If you are a teacher, parent or otherwise in charge of children at some time, you need to understand how to balance praise with personal responsibility lessons. Doing so will help guide the youngsters into becoming productive adults who are competent and confident in their abilities.
For many caregivers and instructors, this balance can be difficult to achieve. However, it is essential that you provide both aspects of interaction with the kids in your charge if you want the best possible outcome for your teachings. Even if you are uncomfortable with one or the other aspect, you can learn to hone your skills to provide them with these vital life lessons.
First, you need to understand the importance of each aspect of teaching. Regarding praise, kids need to know that they are making good choices and progress in their lives. However, you should not give them false praise. Instead of telling them they did a good job, focus on the things that they have done and learned. For instance, you might mention that a youngsters handwriting has improved since the last test rather than just putting blanket smiles or praise words.
Kids need to know what they are doing well and where they need to continue to work on things. So, if a couple of kids are arguing loudly instead of hitting like they were a few weeks before, you might point out that you are pleased that they are no longer resorting to violence. Then, you can address the personal responsibility aspect.
This might include further instruction in conflict resolution, using quieter voices or other appropriate direction. The combination will give them confidence that they are moving in the correct direction and help them to continue on that path. This example can be applied to virtually every type of lesson that children need to learn while growing up.
While you want youngsters to assume personal responsibility, you also need to model it for them and give them proper instruction in how to do so. If you make a mistake, don’t be afraid to admit it to the class. They will have more respect for you and will grow as a result of your admission. If you are challenged in this area of your own life, check out some self-help materials that will help you get on the right track.
Personal responsibility should not be confused with beating oneself up. It is about acknowledging a mistake and then moving on to finding a solution. Model this for the children. When they are having difficulty accepting their own responsibility for an issue, teach the appropriate words and identification skills that will allow them to do the same.
Working with children is a rewarding and challenging experience. If you learn the correct balance of praise and teaching responsibility, you will be making a great contribution to these youngsters as individuals and society as a whole. It is well worth the effort and time it takes!