Steven Singer read a recent study about how and when to praise students. He compared it to earlier studies. Too much is bad. Too little is bad.

He writes:

 

So what are teachers to do?

Frankly, researchers don’t know.

They look at discrete data sets and try to make broad conclusions.

However, when you’re dealing with something as complex as the minds of children, this approach is destined for failure.

There are simply too many variables at play.

When it comes to praise, teachers are put in a very difficult position.

We want to help encourage our students but we don’t want that encouragement to ring false.

If all I ever did was tell students what a good job they were doing, they would soon catch on that it was meaningless. Every child can’t win a self esteem prize every day for whatever they do.

However, an amazing piece of work from a student who always does amazing work isn’t as impressive as moderately improved work from a student who has struggled constantly up to this point.

Time to consult teachers.