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The Best Way To Teach Is To Praise Positive Actions And Ignore Negative Ones - With A Free Essay Review

The best way to teach is to praise positive actions and ignore negative ones

Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.

The topic stated is rather controversial. It is definitely essential to acknowledge positive actions as encouragement and positive feedback incite passion. However, focussing only on the positives and neglecting the negatives can prove detrimental. Anybody willing to learn should also be willing to accept criticism for their mistakes. Showering praise and bringing to light only the good things about a person might have the grievous consequence of making the person arrogant and over-confident to the extent where learning takes the back-seat and the person is more interested in proving himself than acquiring new knowledge.

Praising the positive aspects definitely has an obvious impact on the learners. For instance, a student will be greatly motivated to better his performance and score better grades if he receives praise and encouragement. People always need a mentor to give them positive feedback on how they are performing so that they have a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Without recognition for their achievements, people will gradually lose the interest and passion and learning will eventually come to a halt.

Learners, especially students are greatly affected by criticism. Criticism should refrain from being harsh as this might cause the learner to lose hope and interest. Even though negative criticism proves to be a great teacher, it is only so if done in moderation. Negative feedback and criticism, when considered in the right way would lead to betterment of the person. After all, failures are the stepping stones to success. For instance, Sachin Tendulkar, the legendary cricketer, was ridiculed by people when he fared poorly in matches. He however took the criticism in his stride and went on to create history.

Criticism would lead to the judgement of what is right and what is wrong and unacceptable. By being exposed to criticism, the learner is at a better position to learn what is not considered as a positive action and can thus abstain from undertaking such actions again. It is up to the learner to take the negative comments in a good way and not allow it to affect his learning but instead allow criticism to be a teacher.

It goes without saying that encouragement and praise go a long way in boosting up one’s morale and kindling interest in them to learn more and perform better. However, the fact that negative criticism creates in the person the urge to better oneself and prove one’s worth cannot be denied. In conclusion, it can be said that teaching should definitely comprise of praising the learner for the good aspects, but at the same time, it should also comprise of an appropriate amount of healthy criticism.



You are asked to discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement. Essentially, your essay argues that the statement is untrue, or perhaps you might prefer to say that it is largely untrue or mostly untrue. But the essay doesn't explicitly state any of those things. I think that for essays like this (which are probably graded very quickly) it is a good idea to state your position explicitly in order to make your reader’s job as easy as possible.

The prompt also asks you to consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true. Your essay does a reasonably good job of explaining why you think teaching generally speaking should incorporate both positive and negative criticism. But you are not asked to speak only generally; you also have to consider specific situations. Speaking generally about students requires you to ignore specific differences between students. So you end up saying things like "Without recognition for their achievements, people will gradually lose interest and passion and learning will eventually come to a halt." That's a big claim (insofar as you're talking about everyone) and so it is one that is difficult to prove, but the bigger problem is that the prompt is really encouraging you to think about possible differences between situations or between students. Isn't it likely, after all, that different students will respond differently to a particular pedagogical strategy. (Note that lots of ETS GRE prompts are like this. They give you a very general statement to discuss, but prompt you to come up with specific situations in which it might be true or not true)

Your essay also focuses largely on the motivational impact of criticism. Praise alone can lead to arrogance, you claim, and arrogance can lead to a student being "more interested in proving himself than acquiring new knowledge." That's a rather vague way of explaining the possible consequence of providing only positive feedback (I'm not sure what you mean by "proving himself") but the basic point that excessive praise can have a negative impact on a student's desire to improve seems to me a good reason for being skeptical about the statement you're evaluating here. In the very next paragraph, however, you make a claim that is roughly the opposite of that: praise can help a student become "greatly motivated to better his performance." You need to find a way to structure your presentation of these kinds of claims so that it doesn't just look like you’re contradicting yourself. You need something like this: "On the one hand, praise may cause some students to become arrogant and complacent, so that they don't feel they need to improve. On the other hand, praise can motivate students by making them confident about their ability to succeed" Note in that example that I also offer reasons for claims I make. That is to say, I don't just say that praise can motivate a student to improve, but add "by making them confident etc."

When you turn to the impact of negative criticism you also focus on the problem of motivation (harsh criticism can "cause the learner to lose hope and interest"). The first part of your discussion of negative criticism, however, is very vague about how it might be done in "the right way" and so "lead to betterment of the person." Saying that "failures are stepping stones to success" doesn't really clarify the issue, nor does the reference to the cricketer who "took ... criticism in his stride" since we don't necessarily know what that entails. (You will get next to no credit for vague statements in a GRE test, so it’s important to get in the habit of making your claims as specific and clear as possible.)

The fact that so much of your essay is dominated by your concern with motivating students makes the essay seem to have a very narrow focus. You do devote roughly half of a short paragraph to another issue; i.e., the fact that criticism gives information to the student about "what is right and what is wrong." I suspect that would have proved a fruitful line of inquiry if you had developed it and would have resulted in a more balanced essay.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: anonk

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