For decades, the prevailing wisdom in education was that high self-esteem would lead to high achievement. The theory led to an avalanche of daily affirmations, awards ceremonies and attendance certificates — but few, if any, academic gains.More at the Washington Post. Thank God for this change. The most egregious example I encountered in recent years was not in a school, but at the bowling alley. In a lane adjacent to mine, I watched as a mommy praised every single one of her little precious' gutter balls. Not a trace if real instruction on how to swing the ball or release it - just oohs and aahs and the clapping of hands after every single fruitless effort, accompanied by words expressing wonderment at the child's extraordinary (lack of) ability.
Now, an increasing number of teachers are weaning themselves from what some call empty praise. Drawing on psychology and brain research, these educators aim to articulate a more precise, and scientific, vocabulary for praise that will push children to work through mistakes and take on more challenging assignments...
A growing body of research over three decades shows that easy, unearned praise does not help students but instead interferes with significant learning opportunities. As schools ratchet up academic standards for all students, new buzzwords are “persistence,” “risk-taking” and “resilience” — each implying more sweat and strain than fuzzy, warm feelings...
16 January 2012
Goodbye to endless "self-esteem boosting"
From the Washington Post: