I recently saw an article that stated that teachers/parents should no longer utter the words, ‘Good try’. I had to check the source of this article as at first I thought it was very much tongue in cheek. Sadly, it was not. It went on to say that we shouldn’t say ‘Next time we might….’ and ‘You did a great job up until ….’ Oh my goodness I couldn’t believe it! This article was stating that these positive, yet also negative statements were having a profound negative effect on the wellbeing of children. I’m sorry, but if everything that I said to my children was positive our house would become fairly quiet!
This article had taken things too far, how are children expected to build resilience if they are told that everything they do is correct –what happens when it isn’t? The article stated that we as parents and teachers are destroying our children’s self-esteem by using praise in conjunction with a negative. Please. I was very confused as to how we teach our children if we don’t use words like ‘Need to’, ‘This is how’, ‘I’m going to show you’?
Children are not going to explicitly learn if we don’t explicitly teach them. When my eldest child was a toddler and my husband and I were younger and sillier, we lived in the country so whenever we drove somewhere we would see cattle and sheep in paddocks. We taught our son (for research purposes) that cows were sheep and sheep were cows – obviously we corrected this before any damage was done to his psychological state. My point is that children need to be explicitly taught certain things in this world. A child will discover through play and observation how to get themselves a drink of milk, however they will also need to engage in explicit learning through focussed instruction, making gradual and progressive steps towards independent application of knowledge, skills and understandings.
I like to think that I teach in quite a progressive school where children have access to multi-media resources, the classrooms provide students with different learning areas, for example, bean bags, standing tables, round collaborative tables for group work and investigation time is always given. Despite all these new ways of thinking and investigations for students to be engaged in, they still need to be taught the initial concept in order to develop an understanding. As a mature-age student I recently undertook units of work in chemistry and physics – as a virgin to these subjects I needed to be taught the basic rules of these concepts in order to understand and investigate them further. (However, I am still confused as to why I needed to know how to re-wire my entire house when I was studying food?)
I guess this article meant well, maybe, I don’t know? I believe it has gone too far, I have written before about the detrimental effects of over-parenting; destroying confidence, reducing the child’s own happiness, inhibiting their learning. I believe children need to make mistakes and they need to know when they have made a mistake so that they can learn from it.
I also saw this week that Peppa Pig causes autism??????