Effort vs Outcome



Fardeen is spoilt. Father Christmas will need to do two trips to drop off all his gifts. Fardeen is a praise junkie, and his family are the pushers. When he does well his family give him a gift.

In school, it’s exactly the same. If a question is asked and he knows the answer, his hand will reach to the heavens, eyes pop out of his head and he will burst a blood vessel in his head if prevented from demonstrating to the class just how smart he is.

This is only appeased with a “well done”, from the teacher – allowing him to bask in his own brilliance. But praise is a contentious issue, as the matter has moved from something nice to acknowledge success, to a debated facet of child development. So do you say well done, when they’ve done well?

There are parents at my daughter’s school, who do not believe in praise or punishment. Their belief is based on a revolutionary theory, that children should be coaxed into doing things for their intrinsic rewards, not for external gains.

The theory seems viable, as the children should grow up to enjoy life based on life; happiness is not validated or empowered from others. The downside is, their child is frigging mental.

Imagine a world without police, religious teachings or any praise or deterrents in our life? Now imagine this is a world of children? Frigging mental!

A review by Henderlong & Lepper (2002) suggests that praise is vital, but care should be placed on how praise is administered. A few recent texts including Bayat (2011), support the need for a regulated praise for effort and not outcome.

The moral of the story for parents is, to praise based on how hard they have worked and not how well they have done it. Fardeen got a Playstation 4 for getting good grades; however he deserved a set of marbles for his effort in my lessons.


Photo credit: Glogger

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