31 Oct '14

News Praise has its place in every classroom | Bim Adewunmi

Whod be a teacher? The advice and reports come thick and fast the latest suggesting we should praise children lessLast March, I had the chance to nominate a former teacher of mine for a community award. Ms LC was my English teacher at secondary school, way back in the 90s, and she is the teacher who made the most impact on my life. I doubt she even remembers me. But I remember her, and there is no doubt in my mind that I would not have gone on to study journalism without her.I am thinking about Ms LC today because of new research led by Prof Robert Coe of Durham University for education charity the Sutton Trust. The 57-page report, What Makes Great Teaching, says some schools are employing teaching strategies whose efficacy is not backed up by evidence. Among the unverified methods the ineffective practices as the report has them are when teachers group learners by ability, allow learners to discover key ideas for themselves, and my personal favourite, use praise lavishly. It adds: Children whose failure was responded to with sympathy were more likely to attribute their failure to lack of ability than those who were presented with anger. Continue reading...

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