"Praise is one example of extrinsic motivation, where one takes pleasure in working for the sake of a reward (in our case, the compliment), as opposed to intrinsic motivation, when one works for the joy of the work itself. It seems a benign practice on the surface until you realize that the more “good jobs” we provide, the more we are inadvertently trivializing the child’s work, leading to lower intrinsic motivation."
Aubrey at Montessori Mischief just posted a fantastic and challenging article on the problems of praising children. Helpfully she followed this the very next day with a fantastic list of alternatives to offering trivial praise.
Since reading the articles I have paid more attention to the things I say to Bear and Yikes!! I praise Bear constantly! He doesn't even ask for it and it's the first thing out of my mouth. A thousand times a day!! Now that I'm paying attention they seem like such empty words. I really want to be more purposeful in these interactions.
I am going to break this habit! I have printed out Aubrey's list of What to Say Instead of Good Job and put it in a visible spot in the playroom with the Praise Jar. I have filled my pocket with buttons so that every time I throw out a meaningless praise I throw a button in the Jar.
For every button in the jar by Bear's birthday I'm going to spend a dollar on art supplies for him.
Either way Bear wins.
My name is Vicky I am wife to Ranger and mum to two boys - Bear (2) and Fox (8 months). Somehow I stumbled across Montessori and now my goal is to raise and educate my children with a Montessori philosophy in country NSW Australia.