At a staff meeting in February we had a lively discussion of an article that has long been a favorite of mine, entitled “Praise or Encouragement? New insights into praise: Implications for Early Childhood Teachers.” While the original article appeared in Young Children Magazine in 1988, its message is timeless and the practice is valuable for educators and parents alike. The premise is that children are motivated to grow and learn when their efforts are noticed (“You worked hard on this,”) rather than when they receive praise (“You’re so smart,”). While the difference may seem like a nuance, the effect on children and adults alike is dramatically different.
Using encouragement is an effective tool that we employ at school every day. For parents it is also a skill that is useful and effective. In fact, encouragement is a positive motivator for any age, any person.
We have permission from Young Children to share this article with all of you: Praise or Encouragement? When you read our reprint you may notice some familiar faces in the photos, and favorite quotes from AGP staff members! We would be greatly encouraged by hearing your thoughts after reading and trying out some of these skills with your children.
Many thanks to Joy Danison who worked on the reprint project for our school.