Praise is patronizing, so stop praising students. Praise also has a price. It implies a lack of acceptance and worth when the youth does not behave as the adult wishes. Using a phrase that starts with, “I like,” encourages a young person to behave in order to please the adult. By contrast, acknowledgment simply affirms and fosters self-satisfaction in the young person.
Notice the difference in the following examples of praising students versus acknowledging them:
Praise: “I am so pleased with the way you treated your brother.”
Acknowledgment: “You treated your brother very well.”
Praise: “I like the way you are working.”
Acknowledgment: “Your working shows good focus and control.”
Praise: “I’m so proud of you for your good grades.”
Acknowledgment: “Your grades show success in school. How do you feel about
Here is something to consider: If you would not make the comment to an adult, then think
twice before making it to a young person.
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