Views #1225 | Intermediate 5

Good Job!

Julia and Todd look at praising students and it criticism is a good thing.

Todd: Talking about kids and school, what do you think about failure? Like it seems like we're moving to where we're not allowed to tell kids that they're not doing well, that everybody has to be a winner. You know, everybody gets a good grade. What do you think about that especially as a teacher and a parent?

Julia: As a teacher, I think, I read something recently that the chastising a student, telling them they did bad, has no motivational value whatsoever but praise does. So definitely I think it's important to always praise. If you have a really bad student and you can't find anything to praise them on then I don't know what the answer is really. But I'm sure you can always find something to praise someone on.

Todd: Yeah.

Julia: So I think it's important to focus on the positives all the time.

Todd: See actually I kind of disagree.

Julia: Do you?

Todd: Yeah. I think that, you know, that your score is or your progress is absolute. Like either you pass or you fail, either you get high marks or low marks but that's the motivation. Like if you get, if you don't do well, then you want to try harder. You know, like if you're a fat kid and you don't want to be fat then you, you know, you're motivated to lose weight or if you aren't a star in the baseball team you need to practice harder so you move up. But if you tell kids that they're doing great when actually they're not exceptional then maybe that actually does harm.

Julia: OK, well maybe I misexplained that. I don't mean give a false, I don't mean say they're doing well when they're not doing well but what I mean is focus more on the successes than the failures.

Todd: Oh, I see. Like confidence building?

Julia: Yeah, I guess that's what I mean more. But I guess we're talking about motivation rather than an end result like, of course, yeah, you're going to fail some things. I don't know. I never failed that many things at school and later on in life when I did encounter failure, I took it pretty bad so perhaps it would have been healthier for me to have failed a few things. I don't know.

Todd: Well that's the question, isn't it? Like when you fail or you do bad I think that maybe that's the eye-opening moment you need to see. Like you need to see the truth rather than just tell somebody that they're doing well when actually maybe they're not or that they're exceptional and talented when maybe they're not.

Julia: When they're not, that's true. Yeah, there was another thing that I read as well about telling, praising children for their intellgence, you should never, you should never tell a child they're smart because they get a false image of what intelligence is. You should always praise effort.

Todd: Ah, right.

Julia: As opposed to some sort of innate, what we believe to be an innate quality that you can never have if you don't have it. So telling a child yeah you're really smart, when the child faces a problem that requires them to apply themselves and maybe fail they're afraid.

Todd: Mmm.

Julia: Because then they may think no I'm not intelligent after all. So it should always be about praising effort and actually the result is not so important.



Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson

chastise/ praise


I read recently that chastising a student has no motivational value, but praise does.

When you strongly criticize someone, you are 'chastising' him. 'Praising' someone involves making positive comments about his actions. Notice the following:

  1. His boss chastised him for his low sales.
  2. It's important to praise your animals when act the way they should.



If you tell kids that they're doing great when actually they're not that exceptional, maybe that does them harm.

Someone is 'exceptional' if he is excellent or extraordinary. Notice the following:

  1. They have an exceptional public transportation system.
  2. She has been an exceptional athlete ever since she learned to run.

confidence building


You should focus more on the successes than failures for confidence building.

'Confidence building' involves saying or doing something that makes another person or yourself feel better about specific abilities. Notice the following:

  1. The convention focuses on confidence building in young women.
  2. Keeping a journal of what you do at the gym is good for seeing your personal improvements and confidence building.

take it


Later in life, when I did encounter failure, I took it pretty bad.

Here, how you 'take something' refers to your reaction to an event. It is how you manage or cope with it. Notice the following:

  1. I'm surprised how well he took the news.
  2. She is taking the death of her dog really hard.



Maybe failing is an eye-opening moment you need to see.

An 'eye-opening' experience is one that makes you see things as they really are, instead of what you thought they were. Notice the following:

  1. An internship will give you an eye-opening experience and show you what it is really like to work in this business.
  2. Traveling to poor countries is a very eye-opening experience.

as opposed to / innate


Intelligence can be something gained over time, as opposed to being an innate quality that you can never have if you don't have it now.

'As opposed to' is used to present an idea that contrasts with one that was originally listed. Something 'innate' is a quality or capability that you are born with. Notice the following:

  1. It appears that happiness is just innate in some people.
  2. I would prefer to eat something healthy, as opposed to eating pizza again tonight.

Vocabulary Quiz

chastising • exceptional • confidence
take • eye-opening • innate
  1. Do you think athletic ability is or learned?
  2. The restaurant isn't well decorated, but the food is .
  3. A few members of the team don't losing very well.
  4. Volunteering in hospitals around the world would be a very experience.
  5. Preschool is a good place for building activities.
  6. She is always her husband for the things he does wrong around the house.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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