Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Foundations Table of Contents/Chapter 11/Student Soapbox

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Foundations Chapter 11 Student Soap Box

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Some experts suggest that praise can be detrimental rather than beneficial to a child's development. They contend that instead of teaching children to regulate their own behavior and decide for themselves when they have done well, it teaches them to look to external sources (e.g. teachers, parents) for validation.

What do you think? Does praising a child teach him/her to focus and rely on the opinions of others? Does it create children who get addicted to praise and cannot function without external recognition.


Add your response below. Extra credit will be awarded to multimedia responses.

They may be on to something. Kids should decide for themselves when they are successful. It is our job to help them learn to do that.[edit]

I think that praise is a positive reaction to a job well done. When I was growing up in school i always felt better when I was told I did a great job. School is not always fun or easy for children and I think rewarding them when they do something good is a great way to let them know they are doing well in the subject area but also boosts their self esteem. As a future teacher I am not going to priase a child for every single thing they do with presents and other prizes but I will let them know I know they were working hard and did a good job at whatever they were completing. Lwill031 (talk) 23:35, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Ok, so I had this teaching throughout high school who no matter how hard I worked on an assignment would always say: "good, but could be better". Honestly this irked me, but at the same time really helped me create a self diagnosis of my own work. Him saying this pushed me to want to be better and work harder on my assignments. When I got praise from other teachers on projects and assignments that I really did not put in much effort I had the tendency to not give importance to the class because I knew that I could coast through it. I do think that children need some praise when they do really do a good job, but our role as teachers is to push them to be better and go beyond the limit. As people would say: think outside the box! Life is hard and when a child is given everything in a silver platter and later gone to wonder the world they fall harder than someone who is ready for the challenge. I am not saying that teachers need to be hard asses, but that they need to challenge their students and teach them how to be self aware of what is trully great and not settle.Bpenn005 (talk) 01:26, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree with this statement more than I agree with the second statement. Let me say first that SOME praise is good, when it is appropriate and praises the efforts and actions of the student and not the final outcome. "You really worked hard on that report Susie and you wrote an extremely persuasive paragraph. You must be really proud of yourself. Good job." I DON'T believe praise should be given to every student just for making an effort and I feel there is too much insincere praise being given out. What ever happened to working hard and doing your best because it's the right thing to do? That's the job of every student. The real world does NOT praise you for doing your job every day. That's what you're supposed to do. When we praise students for anything and everything, they come to expect it when it's not deserved and when they don't get it often, they stop trying because their reward has become extrinsic instead of intrinsic. Praise is good in small doses when it's used appropriately. Sciaston (talk) 15:23, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

When kids are five, they need praise. However once they have a sense of basic practices, like throwing your poop is bad, and saying please is good, then praise is less necessary. Friedrich Nietzsche claims that we as human assert our own meaning. This is what it seem we are getting at. We want our kids to make their own decisions and be able to function without someone hovering over them telling them how wonderfully they did. So we should praise them when they are in critical development, but not exceed the necessary amount, and wean them from the need of praise by asking them to determine if their actions and accomplishments are in fact good. Scrai010 (talk) 01:45, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

I can see how this behavior could be detrimental to a child's future. I was homeschooled and my mother praised every school endeavor that was successfully completed. She complimented me when I was well behaved and did what I was told. As an adult I find that I'm motivated by praise, I'll work doubly hard not for a raise or a promotion but for my boss to say "good job." I seek the approval of friends and expect people to notice when I go above and beyond. I know this is from all the positive reinforcement I received as a child, and though it's required it should only be done in moderation. Rpaige (talk) 02:36, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

I believe that it is appropriate to have an "inbetween" view. I think it is good to give praise to students to do well. I think that it is okay for students to be motivated some to receive praise from teachers and parents. At the same time, students need to understand the importance of being committed to doing what is right. Students need to realize that doing right is important even in times when one may not receive praise from one's peers or surrounding community. Mbrowder (talk) 00:02, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Whatever. Sounds like liberal hocus pocus to me. Kids need praise.[edit]

Another way to look at giving students praise is that in school might be the only time they hear how good or great they are at something. Not all students get praise or being told what a good job they are doing, so when they get it at school it does boost their confidence, so I say keep praising them.Msmhobbs04 (talk) 22:08, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

I have a very fond memory of receiving happy grams when I was in elementary school. I personally think I turned out okay! :-) and learned from my teachers what they expected of me. This is just one example of how my teachers helped me become who I am. More importantly, my families positive praises and reinforcement made me who I am, without their positive reinforcement I would not have known what I am to expect of myself. As a teacher praising my students when they have succeeded can help students who do not receive praise from their parents, but negative reinforcement. Hcogg001 (talk) 20:28, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Kids do need praise and positive reinforcement. However, the key is to transition the motivation from extrinsic to intrinsic. For example, my parents started out rewarding me for good grades. They also helped me realize the importance of good grades which led to the development of my own internal motivation for good grades. Jtmitchem (talk) 14:50, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

I definitely think everyone needs to hear some praise! Positive encouragement does way more good than it does harm. Children (and adults!) thrive on praise and positive words. My son thrives on me telling him he was good during the day and likes to hear me tell him that I appreciate something good he did during the day. I notice when all I do is criticize, he responds negatively. Of course, I don't tell him he was good when he wasn't! I let him know a good thing or two that I noticed. I think this works for adults too. For example...when my husband complains about a messy house, the last thing I want to do is clean it! BUT when he comes home and says the house looks great, I make more of an effort to keep it nice.

