Encouragement does not compare one child to another. And it gives faith, hope, reduces competition, eliminate unreasonably high standards and double standards. Encouragement means accepting the children as they are and separating their work from their worth. Children always thrive for the free and fearless environment. And they have instinct desire to learn each and every thing. They make mistakes and learn from them. Hence the teachers must make their statements of encouragement more effective and consistent with specific goals. That kind of statements gives positive self-reliance and motivation for learning
ENCOURAGEMENT IS BETTER THAN PRAISE
T V Ramakrishna
Before going through the article let us clarify ourselves, what is praise? And what is encouragement?
v “Praise usually given to a task or deed when the child is completed his task or deed.”
v “Encouragement on other hand refers to a positive acknowledgment that focuses on children’s efforts or specific qualities of work completed.”
Why teacher praise young children?
If we ask the teachers, “Why they have to praise young children? Most of the teachers may respond that they want help children feel about themselves. And some teachers may say that their praise is a classroom management strategy to promote appropriate behavior of one child or a group of children.
Every primary class teacher knows that young children need to receive positive comments. No doubt that the primary class teacher or kindergarten teacher must praise the children in different tasks or deeds. But question may arise that whether the teacher is praising at the appropriate time or whether their praising is giving any positive effect on child. Of course positive comments will in the long run be much more helpful to children than negative comments. Some studies says that some praise statements may have the potential to lower children’s confidence. Or if the praise is a routine process, children frequently try to read or check the teacher’s eyes for sign of approval or disapproval.
Then question may arise to the teacher’s ‘If we can’t praise, what else can we do?” It doesn’t mean that teachers should avoid praising children. But the teachers must note that there are effective and ineffective ways of praising.
Does praise motivate young children?
According to a child psychologist, “Ineffective praise creates anxiety, invites dependency and evokes defensiveness.” Teachers must note that no child can always be good or nice or smart. But no doubt that praise is the basic instrument for the teachers. “Good job”, “Nice girl”, “Oh! How nicely you are doing”, Keep it-up”, are some of the common expressions usually we hear I the classroom environment. The phrases “Nice” or “Good” or “Terrific” will not workout always. Praise has differential effects depending upon the type of achievement being measured. And praise varies with different factors such as socio economic status of the children, their ability levels, their age group and their personality and psychological aspects of the children.
Encouragement is specific:
Instead of praise the primary teachers can use the statements of encouragement. Encouragement is specific. For example if a boy or a girl painted a picture well, normally the teacher comments that, “Oh! You painted the picture well”. Instead of that the teacher can comment on real observation of the painting. “You painted well, but took more time isn’t it?”, “Your painting is good, you applied blue colour more”, “See is it the right colour to apply here?” – Such comments will provide specific information regarding his painting. Furthermore such statements of encouragement focus on improvement of a specific task or deed. Suppose a child is not good at his hand writing and in due course if he improved his hand writing, the teacher is supposed to comment like this, “Good, you have improved your hand writing well, but you have to improve it little bit.” Sincere and direct comments of a teacher with natural voice give a lot of encouragement to the child.
Encouragement helps the child to develop an appreciation of their own behavior and achievement. Especially with slow learning children a small encouragement impacts on their specific task or deed. But teachers must note that statements encouragement must be offered with honest feeling. And they must be credible and varied to suit the circumstances.
Encouragement avoids comparisons:
Praise can only serve to motivate the child. Whereas encouragement develops autonomy, encourages positive esteem, a willingness to explore and acceptance of himself and others. Let us examine some of the examples of encouragement comments:
“ Good, today you listened the story attentively.”
“Good, you have shared the blocks with Renu.”
“Very nice, even though you lost the game have played very well”