Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Good Job - Are we still allowing our children to believe that mediocrity is ok?

Upon watching the Oscar nominated movie "Whiplash" a quote stuck out at me.
"There are no two words in the English language more harmful than good job."

I was dumbfounded I think I say that every day! And it's not just because I have nothing else to say but if they have had a go- that deserves something? Right?

I can't help but think of games when score is not kept or there are no champions at cluster school sports- what are we really teaching students?

The fact is, in life there are plenty of losers, job interviews, dating, game playing, gambling. Eventually children will be learn the truth, why are we hiding it from them?

I know that what I am saying is nothing new but we do need to think as teachers of younger students in particular about the language we use when we want students to achieve better than a good effort. This post is not about making students realise there are losers in life, but what language and strategies are we using when we are trying to push them towards greatness.

I have looked at the importance of feedback- but how honest does our feedback need to be. Think about it- test scores can't really lie but when kids are having a go- we commend and sometimes reward them, but are we doing students more a hinder than help. Are we really pushing students towards greatness? Like the character in the movie says. Of course the character in the movie is an extreme example of pushing people towards greatness and I would never encourage others or display his tactics when educating , training or helping another. However, I can't help but maybe reconsider how I will be more honest with feedback and even though having a go is good it's not always a "good job".

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