"

When students come to me, glowing with pride, ready to share a story of success,  I ask them to stop for a moment and savor the feeling. I watch, as they stand a bit taller and smile so grandly. I listen intently to their story and then as they answer my question: How do you feel right now? I try to anchor them in that proud moment so that they can remember it when the going gets tough.

My goal in all of this is to reinforce a growth mindset. If you haven't read Carol Dweck's work, I highly recommend it.

 I want kids to know that the hard work and the satisfaction that comes with it is what matters.

And yes, I am proud of them, even  especially when they make mistakes, when they fall, get up, and try again.

I'd love to hear what you think!


Anonymous said...

This is a great post! I have found a very positive reaction from other educators about my Keys of Purpose Driven Learning. I just created a post for parents to help them encourage a growth mindset in their children:

Hoping parents find this tool equally as helpful! It has changed my teaching and pray that it will help moms and dads strengthen their parenting.

Joan Young (aka Mancini) said...

Thank you for sharing! I will check it out!

Anonymous said...

Joan, this post hits close to home. I'm familiar with Dweck's work and believe it has a place in the classroom. This past year I've been using reflection journals in my math class and am starting to witness success stories along the journey. I'm finding that an increased emphasis on the learning process, not necessarily the grade, encourages students to take more of an ownership role. I believe that enablement piece is important and can pay dividends throughout the year. Moving students from fixed to a growth mindset can be challenging yet so beneficial for all involved.

Joan Young (aka Mancini) said...

Thanks for your comment. I love the use of reflection journals. It is so important to take the time to look at process and de-emphasize grades.
Thanks again for sharing!

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