I think that all children, students, adults, parents, etc. need some amount of external praise in order to feel a sense of accomplishment. If children are praised for doing the right thing, working hard, and behaving correctly they will begin to understand that these things are required of them and can earn them success. I do understand that some children (in some cases) may begin to behave that way only to get a reward/ prize; however, in most cases the children who receive praise in a healthy way can see the importance of their actions. Each and every one of us needs some outside praise/ applause every now and then, its in our human nature. In my opinion: keep the positive reinforcement coming and children will continue to learn and grow in a healthy way! Khedl002 (talk) 16:48, 1 August 2009 (UTC)khedl002

You are not born with a self appraisal system of worth embedded in you, just like you are not born with an intrinsic sense of morals. It is proper parenting and society in general that injects these things into you, sometimes against your will. That said– too much of anything is never a good thing. I'm a firm believer in this. Divvy out your praise like they are delicious chocolate covered cookies (with almonds and coconut inside)– but beware in overindulging that one kid that looks like he's had a few too many. You know the type: the kinda chubby one frothing at the mouth, pupils dilated, little whimpering reports of excitement trailing any mention of his name. Just skip over him a few times. Let the boy balance out. The last thing you need on your back is a sugar-coated praise junkie. In short: Kids need praise, yes. Kids need to be subjected to subliminal praise while they're sleeping, need you to slip some refined praise powder into their food & drink, need you to hide some GOOD JOB! pictures (preferably wide-angle shots of various animals giving thumbs up or making silly faces) in between their favorite books and under their pillows, NO. Do not do this. That is just downright crazy talk. Hsmit022 (talk) 23:20, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

All students need praise. I do believe that students should get praise for both intellect (within reason) and effort. Children use praise as motivation which leads to individual success. Oftentimes the only praise a child receives is from a teacher. We need to encourage all children to try their best regardless of their learning abilities. A kind word or a pat on the back will brighten a child's day and push a child to forge ahead when the going gets tough. So yes, kids definitely need praise (and so do teachers!). Acrow005 (talk) 19:41, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Everyone likes to hear praise. It lets you know when you are doing things right. It helps you to feel good about yourself and to be motivated. As teachers we need to have high expectations for all students and create opportunities for their success. We need to let the students know that we appreciate their dedication and hard work and acknowledge it. I believe in the whole scheme of things praise is definitely a good thing. Aferg006 (talk) 01:03, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

I don’t know who these expert are, but as a parent of a child diagnosed as oppositional defiant. Praise and recognition for something done well or just done right, make a world of difference in everybody’s day. Mlipl001 (talk) 22:33, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

I would absolutely say that all childrne need praise and the more of it the better. I find that it is one of the greatest tools for students to judge their progress. Also words that o alon with praise can help a student with a problem or just for motivation to keep tryin. I would not necessarily agree that a student could have too much praise. Attention seekers I find is different the praising a child for doing a great job or keep up the good work. Praising is probably one of the most used feedback a child receives in a classroom. Sston008 (talk) 18:43, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

I feel that kids need praise. Without encouraging support and praise, kids will be unable to recognize when they are exhibiting a desired behavior and when they are not. Kids also need praise to get through their academic studies. Knowing that someone else has acknowledged your efforts is very beneficial for kids. They will have a greater sense of motivation to go on and complete future and present activities. I do feel that there should be a combination of praise and consequence so that students do not become too dependent on praise alone. But I do not feel that praise will teach students to rely merely on external means of academic achievemnet. Rburt005 (talk) 20:35, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

I understand what certain individuals are saying about being skeptical of teacher praise, but I believe that students are in need of praise. Without praise, students may be unsure of when they are doing something positive or not. Also, it elevates their self-esteem and helps to give them a positive attitude through their academic career. They will be better motivated to complete further tasks. I remember through my academic career, I greatly appreciated praise from my teachers. It really made my day when a teacher would acknowledge my hard work. Afett001 (talk) 21:17, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Why wouldn't we praise students? Everyone likes receiving praise; it brightens your day and reminds you that you're special. Removing praise from school and home leads us in the direction of a hands-off, Big Brother type of world where no one is acknowledged for a job-well-done. Without praise, many students would stop performing well. Sbutl016 (talk) 23:39, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Kids need encouragement in school. Some children do not receive praise at home so when they are at school and get rewarded they are stimulated to do better and achieve more. I see it as vital to the child to praise them. If not they could get depressed and more emotional issues could arise. I know when I was a student I loved it when teachers praised me. It made me feel good and I sought out to do better. Hard work should always be appreciated.Hcomb003 (talk) 16:47, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Right…praise is detrimental. NO WAY! I understand the point you are trying to contend. However, there are correct ways to give feedback to students without being detrimental to the rest of their lives. For example, effort should be praised versus ability. Everyone is able. Younger students especially need this type of praise. They need the confidence and self-esteem support. It is critical to their development, while they are still learning appropriate emotional responses and self-regulation. I will never find anything wrong with telling a child they have done a good job, when they have done a good job. Anyone who has a different opinion should consider stopping that extra psychoanalytic nonsense! Abitt002 (talk) 19:14, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

Everyone needs some kind of feedback. The more positive, the better. Giving children praise and watching their eyes light up and their smile, gives me a positive feeling that I have connected with them in someway. As a parent, there is nothing greater than watching your child when they are happy. After praising them for something they did that was impressive, encourages them to go above and beyond to receive more praise. In saying all of this, I have witnessed some children who thrive on the praise and let it go to their heads (in a manner of speaking)...for that, I blame the adult(s) in their life, who have not corrected them to accept the praise with a simple thank you and helped them to understand that we are all human beings without race, gender and economic station in life to cloud their views.Scarlett1 (talk) 05:15, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Children need praise. It provides a guideline for their future decisions and creates at least some sense of direction within the classroom. Without praise children are left to interpret for themselves what constitutes good behavior and performance. While this may be a valuable lesson, such experiments can very easily go awry. Some children may think that giving their teacher an apple is proper behavior, while others may think that stabbing their teacher in the throat with scissors is an equally favorable action. BitterAsianMan (talk) 15:26, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Having too much of a one thing is always detrimental, especially with a thing like praise because it can go to a lot of people’s head and make things worse. However, having too little praise can seriously damage a child’s self-esteem and confidence in almost everything he or she does. My approach, as far as praise in the classroom, is that you demonstrate how hard work can give your praise, but give you success as well. My dad would always encourage me, and still does. I remember when I was in elementary and middle school, he would give me money for each A I brought home. He helped realize at an early age that if I did well in school, then I would do well in the real world. I know some people would not recommend it, because they might see it as “bad”, but I always thought it was a good strategy. Because it taught me that working hard did have a purpose and a reward. At some point, it became more about doing well for me instead of others so perhaps it is more beneficial to do external praise. With moderation, of course. Adart001 (talk) 03:23, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

There's nothing worse than doing a great job and not being recognized for it, not even in a minimum way. I am all for recognizing and praising my students if they do greatly in a subject matter. I believe that recognizing students is a way to keep them grounded and working harder. It helps develop the idea of reaching and achieving something. Ehern004 (talk) 17:10, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

I think that students need feedback in general. Whether it is praise to make it well known that they were doing a good job or whether it is a hand on the shoulder to suggest "calm down" or eye contact that lets the student know they need to refocus. I think that too much of anything is not always good. There needs to be a balance in feedback. Give praise when praise is due, but over doing it may also be detrimental. As for a children deciding for themselves when they are successful, I think that sounds a little odd. Kids should not have to give themselves their own praise. We live in a world where we are always rewarded for a job well done. Whether it is recognition by a boss, a raise in salary, or simply your sister telling you that your dinner was delicious. It is not necessary to over-praise but I believe that a job well done should be recognized. Then kids will learn to be proud of themselves and strive to make good grades and be successful students. Alucy001 (talk) 01:03, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

I am sure that there are people that would take something way to far and I have seen first hand parents that praise too much but a good job never hurt someone if they earn it! The issue I have is the teachers or parents who are robotic in their praises. Great Job, Way to Go should mean that the child has done a great job or worked hard for that accomplishment. There is sucha trend now to not hurt a child's feelings when it comes to sports or recognition. I understandf that no one wants to see a child upset but we are missing the point that when they get to the real world they will be disappointed, they will not get everything they way they would like to have it. Preparing our students for the future is what teaching is all about. Parents have to do it and so do teachers. By all means, Give praise when they have earned it by showing that whatever they are doing they are giving it their all but don't placate a kid by giving them false praise if they have done nothing to earn it!Jnewh001 (talk) 18:52, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

I really don't know.[edit]

I think every child is different and there will be those that crave constant praise and attention. Then there will be those who try to escape constant praise and attention. I think by the time they start school their personalities are pretty well developed and that any praising damage may have already taken place. They are only in school 30 hours a week, although this is a lot of time they still spend more time with their parents. I am not 100% sure that you can't over praise but if its possible I don't think the teachers are doing the damage.Jnemo001 (talk) 05:24, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure. This is a good question. I chose to answer this way because I'm sure that there are students that need the external praise while there are students in the same class that have learned to figure it out on their own. I thin that it should be judged on a case by case basis. Especially while the child is young and learning it helps them to learn when they are doing something right and when they are not. and one day they will be able to do it on their own. Rcoll029 (talk) 04:37, 10 August 2009 (UTC)