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Where Everything Isn't Meant to Be Okay

A growing body of research over three decades shows that easy, unearned praise does not help students but instead interferes with significant learning opportunities. As schools ratchet up academic standards for all students, new buzzwords are “persistence,” “risk-taking” and “resilience” — each implying more sweat and strain than fuzzy, warm feelings.

Yes, yes. A thousand times, yes.

In other news, a real honest-to-God Ramen joint has opened in town. Went there with Cara Sposa for lunch on Sunday before picking up our winter CSA box. Excellent stuff. Their Ika salad was PERFECT, and the ramen itself even more so. I expect we've finally found a Cambodiana-shaped peg to fit the missing soup-joint in our lives.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 16th, 2012 06:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing the link. I often tell my students they have to take risks to learn, and making mistakes is fine so long as they continue to learn from them.
Jan. 17th, 2012 03:41 pm (UTC)
Yes, mistakes are integral to learning and they are their own reward. There's a huge difference between glossing over a mistake with unearned praise and identifying why the mistake is a mistake. You can learn from the latter, but you can't from the former. I think kids innately respect that, and they deserve to be dealt with honestly.

ETA: Oops. Forgot to add a link to this blog post by NG. It's interesting to see how his attitude has changed in the past ten years, partly from being a parent, I think, but also being engaged in the YA publishing industry:


Edited at 2012-01-17 03:50 pm (UTC)
Jan. 16th, 2012 08:00 pm (UTC)
And I would second your yes, yes, a thousand times yes. What unearned praise gives you is a sense of entitlement, also unearned.
Jan. 17th, 2012 03:46 pm (UTC)
I run into this all the time nowadays. People come to me for answers to technical questions as part of my work. Kids raised on the self-esteem technique not only feel entitled to the answer, but that because I know the answer and they don't, that it becomes MY problem, not theirs. When I work with people who weren't exposed to this particularly pernicious bit of pedagogy, they rarely ask it a second time.

Personally, I'm convinced that it not only makes people unable to learn, but it fosters psychopathic behaviour. But that's a rant for another day.
Jan. 17th, 2012 08:43 pm (UTC)
I've run into a certain amount of this, too, which is why I support your rant. Enormous egos echoing in a vacuum.

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )