Reply by Don Butler

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Posted on Another Word on Criticism

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Don Butler

1092 posts in 3636 days

#1 posted 09-25-2010 02:04 PM

In my experience as a teacher, I have tried to implement this rule.
When someone NEEDS advice about something that isn’t quite good enough, and when I know the student can do better (the second part is essential), first find the good parts to compliment, then, gently and helpfully, give the instruction on improving.
The reason is this. The student will not listen if he is given the impression that there’s nothing good about the work. There would HAVE to be something good!
“Charles, I like the way you hold your crayon”, might be a good start, and then, perhaps, “Here’s an idea, Charles. Don’t you think this apple would look better if the red color was all inside the lines?”
Criticism is SUPPOSED to help one see where improvement can be made, not to make a person feel bad about it.
So, if I give advice for improvement, I try to remember about complimenting the work first.
“My! That’s nice wood you used for this – er – um, – - what do you call it, Charles?”

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