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Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday Morning Check In: Practice Praising People

Written by Paula E. Bird ©2013

This week, I learned the difference between laudable and laudatory. When something is laudable, it deserves praise. When something is laudatory, it expresses praise. Praise is defined as warm approval or admiration. As I pondered the subject of praise, I stumbled over other references to the topic.

As I read in my The Magic of Thinking Big book by David J. Schwartz, which you can find in my Teach Suzuki Resource store, today's reading was about praising people. I thought about using my two new words in a sentence, and I came up with this: Learning how to praise people is a laudable ability. People should practice the ability of being laudatory. Does that work?

As I read and reread Dr. Suzuki's writings and I teach young student teachers about the Suzuki philosophy, I am reminded frequently that ability is something that we develop. If I sum up all the philosophical points that Dr. Suzuki raised and distill them into three sentences, I would suggest these three:
  • Talent is not inborn.
  • All children have talent.
  • Man is the son of his environment.
That sums up the Suzuki method, because each one of the above sentences represents a large body of philosophical discussion. I could spend the next month discussing the wealth of material that each of these statements represents, but, that is not where I wanted to go today.

I started this essay with a brief look at two words that were related to praise. Dr. Suzuki wrote about a great number of things, and his writings focused on the little abilities that we could develop in our lives and our personalities. I thought about how difficult it is to find the good in people. As teachers we are quite skillful at finding fault. That is the nature of our work. We analyze things that do not work and make corrections so that the student can stay on course for achieving mastery and developing a fine ability. Most of us are really good at our job.

Maybe we are too good at this part of the job. Maybe we need to balance this analytical ability with praise. Maybe we need to direct our focus and attention to those points that deserve praise. Maybe we need to practice praising people, so that we develop a fine ability to commend others and to look for and find laudable things.

This week, I intend to focus my teaching efforts on praising people. This means that I will need to alter my focus so that I look for things to commend. I hope you will join me in practicing this skill and developing this ability.

Today is the 13th Monday of 2013. Take out penny 13.

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