Views #1025 | Intermediate (B1)

False Praise

Nydja discusses if children today are praised too much by their teachers and parents.

Todd: Nydja, we were talking about education and praising students. Do you think that students today are praised too much?

Nydja: I do. I don't think that they need as much praise for poor work. If they're doing good work, then of course they deserve it, but this false sense of success that kids are given is really messing with their heads later on in life.

Todd: How so? Like how do you think it affects them later in life if they have this false sense of success as you say?

Nydja: Well, when it comes time to really perform and to step up to the plate say in college or in their career in the future, they might not know how to do any of these skills. They've been propped up by, you know, compliments that are just full of air, so they might not really know how to go about doing something. They have a sense of entitlement that they should receive that promotion or that good grade in college, even though they did nothing to actually achieve it.

Todd: Right, so do you actually ... When you were younger did you have teachers who were very strict? So if you failed, they let you know you failed?

Yes. Yes. They let you know immediately. I had some teachers who weren't very nice at all, and maybe he polar opposite. Didn't cut you any break either. Let you know that you weren't heading anywhere fast unless you turned it around quick, so they were not about babying me or my classmates at all. It was very hard to get good grades because they graded hard. Very different from my experience with the people who were in school today.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson

False sense of success


Kids have a false sense of success.

When people have a false sense of success, everything comes easy to them. They think everything they do is successful or worthy, when in reality it might just be average or worse. Here are a few examples.

  1. He has a false sense of success because he was born rich.
  2. People with a false sense of success take failure very hard.

mess with their heads


Their success is really messing with their heads.

When something is messing with someone's head, that means it is doing bad things mentally to them. It is hurting their mental state or keeps them from thinking clearly. Notice the following:

  1. My brother keeps messing with my head by playing tricks on me.
  2. This warm winter weather is really messing with my head.

step up to the plate


When they have to step up to the plate, they fail.

Step up to the plate is a baseball term. A batter in baseball has to step up the the plate (homeplate) to hit the ball. The phrase is used to express a need to take action and perform without fear or hesitation. If you are not stepping up the plate, then you are avoiding something. A few samples are as follows:

  1. You need to step up to the plate and take care of your family responsibilities.
  2. Sometimes you step up to the plate and strike out. That's life.

propped up


They have been propped up by compliments.

When something is propped up, that means it is held up or pushed up by something so it does not fall over. If you prop someone up, you do something so they do not fail naturally. In the example above, a student could be propped up by always hearing nice things about their work, so they do not know they are really failing or underachieving. Here are a few examples:

  1. Their marriage was propped up by a common love for their children.
  2. The company was propped up with debt and bad accounting.


full of air


Those compliments are full of air

When something is full of air, that means it has no substance or meaning to it. For example, a balloon is full of air. It seems like there is nothing inside. When we say something is full of air, we mean that it is not worth much. Like a balloon, on the outside it looks big, but inside there is nothing. Notice the examples below:

  1. He is so full of hot air. Never believe what he says.
  2. His speech made lots of promises that were full of air.

Vocabulary Quiz

sense of • mess with • full of air
propped up • step up to the plate
  1. My boss likes to our minds by saying strange things about our work.
  2. It is time to and get the job done.
  3. You feel a calm in her class.
  4. He is so . Never believe his promises. They will never some true.
  5. The project was by goverment funding.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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