Clever And Smart Piece!

Michael Alison Chandler looks at the self-esteem debate in schools.

One Reply to “Clever And Smart Piece!”

  1. Chandler’s article reminded me of a writing conference I had with a student. This young writer needed much more work on revision before this particular piece was ready to post on our website, but even after we worked together to cover the paper in red (yes, we use red, because red means something is wrong and it’s unfair to children to pretend otherwise), this student still said “You didn’t say ‘Good job!’ to me!”

    “Kiddo,” I responded, “Revise your work, and then tell me which piece deserves a “Good job.'”

    What I appreciate most about Chandler’s piece is that instead of blindly claiming that “The world doesn’t care about your child’s self esteem, and neither should your child’s teachers,” the author explains concrete ways that parents, teachers, coaches, and others who care for children can encourage students to look inward for their own affirmation.

    When teachers give concrete feedback instead of vaguely positive generalities, students learn to evaluate their own work to decide independently if they’ve met or exceeded expectations. Chandler is not suggesting that teachers stop noticing when students work hard, take risks, or accomplish something. Rather, Chandler presents a research-based philosophy that expects students to struggle and teachers to be significantly more stingy with their trophies than conventional wisdom might suggest.

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